Citizenship programs to help investors obtain citizenship in desired countries
Everyone has their own idea of where the perfect place to live would be. But even people who can afford to move to their favorite destination might have a hard time with naturalization and obtaining citizenship. However, the issue can be overcome by applying for economic citizenship.
A large number of countries have perfectly straightforward residency rules. This still makes naturalization a challenge. For people with a certain target this can be very discouraging. But the solution is not very popular, which can explain why it hasn’t been used very often.
Details of the economic citizenship
In certain situations, it can take more than 10 years to obtain citizenship or to become naturalized. Without any direct family links to the desired destination, economic citizenship is the only other viable option. Economic citizenship is offered to wealthy individuals. In return, they must make an investment or donation. Accounting for the majority of people seeking economic citizenship within the EU, there are 3 categories.
Economic citizenship is frequently desired by US citizens wishing to quickly give up on their citizenship. Also, citizens from emerging countries consider economic citizenship to be a useful tool to secure some extra travel perks. It is usually used by Chinese and Arab businessmen. Another category of people seeking economic citizenship is represented by business owners and investors wishing to set up contingency plans. In some cases, these plans are easier with the benefit of a second passport.
Economic citizenship in Cyprus
Until relatively recently, Cyprus was quite an unstable place as the idyllic Mediterranean island was not recommended for investment. The issue of Cypriot sovereignty has not reached a final decision. This means that there still is a potential for future instability. On the other hand, Cyprus has one of the fastest naturalization processes in the world. For those in a rush, this is a great option as the process only takes 57 days.
By owning a Cypriot passport, the holder has visa-free travel throughout the EU. The citizenship can be obtained for as little as €2 million. The amount must be paid in the form of a real estate investment. However, the only requirement of Cyprus’ program is for applicants to own a €500,000 home on the island and maintain residency.
Economic citizenship in Malta
Due to the Global Resident Program of Malta, applying for Maltese residency is a very straightforward process. But this is not the same thing as obtaining Maltese citizenship. The citizenship by investment program in Malta is the only one in the world that offers access to both the European Union and the Schengen borderless area.
Besides the usual fees, the Malta program also requires applicants to make a government donation of €650,000 for the primary applicant. After that, a further donation of €25,000 must be made for spouses and children. The cost for other adults is €50,000 per person. This also includes children. The applicant is also required to make a five-year investment of €150,000 in Maltese government bonds.
Economic citizenship in St Kitts and Nevis
St Kitts and Nevis offers an economic passport program that has served as the template for similar schemes in other Caribbean nations. The application process has always been simple and straightforward. Applicants are required to either donate money to a government development fund or purchase some approved real estate.
In the past, donations had to be at least $250,000. But after the hurricanes which impacted the state in 2017, the islands launched a controversial Hurricane Relief Fund. The fund is no longer active and the donation price has decreased to $150,000. In the meantime, the real estate investment has to be for a minimum of $200,000.
Economic citizenship in Dominica
Dominica offered the lowest-cost investment passport in the world until recently. Its program offers many of the same benefits of St Kitts and Nevis. But they are offered at a lower cost of $100,000. Also, anyone who wants to apply for citizenship is required to have a basic grasp of English. Applicants will see that the program offers almost the same benefits as that of St Kitts and Nevis.
UK citizenship costs affecting children
According to Sadiq Khan, UK-born children and teenagers are being left in limbo without access to education or employment. This is because of UK citizenship fees that can go up to £1,000. Under such circumstances, Mr. Khan said that the government may face another Windrush-style scandal. Sadiq Khan is the Mayor of London.
In Mr. Khan’s opinion, the fees that many young people were forced to pay were unacceptably high. He argued that most of them had lived most of or even all of their lives in the UK, but did not have UK citizenship officially.
The majority of young people involved arrived to the UK along with their parents at a very small age. Some of them were born in the UK, but their parents are immigrants.
Many teenagers are not aware of the fact that their status is not secure until they apply for post-18 education. They end up being rejected as they cannot access funding or student loans. On the other hand, they will be classed as international students by universities. As a result, they will be charged tens of thousands of pounds.
Lacking settled status, young adults might not be able to rent a home or access healthcare. Also, they might not be allowed to open bank accounts or start a job. Due to these restrictions introduced by the government, a “hostile environment” appears once they leave full-time education.
UK citizenship issue resulting from the new immigration restrictions
Research from 2007 shows that over 159,000 Londoners aged up to 24 were dealing with such issues. The London Mayor said he was commissioning research to understand what caused the issue. The research would show if the problem had increased as a result of the new immigration restrictions. These restrictions came into force over the past decade.
He found it shameful that young people, many of them born in Britain, didn’t have access to work or education. He then said that the government “profit on their circumstances”, despite their amazing contribution to the city and the country.
In his opinion, the government had to streamline the application process. Also, it needed to waive the “astronomically high” fees to affirm their citizenship.
