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Your Path to Citizenship

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Jean-François Harvey of Harvey Law Group (HLG) gives the
lowdown on global immigration by investment programmes

Investment visa programmes, also known as immigration by investment programmes, or entrepreneur visas, are government programmes created to stimulate economic activity in their country through the attraction of investment capital and entrepreneurial talent. In return, they allow foreign investors to gain a residence visa and potentially, a pathway to permanent residency or citizenship.

Through immigration by investment programmes, there are two paths to citizenship: the first is a direct pathway through which citizenship is granted ahead of residency, in the second, qualification for citizenship is granted after a few years’ residency. The Caribbean offers some of the oldest, “direct pathway” immigration by investment programmes for five different countries: Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, Dominica, St Kitts and Nevis, and St Lucia. Meanwhile, many people who wish to enjoy the European lifestyle, for instance in Spain, Portugal, Malta, Cyprus or Greece, are taking advantage of European Golden Visas that grant residency for five to seven years, and can lead to permanent residency or citizenship.

Other countries providing immigration by investment programmes are South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, Singapore and Vanuatu. Investment visa programmes are also available in France, the UK and Turkey. In the US, there is the Eb-2 Visa, and in Canada, the Start-Up Visa.

The eligibility and requirements of investment visa programmes vary but they tend to involve the following:
1. A substantial capital investment (minimum amount and holding period varies).
2. Requisite qualifications such as education, appropriate work experience and/ or language skills.
3. Proof of good health, a clean criminal record and evidence of sufficient funds.

Entrepreneur visas usually require funding from a source other than the applicant, such as an outside investor. This is usually an established commercial entity that can act as an advisor or incubator and will sponsor the applicant’s business venture, supply documentation and assess business plans.

In return for the investment and other criteria, benefits of investment visa programmes can include residency for a length of time, permanent residency or citizenship. This can lead to rights to live, work, or study in the new host country, plus access to a more tax friendly regime (depending on the jurisdiction). The granting of citizenship or residency can also dramatically improve one’s ability to travel, for example residency in most European countries gives access to the whole of the Schengen Area for 90 days in every 180. Business advantages include access to global markets, preferential support for new investors and special advantages in local business operations.

Further lifestyle benefits include opportunities to experience new cultures and greater personal freedom, plus access to hospitals, education and other support infrastructure at dramatically subsidised rates. Subject to additional costs, immigration by investment programmes may offer the inclusion of a spouse, children, parents, grandparents and siblings.

Founded in 1992 by Jean-François Harvey, Harvey Law Group (HLG) has quickly evolved into a leading multinational law firm that has developed a worldwide reputation amongst discerning businesses, individuals and governments across North America, Asia, Africa, Middle East and South America. For more information, email HLG at [email protected], call 2116 1333, or visit www.harveylawcorporation.com.

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