The tremendous shifts caused by Covid-19 has driven many individuals, institutions, and governments to re-evaluate the current situation and consider new options. The pandemic is also causing many advanced nations to look inwards and prioritize their own needs. In addition to negatively impacting on the global economy, this is creating significant hurdles for cross-border mobility. As a result, effectively putting a straitjacket on people’s ability to pursue the best options for their businesses and their families. Could investment migration be the win-win solution for states and investors alike?
Slow progress of restoring international mobility
Despite advancements have been made to restore international mobility to pre-pandemic levels, progress has been slow and is primarily limited to business or emergency travel. According to political science researchers Uğur Altundal and Ömer Zarpli of Syracuse University and the University of Pittsburgh “there was a 97% drop in international travel in April 2020 compared to April 2019, pre-Covid. Between January and March 2021, this had improved marginally to 88%, with business and essential travel the primary drivers”.
Defensive policies emerge following pandemic uncertainty
Although certain countries are cautiously easing restrictions, new variants of concern are causing others to reinstate lockdowns. International trade and global mobility as we knew them remain hindered. Even the post-Covid future seem to keep moving just out of reach. Although one can to a certain extent predict the general direction in which the world is heading. Many countries consider reclaiming some of the autonomy they feel they have lost owing to globalization.
The significant social impact of the crisis — especially on unemployment — has led to further volatility. Therefore, governments consider adopting protectionist policies and reorganize economic activities at short notice. Owing to supply chain disruptions, some countries have decided that it would be more strategic to manufacture essential goods domestically. Experts predict that cross-border mobility will remain low for the rest of this year at least. As a result, that could intensify the move towards regionalization that we are currently witnessing.
The real value of a passport today
If there was an Olympics of passports, Japan wouldn’t just be hosting it — it’d be winning the whole competition. However, in the real world, holders of Japanese passports have access right now to fewer than 80 destinations. This is about the same as the ranking of Saudi Arabia, which sits down in 71st place (now the 58th). In theory, a Singapore passport gets you visa-free, or visa-on-arrival, access to 192 nations. That is the best score of any country globally after Japan. In practice, taking into account coronavirus limitations, it would permit such entry to only 70 destinations. The data show, it is equal to having a passport from the Dominican Republic. And the list goes on. On the graphic below it is well presented what the passport index of the top 10 countries in the world would be and what it is now with travel restrictions:
Second residence and/or citizenship reduces risk
All these events provide compelling evidence of restricted global mobility for the foreseeable. Indeed, the infectiousness of the Delta variant has demonstrated how quickly things could change again. Now, more than ever before, ensuring future access to multiple residence options and/or having dual citizenship by investing in residence- and citizenship-by-investment programs is essential for entrepreneurs and investors and their families as a means to reduce their exposure to risk — whether national, regional, or global.
Governments have had to take extreme measures to curb the spread of Covid-19. For example, the initial lockdown saw EU member states closing their borders and reinstating border checks, prompting Members of the European Parliament to call for a “swift return to a fully functional Schengen Area”. In May, Australia barred thousands of its own citizens from returning if they had been in India for the preceding two weeks or more.
Turning to investment migration to attract new talent and wealth
Many countries are setting up residence- and citizenship-by-investment programs to attract affluent investors and talent. Thereby enriching nations with a significant and sustainable source of revenue without increasing debt to the detriment of future generations. Doing so by welcoming residents/citizens who actively contribute to their future wellbeing can also reduce inequality. Investment migration uniquely facilitates this.
With the constant reshaping of the global economy via relentless uncertainty, the diversification of geographical domiciles and citizenship associated with participating in investment programs also provides individuals with security and stability. Moreover, to overcome the constraints of being limited to a single jurisdiction, and access to expand their wealth portfolios.
A win-win for both investors and states
The main motivation behind attracting and retaining highly skilled individuals and wealthy families is to include additional residents and citizens into their national markets so they can contribute to local economies. The millionaire population of New Zealand, has grown by 30% since 2016 and is likely to rise by 72% by 2026. It is partly owed to the country’s exemplary management of the current pandemic. The Prime Minister announced further policy changes in May to encourage wealthy and qualified individuals to relocate to New Zealand.
A growing number of countries are developing plans to diversify their economies by introducing or expanding their investment migration offerings. This year has seen Kenya, Oman, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE announcing initiatives to allow either long-term residence or citizenship for certain foreigners. Provided they bring economic or cultural benefits to their new countries. In response, many more countries already offering investment migration programs are developing additional options to appeal to high-net-worth individuals.
In the years to come, citizenship diversification through investment migration will be a robust solution in ever changing circumstances. It is a sensible, sustainable approach that creates optionality — and certainly a win–win for states and investors alike.
Investment migration in Malta
Malta has also recently introduced two new programs, the Malta Permanent Residence Program (MPRP) and the Naturalisation for Exceptional Services by Direct Investment. Being an excellent place to live strategically located with excellent airlinks, Malta is a great choice for a second residence or dual-citizenship for numerous reasons.
Contact us today and request a personalized price list tailored to your individual needs! We speak your language – our office speaks Maltese, English, Italian, French & German. We have over 15 years of experience in international taxation and relocation services. Only a registered agent can submit an application. We are licensed as an accredited agent with the license number AKM-MEJL-21 for the Residence & Citizenship Programs and may assist you with your application and with any immigration, tax and legal requirements.