Costs to apply for UK citizenship
Last month, registering a child as a British citizen cost £1,012. It also cost £1,330 for an adult to naturalize their citizenship. According to a Citizens UK calculation, much of the fee (around £640) is profit. In comparison, the administration cost is £372.
There are additional immigration fees for those who were not born in the UK, but were brought as young children. The fees are worth £8,521 and are available for a period of 10 years.
UK citizenship issue affecting education
Neil Jameson said it was “a huge own goal to deprive young people with bright futures of education when now more than ever Britain needs to extend a hand of welcome”. Neil Jameson is the executive director of Citizens UK.
Such amounts can pressure families wishing to register their children as UK citizens. This is possible only after a child has been in the UK for 10 years. The immigration status may still be uncertain for some parents. They may not have the right to work and may not have recourse to public funds. This means that they can be effectively destitute.
A report from December revealed that 9 children in Year 5 alone deal with the expensive and arduous process of applying for UK citizenship. These children never knew any other country. The case was reported at Surrey Square school in south London
According to a Home Office spokeswoman, the fees took into account the wider costs of running the immigration system. She said that it was “funded by those who benefit from it” in order to reduce taxpayer expense.
Windrush scandal results show a large number of immigrants without passports
According to recent census data, around 21,000 people who moved to the UK before 1971 don’t own a British passport. The data shows that they don’t even own a passport from the country where they were born. This gives the strongest picture so far of the scale that the Windrush scandal could reach.
The census data show how many people may have difficulties in proving that they are in the UK legally.
Out of the people without passports, around 5,200 were born in Caribbean countries, as the data shows. This suggests that there may be a lot more non-Windrush people who are trying to prove their legal stay.
Madeleine Sumption said that statistics show the large numbers of people from outside the Caribbean who entered the UK under similar policies. She added that it’s unclear if people from certain countries are more likely to have problems for lacking documentation. However, she said there is certainly “no reason to think that this will be an issue for people exclusively from the Caribbean”.
The reason for which most cases have so far targeted people born in Caribbean countries is still unclear. This data might suggest that, eventually, the Windrush scandal may spread and affect people from outside the Caribbean. By now, there is s large number of people from Caribbean nations affected by the scandal. Also, it might indicate a certain level of discrimination. This would mean that people from Caribbean countries have disproportionately experienced difficulties.
Census results impact on the Windrush scandal
Results of the new census are consistent with previous analysis of Commonwealth migrants living in the UK who arrived before 1971. The analysis was published by the Migration Observatory. However, the new census data provides a more accurate count. It also gives more detailed information about the physical documents people hold.
Sumption said: “It shows that 90% of around 600,000 Commonwealth migrants who came to the UK before 1971 and were still resident here in 2011 held a British passport and that 57,000 did not, which is similar to our earlier analysis of the labor force survey”.
She then added: “Perhaps more importantly though, it shows that about 21,000 pre-1971 Commonwealth migrants did not have any passport at all. This group is likely to be at highest risk of getting into trouble with the immigration enforcement measures that led to the so-called ‘Windrush’ cases. Of course, people without a passport may still be able to demonstrate their legal status with other evidence, such as a naturalization certificate or another immigration document”.
According to the Home Office, the data shows people who didn’t hold a passport on the day of the census. However, this does not necessarily mean that they have never held a passport. It doesn’t even mean that their residency status has not been fixed in other ways.
The Windrush scandal
The Windrush scandal was sparked due to the immigration status of members of the Windrush generation. As part of the scandal, the Home Office was criticized for its hostile environment policy. As a result, Amburd Rudd resigned from the Home Secretary position this year. She was then replaced by Sajid Javid.
Members of the Windrush generation are immigrants who have been invited to the UK between 1948 and 1971. They came from Caribbean countries such as Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados.
Meanwhile, the Windrush scandal was sparked over the treatment of Windrush generation members after a number of reports have come out about mostly elderly people being denied services, losing their jobs and even facing deportation.
Theresa May apologized to 12 Caribbean nations for the treatment of people from the "Windrush generation". There May is the British Prime Minister.
In April, May attended a summit of Commonwealth heads of government in London. At the summit, she told leaders and diplomats that she was “genuinely sorry for any anxiety that has been caused”.
UAE passport holders can enter Tonga without pre-entry visa
A decision was reached in April by the authorities in UAE and the Kingdom of Toga over the UAE passport. Thus, UAE passport holders are exempted from a pre-entry visa when travelling to Tonga. The announcement was made by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation in the UAE.
The agreement was put into application starting the 24th of April. Under the decision, UAE passport holders traveling to the Polynesian Kingdom can stay for up to 60 days per visit.
According to ambassador, UAE citizens who own diplomatic, private, VIP and regular passports can enter without a pre-entry visa. Al Dhahiri is also the Assistant Undersecretary for Consular Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.
