Citizenship by Investment: Middle East’s Interest Peaks for Passport Investment Programs

Updated: Sep 20

A used to be small and niche sector known as the global investor immigration market has in the past few years gained extraordinary fuel and is growing exponentially.

A used to be small and niche sector known as the global investor immigration market has in the past few years gained extraordinary fuel and is growing exponentially. In 2018 this “little” market had grown into an almost $22 billion industry with the most conservative projections showing a yearly growth of 23% per year. With basic math and simple projections, it is evident that this industry is doubling in size every three years or so and if projections are proven correct it will become a $100 billion sector within the next five years.

The benefits of having a dual citizenship has attracted many wealthy investors from all around the world with the majority of them originating in Asian regions. However, in recent years there has been a spike in interest from residents of the Middle East especially from residents of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member countries (Kingdom of Bahrain, Kuwait, Sultanate of Oman, Qatar, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates).

The GCC member states are some of the wealthiest countries in the world with its citizens having some of the highest Gross National Income globally. Due to this abundant wealth of GCC residents there is high demand for investment opportunities and thirst for expanding their presence internationally. In contrast some international jurisdictions (EU, USA etc) employ certain barriers for foreign investors seeking to expand their business or economic interests overseas. There are key solutions to break these barriers and allow GCC residents to invest as they desire through acquiring a dual citizenship.


What are Passport/Citizenship Investment Programs?

Having a dual or multiple citizenship suggests that a person is concurrently regarded as a citizen of two or more jurisdictions. People can become dual citizens naturally by birth or marriage, but in the last 35 years an individual or a family has the ability to acquire a secondary citizenship through investment. Numerous jurisdictions and countries around the globe allow an investor to acquire their citizenship by investing in their citizenship by investment programs. These programs vary in investment requirements, fees and duration that can range from a small donation in development funds to profitable real estate investments in government approved property.

What are the benefits of having a second passport?

Freedom of Travel

Different passports and citizenship allow visa free travel all over the world. For example, by becoming a citizen by investment in the Republic of Cyprus it allows the investor to enjoy visa free travel to 165 countries as well as little to none reciprocity fees.


Business and Investment Freedom

Many countries have stricter trade and investment barriers for foreigners while locals enjoy a much more lenient regime. By acquiring a dual citizenship and let’s take for example a passport from an EU nation then the investor can use this lenient regime and make investments to the locality of its dual citizenship but to the other EU nations as well. By having a dual citizenship one can open bank accounts, manage investments, incorporate and transact with much easier and faster means than without.


Relocation and Work Possibilities

An important feature of a second passport and expanding on the example of having a citizenship in a European Union member is the right that comes along with the citizenship entitling the holder to work anywhere in EU without the need of additional work permits. Dual citizenship allows easier relocations and presents more work possibilities that can be engaged with ease.


Tax Management

Dual citizenship may prove advantageous for tax optimization purposes. For example, countries in the Caribbean offer, along with their citizenship, a beneficial tax system of no tax on overseas income or capital gains taxes. An investor can enjoy a positive tax regime and the utility of double tax treaties by investing in EU members as well. Cyprus has one of the most favourable tax regimes for both individual residents and companies (12.5% corporate income tax-one of the lowest within the EU) alike, while at the same time the tax system is simple, transparent and harmonised with EU regulations and directives.


Stability

Taking into consideration recent political and global events such as the Brexit, the Hong Kong protests and the pandemic of Covid-19 it goes to show that you never know when governments and laws can change. By having a dual citizenship, you are given a choice as to what political or sociological environment works best for the investor and its family.


Cyprus


Background

Cyprus is a beautiful Mediterranean island strategically located at the crossroads of the Middle East, Asia and Europe. A small European Union member with a population of about 847,000 and a climate where residents can enjoy 324 days of sunshine annually. Over 80% of local and working population speaks English and the island is very business oriented with a very well-structured common law legal system.


Citizenship by Investment Program

The Cyprus Citizenship by Investment program offers the fastest and most assured route to gaining a European passport through investment. It is quick and guaranteed and is available to investors who have sufficient funds to invest at least €2.0 million into real estate or participation in Cypriot companies or in alternative investment funds (AIF) or financial assets of Cypriot companies, plus a donation of €75,000 to the Governments Research and Development fund and €75,000 to the Land Development Organisation. No other European Citizenship (Cyprus Citizenship) by Investment program guarantees such assured results offering an EU second passport in just two to three months. Cyprus passport holders enjoy visa free travel to 165 countries.


Taxes

· Extensive Tax Treaty network with 65 countries

· Corporate income tax rate of 12.5%

· Notional Interest Deduction that can reach 80% of taxable income

· IP Box Regime which allows 80% deduction on qualifying profits

· Exemption for non-domiciled for personal investment income (dividends & interest)

Additionally, Cyprus is projected to be one of the top 2020 citizenship by investment programs globally as it has announced that it has already applied to join the Schengen and will almost definitely receive a Visa waiver to United States. Finally, the Cyprus government is set to increase the speed of citizenship applications to boost the economical side effects of Covid-19 and has made alterations to its investor program to be in line with EU guidelines.

We are a team of experienced professionals, all sharing a unique drive for learning and development through teamwork. The Group utilizes its various core activities to implement customized solutions for its clients. Our collective experience spans the areas of Global Corporate & Fiduciary Services, Assurance & Advisory Services, Fund Administration, Tax Advisory, Corporate Governance, Financial Services, Private Wealth Services and Compliance.

Start a conversation with us today to find out how you can benefit from a relationship with Flexi Group.

Please get in contact with our Head of Business Development:

Mrs Daniella May / Head of Business Development

Tel.: + 357 7000 2 5555 / + 357 22 87 57 55

E: inquiries@flexi-group.net

We also organize calls using Skype. Our flexi Skype ID is web@flexi-group.net




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