Citizenship by Investment to Evade Worldwide Travel Bans - | Hudson McKenzie

Citizenship by Investment to Evade Worldwide Travel Bans

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, many countries across the world have taken the executive decision to shut its borders and reduce the rate of ‘imported infection’. However, wealthy individuals have found a way to circumvent the many travel restrictions imposed because of the pandemic.

With the potential prospect of a second peak in coronavirus cases, meaning an extended global lockdown, moneyed individuals have acquired numerous citizenships in various countries across the globe so they can still travel wherever they please despite this worldwide crisis.

Within the first few months of 2020, firms have seen a staggering increase in the number of applicants who wish to obtain a new nationality, such as by up to 42%. How they go about doing this is by either a “pandemic passport” or via a permanent residency program. Countries such as Austria, Australia, Cyprus and others all offer individuals either permanent residency or nationality in exchange for either an investment in properties and local business or a voluntary payment to the national treasury. The costs initiated with these methods of being able to travel ‘freely’ ranges between $100,000 and $7.6 million per family member.

Affluent families feel the need to escape to other countries because of reasons such as their families have been separated as a result of border closures or for healthcare purposes, being the performance standard of national healthcare services.

Owing to the reason stipulated above as to why cash rich persons need an exit plan, Australia and Austria are highly appealing locations to go to. For instance, upon comparison of the provision of national healthcare services between Australia and the UK in bid to combat against the spread of the coronavirus, the two nations are miles apart. It is viewed that the UK’s NHS service has reduced capacity to achieve this aim given the government’s slow reaction to the threat of COVID-19 and ensuring adequate preparation for it. Whereas in Australia, the prompt and swift reaction by the government there through preparation and execution of their national healthcare services has led to the easing of lockdown restrictions and fewer cases. Hence, migration to countries like Austria and Australia are safe and secure options in contrast to other countries.

Not only multiple citizenship of well to do individuals and families benefit them, but this also benefits international governments. The investment into international treasuries or local businesses and properties and the payments of taxes by such persons partially satisfies the capital needs of governments. Now that countries such as the UK are donating millions of pounds to support business and employees, there is a worrisome anticipation of a great depression because of this financial bleed. This ‘citizenship investment’ is an attractive yet partial solution to governments’ financial burdens.

Should you wish to acquire a second nationality or perhaps multiple nationalities, please get in touch with the firm’s managing partner, Rahul Batra at rahul.batra@hudsonmckenzie.com