Memorandum of Understanding for UAE passport holders visa-free entrance
Before reaching the decision, a memorandum of understanding was signed between the UAE and the Kingdom of Tonga. The MoU was signed in Dubai by Ambassador Yacoub Yousef Al Hosani and Akla Wala. The agreement was reached alongside the meeting between Reem bint Ibrahim Al Hashemi and Akla Wala. Al Hosani is the Assistant Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation for International Organizations. Akla Wala is the Tongan Ambassador to the UAE. On the other hand, Reem bint Ibrahim Al Hashemi is UAEa��s Minister of State for International Cooperation.
Al Dhaheri declared: a�?The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation made great progress in its diplomatic and consular efforts to strengthen the country's status at the global levela�?.
He said that the ministrya��s commitment to the MoUa��s for visa exemptions is part of its desire to provide special consular services to UAE nationals. It also wants to facilitate their travels across the world. He added that consolidated bilateral relations with these countries enhance cooperation in tourism, economic and investment fields.
Al Dhaheri mentioned: a�?We aim to have the UAE passport ranking among the five most important passports in line with UAE's 2021 visiona�?.
The Kingdom of Tonga is comprised of 176 islands. All of them are scattered over an area of 700,000km2 in the South Pacific. The kingdom is located between Hawaii and New Zealand, east of Australia. Tongan and English are the official languages in the kingdom. The city of Nuku'alofa is the kingdoma��s capital.
Best improvement for UAE passport
At the beginning of 2018, a report named the UAE passport as the most improved. The report studied its increasing influence all over the world. The increasing influence was calculated for the past 10 years.
At that point, the report showed that the UAE passport went to the 33rd position. It climbed 28 positions in the last 10 years. The improvement represents the biggest ascent of any country in the report.
According to the report, all countries in the GCC region improved their positions in a significant manner. The countries were ranked within the top 70 positions on the index.
Visa-free access for UAE passport holders in 2018
The UAE passport has seen further improvement in 2018. Thus, in January, an agreement was reached between the UAE and Ireland. As a result of the agreement, UAE passport holders received visa-free access to Ireland.
The agreement was reached as a way to tighten relations between the UAE and Ireland. Reports from January said that there are 10,000 Irish expatriates in the UAE. Also, there are 26 direct flights weekly and in 2015, two-way trade stood at 1.6 billion euro (Dh6.95bn).
Another improvement for the UAE passport was reached in April. A MoU was signed by the UAE and the Eastern Uruguayan Republic offering visa-free travel to Emiratis.
The agreement applies to all types of citizens from both nations. They must hold diplomatic, special, official and regular passports. As a result, they can stay in both countries without obtaining a visa or paying fees. These conditions apply for up to 90 days.
Gender-neutral passport issue taken to the High Court
The topic of gender-neutral passports will be taken to the court by Christie Elan-Cane, a supporter and campaigner of gender-neutral passports, will challenge the Government in the High Court over the matter.
In Christiea��s opinion, the UKa��s passport application process is a�?inherently discriminatorya�?. This is because the application requires individuals to specify whether they are male or female.
Elan-Cane has been trying to achieve legal and social recognition for non-gendered identity for more than 25 years. During this time, he has been campaigning over the issue continuously. He considers the issue of a�?Xa�? passports to be a key focal point of the non-gendered campaign. The a�?Xa�? passport standing for unspecified gender.
Judicial review for gender-neutral passport issue
A judicial review began in London on the 18th of April, lasting two days. It challenged the lawfulness of the policy which is administered by Her Majestya��s Passport Office.
Arguments have been prepared to be used in an action brought against the Home Secretary. The arguments claim that the policy is a�?inherently discriminatory and part of a wider systemic failure to address the needs of individuals whose identities are neither male nor femalea�?.
In a High Court hearing that took place before Elan-Canea��s challenge, Kate Gallafent declared: a�?The claimanta��s identity is that of a non-gendered person: someone who does not identify as either male or female. The claimant considers that obtaining and using a passport currently involves the claimant making a false declaration as to the nature of the claimanta��s gender identity, which causes the claimant considerable distressa�?. Kate Gallafent spoke on behalf of Elan-Cane. At that hearing, a judge ruled that the case was a�?arguablea�? and should proceed to a full airing.
The impact of gender-neutral passport refusal
Ms. Gallafent said that, by refusing to provide a�?Xa�? passports, the passport office doesna��t only affect non-gendered persons like Elan-Cane. The refusal also affects the greater public, she said.
People affected by the refusal include intersex people, who are born with biological characteristics of both sexes. These people a�?often identify as both or neither male or femalea�?. It also includes transgendered people and individuals with gender dysphoria.
Kate Gallafent said: a�?The size of the potentially affected class is substantial; it has been estimated to be as high as 1% of the populationa�?.
Conversely, Elan-Cane stated: a�?Legitimate identity is a fundamental human right, but non-gendered people are often treated as though we have no rights. The UKa��s passport application process requires applicants to declare whether they are male or female. It is inappropriate and wrong that someone who defines as neither should be forced to make that declarationa�?.
Gender-neutral passport taken into consideration
After the case reached the High Court judges in the UK, authorities could soon be taking into consideration gender-neutral passport options.
A survey shows that people who do not identify as either gender are estimated to be a mere 1% of the UK population. This roughly represents a number of 600,000 people in the UK. The survey was carried out by the Equality and Human Rights Commission in 2012.
To apply the changes that have been proposed in court, the government would have to spend around A?2 million. Which would make it possible to issue the third category on passports, alongside male and female. Countries like Canada, New Zealand and Australia already have a gender-neutral passport.
Elan-Cane, being a UK citizen, applied for a gender-neutral passport in 1995. However, the application was rejected as the UK does not currently offer them.
Since then, Elan-Cane has campaigned for the issue for more than 25 years. The campaigner also receives support from the Human Rights Watch.
Elan-Cane has fought for the changea��s implementation after discovering that technology systems can read the three genders offered on passports even though British authorities do not offer them.
DACA bill pushed by lawmakers
The US House of Representatives had a tense debate on the DACA legislation that protects young undocumented immigrants from deportation. The intense debate was made as a challenge to US President, Donald Trump. Meanwhile, Trump declared an existing program allowing them to legally study and work in the US as a�?deada�?.
A press conference was scheduled by a bipartisan group consisting of Republican and Democratic lawmakers. Within the conference, they discussed the plans they have to force the debate in the full House. The debate was set to approach a series of proposals to help the estimated 800,000 immigrants.
An announcement was expected to come from the group. Reportedly, the group would announce having over 218 House members on board with moving ahead with a bipartisan bill. The number is the minimum one requested for the 435-member House to pass bills.
Republicans mainly agree with DACA
Republicans have been deeply divided when it came to immigration legislation for years. However, certain polls show that most of the voters want to help young immigrants who crossed into the US illegally under circumstances that they had no control over.
According to a House Democratic aide, an announcement of the supporters had the aim to pressure House Speaker Paul Ryan. The pressure was supposed to make Ryan decide to bring such legislation to the House floor. The other aim was to make him intensify high-level negotiations on crafting a new compromise bill. Paul Ryan is a Republican. The House Democratic aide has very well knowledge of the maneuverings.
In an emailed statement, AshLee Strong declared: a�?We continue to work to find the support for a solution that addresses both border security and DACAa�?. AshLee Strong is the spokeswoman of Paul Ryan.
Stopping the DACA program
In a public announcement, Donald Trump said that he was putting a stop to the DACA program. DACA went effective on the 5th of March. However, following a court decision, the DACA program was allowed to continue. It will be applied to its existing beneficiaries until legal challenges to its termination are resolved.
AshLee Strong said that a�?good-faith offersa�? have already been made by Republicans to protect the young immigrants. Significant reductions in legal immigration that are being sought by the Trump administration have been included in the offers. However, the Democrats rejected the offers.
A bipartisan bill has more than 218 votes. The information came from Representative Steny Hoyer who thinks that a�?ita��s going to have significantly overa�? that number. Steny Hoyer is the No. 2 House Democrat. The bipartisan bill was unveiled in January 2018.
There could be consequences in case Ryan refuses to bring such legislation to the floor. Thus, supporters of the bill could employ a rarely used procedure to force action, if they have at least 218 backers.
Along with two or three other alternatives, the House could debate the bipartisan bill, under one strategy being weighed. Last February, a similar debate was played out in the Senate. All the measures failed to attract the necessary number of votes to ensure an advance.
Description of DACA
DACA is the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. It is an American immigration policy allowing certain individuals to receive a renewable two-year period of deferred action from deportation. It also allows them to become eligible for a work permit in the US. DACA applies to individuals who were brought to the US illegally as children.
However, DACA does not provide a path to citizenship for recipients, unlike the proposed DREAM Act. The program was announced on June 15, 2012 by former US President, Barack Obama. The USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services) started accepting applications for the program on August 15, 2012.
Citizenship question issue brings 2 more lawsuits in legal fight
The number of lawsuits filed against the citizenship question set to be included in the 2020 census is increasing. On behalf of the city of San Jose, California, a lawsuit was filed in San Francisco federal court. The other lawsuit was filed by Black Alliance for Just Immigration. It is an immigrant rights group based in California led by Black Lives Matter co-founder Opal Tometi.
Less than a week before the filing of the lawsuits, a group of individuals filed a similar legal challenge against officials. The individuals came from Maryland and Arizona. They were represented by the law firm of former US Attorney General Eric Holder. The lawsuit was filed against officials at the US Census Bureau and the Commerce Department. Two separate lawsuits have already been filed by over 20 other cities and states.
The issue sparked controversy in late March. This was a year after the proposed question topics for the 2020 census were submitted by the bureau to Congress. Controversy began following Wilbur Rossa��s last-minute approval of a request from the Justice Department. The department requested the census to ask about citizenship. US households havena��t been asked about citizenship since 1950. Wilbur Ross is the Commerce Secretary.
Citizenship question to battle racial discrimination
According to the Justice Department, the question is needed to enforce Voting Rights Act protections against racial discrimination. It would provide a better count of voting-age citizens. However, the lawsuits argue a citizenship question could discourage noncitizens from attending the 2020 census. Unauthorized immigrants would be particularly discouraged.
Kristen Clarke declared: a�?The Constitution requires that we capture a full and accurate count of the population when we do the census. The decisions that have been made fully jeopardize our ability to capture a true snapshot of how many people are living in communities like San Jose all over our countrya�?. Kristen Clarke is the president and executive director of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. The committee is among the law groups that represent San Jose and Black Alliance for Just Immigration.
Almost 40% of San Jose's residents were born outside the US. The city is among the top 20 metro areas with the most unauthorized immigrants in the US.
The impact of citizenship question in 2020 census
Besides redistributing seats in the House of Representatives, census figures are used to draw legislative districts. They are also used to distribute federal funds. According to the complaint from San Jose, city officials are concerned that an undercount in 2020 could affect city funds. An undercount of as many as 70,000 residents may cost the city $20 million in federal funding every year.
Regarding specifics of the latest lawsuit against the citizenship question, the Commerce Department refused to comment. The department says all cases are without merit. One of the departmenta��s spokesperson stated in an e-mail: a�?We look forward to prevailing in court and continuing to work with the Census Bureau to conduct a complete and accurate 2020 censusa�?. Department attorneys and the Census Bureau are expected to file answers to the other legal complaints by early June.
Hearings on the citizenship question issue
Ron Jarmin is expected to offer his first public testimony since the citizenship question announcement was made. The announcement was made at a Capitol Hill hearing in front of the House Appropriations Commerce, Justice, Science Subcommittee. A hearing of the House Oversight committee regarding the 2020 census is scheduled for May 8. During the hearing, lawmakers are expected to grill bureau and Commerce Department officials about how the question was added despite the bureau's own research suggesting it would depress the response rate. Ron Jarmin is the bureau's acting director.
Kristen Clarke hopes that the courts will issue rulings on all of these cases by the end of 2018. This would minimize the distraction from the 2020 census preparations. Clarke is one of the attorneys involved in San Jose's lawsuit.
Brexit border force jobs only admits British passport holders
Only individuals who hold a British passport are allowed to apply for the newly released jobs at the Border Force. The jobs are being created in Northern Ireland as a mean to prepare for Brexit.
Ahead of the UK leaving the European Union, hundreds of new Border Force roles are advertised by the British government.
Fears of Brexit leading to stringent border controls have appeared due to the intense recruitment process. The stringent border control would have an impact on trade and travel north-south and across the Irish Sea.
At the moment, there are 21 posts based in Belfast among the positions that are being advertised online. The authorities are looking to recruit 16 Border Force officers and 5 Border Force assistant officers.
But the legislation says that people in Northern Ireland who only hold Irish passports cannot apply for the jobs.
The measure was described as a�?exclusionary and chillinga�? by the SDLP's Claire Hanna, the party's spokesperson on Brexit. Hanna requested the British government to a�?spell out clearly what form of border they anticipate these employees to be guardinga�?.
The Border Force is the law enforcement command of the British government. The authority is in charge of the immigration and customs checks carried out on people and goods entering the UK.
Applicants are requested to hold a full and valid British passport. This is one of the main eligibility criteria for the roles. The jobs provide salaries that range from just over A?20,000 to almost A?27,000.
Border Force jobs regulation under Brexit
The Border Force jobs are considered to be a�?reserved postsa�?. Under the British government civil service rules, this means that a�?only UK nationals may be employeda�?. At the same time, the rules state that a�?under no circumstances may any other nationals be employed in reserved postsa�?.
The civil service guidance says that this is because reserved posts usually a�?require special allegiance to the Crowna�?. Such allegiance is required a�?due to the sensitive nature of the worka�?.
People who were born in Northern Ireland own dual citizenship. They are allowed to choose to be British citizens, Irish citizens or even both. This possibility resulted from the Good Friday Agreement. The agreement celebrated its 20th anniversary earlier in April.
Results from the 2011 census show that about a quarter of passports held in the north are Irish.
Ms. Hanna declared: a�?Having failed to put forward any serious ideas for how to address Brexit, it appears that the UK government are now finally doing some planning but for the one thing they promised to avoid. They should spell out clearly what form of border they anticipate these employees to be guarding. The apparent bar on Irish passport holders applying is exclusionary and chilling, and likely to be in breach of fair employment guidance. In a post-Brexit scenario, what other jobs or services are to be reserved only for, as the Home Office has put it, those with 'special allegiance to the Crown'?a�?.
Brexit is set to take place in 2019.
British and Irish governments insist on avoiding a a�?hard bordera�? with physical checkpoints on the island of Ireland. The EU also supports the idea. However, questions over how this can be achieved are still raised.
To prepare for Brexit, the Home Office received an additional A?395m. The office also expects to have 1,300 more border staff members by the end of the transition period. The transition period is set to end in December 2020.
Speaking about the Belfast-based jobs issue, a Home Office spokesman declared: a�?As we prepare to leave the EU, it is vital that we continue to ensure operational resilience at the border. The home secretary announced last month that Border Force was launching a nationwide recruitment campaign for officers across many of its port and airport locations. This campaign will largely replace individual recruitment rounds to specific roles. It will meet a range of business needs, including meeting the normal staff turnover associated with a large operational business such as Border Force. It will also support Border Force to respond flexibly to emerging requirements, including any future requirements as a result of EU exita�?.
Plagiarism:A� 100% Unique
Investor Visa to Help Investors Obtain Green Card
Due to many factors, ita��s getting harder for foreigners to obtain legal residency in the US. Under such circumstances, an investor visa may be the surest path to US residency, at least for the wealthy. The EB-5 visa program is probably the most popular program among rich people who want to obtain US residency.
The program appeared in 1990 with the purpose of stimulating the US economy through capital investment and job creation.
To qualify for permanent US residency, foreigners must invest at least $1 million in a new business venture. Also, the business venture must create at least 10 jobs. For investments in high-unemployment or rural areas, the threshold goes down to $500,000.
Potential investors have to file a petition to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services, to apply for the visa. The petition is known as an I-526. If approved, the investor has to apply to the State Department for the visa. This allows permanent residence on a conditional basis. After the requirements are met by the investment project, the investor obtains a green card. According to immigration attorneys, the entire process can take up to two years.
The number of green cards awarded under the program is capped at 10,000 each fiscal year by the government. Only 7% or less of that total may come from any one country.
The program allows the investor's spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 to obtain residency.
Popularity of investor visa
Data from the US government shows that immigration authorities received 12,165 I-526 petitions during the last fiscal year. The figures are down 14% from 2016. Totally, 11,321 petitions received the approval.
At the moment, the visa is available to people of all nationalities. The exception applies to those from the six countries affected by the travel ban instituted by the Trump administration. Chad, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen are included in the travel ban.
According to data from immigration authorities, over 82% of applications came from mainland China in 2016. That is the most recent year available with a breakdown by country. The 7% cap on any one nationality caused a huge backlog of Chinese applicants.
Vietnamese represent the next biggest applicant pool, with 3%, followed by Indian applicants, who stand at 2.7%.A� Compared to the previous year, the numbers increased significantly.
Certain experts said that, even though the investor visa is available only to the rich, the Trump administration's decision to reduce legal immigration is only increasing its popularity in those countries.
Particularly, India represented a disproportionate share of H-1B visas. These visas have become harder to renew because the US government launched a more vigorous vetting process for computer programmers.
According to specialized lawyers, interest in the US investor visa program has increased by 60% among people living in Arab nations, including many Indian nationals.
Economic impact of investor visa program
Researchers showed that the visa program generated over $11.2 billion in capital investment between 2014 and 2015. The investment was used for development projects across the US.
At the same time, the program created over 207,000 US jobs. This is 4% of the private sector job growth between 2014 and 2015. Also, the program added over $33 billion to the gross domestic product and $4 billion in tax revenues.
Opinions on the investor visa program
The program is not appreciated by everyone.
In the past, the program dealt with charges of duping foreign investors. Also, the charges accused the program of misspending amounts of money. The amount in question was supposed to go to job-creating projects.
As an example, a December 2016 lawsuit said that a Newport Beach lawyer misspent at least $9.5 million. The money came from 131 investors who wanted to participate in the program. The law suit was filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission.
An Orange County couple was sued by the SEC in June 2016. The couple was accused of misappropriating millions of dollars. The money was supposed to be used to build a cancer treatment center. A Redlands doctor was sued by the SEC in 2015. According to the lawsuit, the doctor and an associate misspent half of the $20 million. The money was raised from Chinese investors who wanted to obtain US residency.
Protections and some oversight to increase the programa��s security for investors have been proposed by lawmakers.
Other lawmakers were uncertain if some projects, funded by EB-5 investors, would have happened anyway, with domestic investment.
Also, lawmakers proposed an increase of the investment requirement. Thus, the investment would go to $1.25 million, or $925,000 in economically distressed or rural areas.
Plagiarism:A�A� 100% Unique
UK Passport Applicants to Under Interview
When applying for a UK passport, an applicant is requested to undergo a series of procedures to obtain the document. First of all, they can expect to be asked certain questions. The questions are part of an interview where the applicants can also be requested to confirm their identity.
Her Majestya��s Passport Office will send a letter to the passport applicants. The office will require applicants to phone and set up a meeting at a passport interview office.
Across the UK, there are seven Passport Offices. These offices are set up in London, Newport, Peterborough, Liverpool, Durham, Glasgow and Belfast.
Passport applicants are allowed to choose the office to go to. At the same time, they may not be given the exact time or date that they want.
In case an applicant lives in a remote part of the UK, he or she may be allowed to arrange an interview closer to their home. To arrange the interview in a certain location, the applicant must ask the Passport Office at the phone.
However, not all applicants are required to go through an interview. As an example, applicants who were born on or before 2 September 1929 may not need one.
Procedures before undergoing interview for UK passport
Before attending the appointment, the applicant has to make sure to bring all of the supporting documents along. These include the passport photos as well as a valid piece of photo ID.
A website of an independent advisory service for UK passports says: a�?If you dona��t bring photo ID with you there is no way to verify your identity and therefore you will be denied entry into the buildinga�?.
After arriving at the selected HM Passport Office, the applicant will enter the building and go through the security protocols. These protocols require the applicant to go through a scan with X-Ray machines. The applicanta��s personal belongings will also be scanned.
After the X-Ray check has been completed, the applicant will be given a ticket. The ticket will show the number that officials will call when it is the applicanta��s turn to have the interview.
The passport interviews take around half an hour. In this procedure, applicants will be asked questions about themselves to confirm they are who they say they are.
Questions asked to issue UK passport
The first question can be about the applicanta��s identity, including name and address.
Passport applicants may also be asked questions about certain household bills, partner or spouse, children and parents.
Questions within the interview might focus on the applicant as a person. Questions about whether or not the applicant was born in the UK, or how the citizenship was obtained otherwise, might be asked.
Applicants can be asked about previous nationality and passport, or about the counter signatory.
The website also stated: a�?Ita��s important to remember at this stage that this can be a very daunting process and many people get extremely nervous. But, remember they are not there to catch you out, they are there to protect us all from people trying to gain passports illegallya�?.
Following the interview, the application will be processed. Any personal information collected about the applicant during the interview will be destroyed after the passport is issued.
If there are no further questions, the applicant should receive the UK adult passport via secure courier. The document should be received within 14 days of the interview.
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Foreigners Investors to Achieve Cheaper Turkish Citizenship
In 2017, Ankara offered citizenship to foreign investors who want to invest their money in Turkey. The measure was applied as a mean to overcome financial strains and attract more foreign exchange. However, the measure didna��t have the expected results. This led to plans to lower the bar and a�?cheapena�? citizenship.
Before the April 2017 referendum, the government adopted certain measures to strengthen the shrinking economy and weather the plebiscite safely. Thus, some taxes have been cut and the cheap loans have been encouraged. The banking sector issued Treasury-guaranteed loans worth billions of Turkish liras. They were called a�?lifeline loansa�? and the measure was led by public banks.
The measure was enforced on January 12, 2017 and aims to support the construction and housing sector. It also wants to help the inflow of hard currency increase. As a result, foreigners buying properties worth at least $1 million and keeping them for at least three years are eligible for Turkish citizenship. Meanwhile, title deed fees were scrapped by the government. It also reduced the value added tax on real property sales until September 2017.
Many people considered that the $1 million bar was too high. However, the general targets of economy stimulation were welcomed. So were the inflow of hard currency and job creation.
Legal amendments supporting foreign investors achieve property in Turkey
Legal amendments that abolish the reciprocity principle in real estate sales have been passed by the AKP government in 2012. This allowed foreigners to buy properties in Turkey without considering the rules applied to Turkish nationals by their own countries. Europeans were among the top foreign buyers on Turkeya��s real estate market, for many years, especially Germans and Britons.
But recently, the number of buyers from war-affected countries in the region has increased prominently in the housing market. They come from countries like Iraq and Syria as well as Afghanistan. Also, the number of buyers from wealthy Gulf countries like Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the UAE is increasing.
TUIK figures show that, in 2017, foreigners purchased over 22,000 homes in Turkey. Reportedly, Iraqis and Saudis are on the top of the list. On March 21, TUIK released data showing Iraqis still topping the list, with 308 homes purchased in February. TUIK is the Turkish Statistical Institute.
However, overall home sales in Turkey have decreased in the past months. Data from TUIK mentions a slowdown especially in the sale of newly built homes. It also speaks of a serious decline in mortgaged sales. This was reported to be the result of rising interest rates on loans.
Citizenship incentive failed to attract more foreign investors
Apparently, the citizenship incentive didna��t manage to lure the hard currency amounts addition expected by Ankara. Central Bank data shows that the amount of foreign exchange entering Turkey via realty purchases reached $4.64 billion in January. This represents a mere $750 million increase from the $3.89 billion reported in January 2017. At that time, the citizenship incentive was enforced with expectations to bring in at least $10 billion in foreign exchange.
As a result of the outcome, the government considered lowering the $1 million bar. The decision is part of other measures that would boost foreign realty purchases. Also, the planned amendments are part of an omnibus bill which is expected to be submitted to parliament in May. The amendments expand the citizenship entitlement to properties worth at least $300,000. But there are other proposals to simplify red tape on title deeds and licenses too.
Analysis of the legislation to attract foreign investors
In late March, a report was made about the legislative preparations. In the report, a pro-government daily pointed out the support of the construction sector for the measure.
Feyzullah Yetgin expects the new $300,000 threshold to be legalized in May. He declared: a�?The move would help significantly both the Turkish economy and the real estate sector. Homes worth $1 million and more account for only 2-3% of the market. Our surveys indicate foreigners opt [mostly] for homes in the range of $100,000-$300,000a�?. Feyzullah Yetgin is the head of the Association of Real Estate and Real Estate Investment Companies (GYODER).
According to Yetgina��s estimation, realty sales to foreigners could reach $8 billion in 2018. The estimation takes the depreciation of the Turkish lira into consideration. The depreciation has increased the purchasing power of foreigners in Turkey.
Ziya Yilmaz, CEO of a heavyweight in the housing sector is also optimistic that the amendment would increase foreign interest. Yilmaz noted that Turkey is capable of bringing foreign purchases up to $15 billion per year.
Figures from GYODER showed that Iraqis made the largest number of home purchases. In 2017, they purchased 4,341 homes. They were followed by Saudis with 2,351, Kuwaitis with 1,771, Russians with 1,686 and Germans with 1,627. At the same time, Afghans bought 1,620 homes and Britons 1,465. Other nationals purchased over 9,824 homes. But the statistics do not show how many were worth at least $1 million, making buyers suitable for Turkish citizenship.
Election in 2019 and its impact on foreign investors
In 2019, Turkey will go through a critical election, with speculation abuzz that the AKP could bring the polls forward. Last year, Turkey posted a flashy 7.4% growth rate. The revival, however, was determined by government incentives stimulating domestic consumption. Also, the worth of gross domestic product actually decreased in terms of dollars. This happened because the Turkish lira slumped dramatically. The government has been enacting various measures and incentives as a mean to encourage both domestic and foreign investment, scrambling to contain growing economic woes.
A fresh loan support plan for small and medium-sized enterprises was recently announced by Prime Minister Binali Yildirim. With the plan, the Treasury and the Credit Guarantee Fund will support and provide guarantees for loans totaling 7.5 billion liras (roughly $2 billion). This will be issued by public banks to thousands of businesses on very favorable terms.
The sustainment of economic growth ahead of the elections is a vital task for the government. President Erdogan aims to be re-elected in critical presidential polls marking the formal transition to the new governance system. The system was approved in the 2017 referendum. Widening citizenship incentive for foreign homebuyers is part of those efforts. The aim is to compensate the decline in domestic demand by expanding demand from foreign clientele.
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EB-5 Visa Applicants Advised to Accelerate Application Process
Immigration lawyers have advised applicants for the EB-5 visa to accelerate the application process. The advice goes to rich individuals wanting to migrate to the US as they are eligible for the visa. EB-5 is a visa for immigrant investors.
The proposal came as the US is tightening many of its visa programmes. Also, several senators want a comprehensive reform of the EB-5 visa.
Yet again, the EB-5 visa programme was extended for an additional six months, almost at the last minute, in March. Prospective immigrants were scared that the visa programme might expire. The current visa programme for immigrant investors could be replaced by a new and stricter legislation. This new legislation might sharply raise the threshold investment. The applicant will have to make the investment in the US. This condition is required for the applicant to be eligible for a conditional green card for self and immediate family. At the moment, the threshold for rural areas and low employment areas is $500,000.
EB-5 visa investment threshold
Vivek Tandon warns that the minimum investment threshold required could reach $1.35 million. The increase could appear as the US is taking several of the EB-5 reform proposals into consideration. The proposals were moved over the last two years and an amalgamation of these proposals can create the final law. Vivek Tandon is the founder and chief executive officer of an EB-5 visa advisory firm.
In January 2017, a proposal tried to make the threshold reach $1.35 million. Also, a draft legislation released by the Congress in March tried to make an increase to reach $925,000. But applications submitted before the new lawai??i??s enactment will be eligible to lock in their proposal at the current investment thresholds. They will be eligible even if the application is processed after the lawai??i??s enforcement. It is expected for the new EB-5 legislation to be passed by the Congress well before September 30.
It was mentioned by Abhinav Lohia that some senators have a negative view of the programme. He said that is the reason why certain changes proposed by them are very hard. He added: ai???I donai??i??t think anyone is against regulating the programme, however, not everything that senators are proposing is reasonableai???. Abhinav Lohia is the Vice-President of an India-based EB-5 advisory firm.
Ai??Processing application for EB-5 visa
Immigration lawyers advise prospective applicants to lock in their investment as soon as possible. Application processing from Indians is current and so they usually get their green card within two years. On the other hand, the Chinese might have to wait up to five years. This happens with the US issuing around 10,000 individual EB-5 visas in a year. India is entitled to 700 of these visas. Currently, India is under-using its quota. Around 400 and 450 EB-5 visas are used by Indians per year. In comparison, the Chinese use around 90% of EB-5 visas issued every year, much beyond their quota.
According to Tandon and Lohia, the looming increase in investment limits may lead to a raise of Indian applicants. In return, this leads to longer waits.
Tandon said: ai???The sooner people file their application, the sooner they will get into the queue for processingai???. He advised people to do adequate due diligence of projects and investment vehicles, better known as regional centres. They would commit their investment to these regional centres to avoid being defrauded.
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