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Second Citizenship is the Hottest New Investment for Entrepreneurs Living in the GCC
June 20, 2017 - News
GCC-based entrepreneurs with ambitions to grow their businesses globally have a new tool in their expansion kit – Economic Citizenship.
According to PassPro Immigration Services, a Dubai-based Government Authorized consultancy firm specialized in the fastest forms of processing legal second citizenship, the number of GCC-based self-employed businessmen and owners of family-run companies looking to invest in legal second citizenship has increased significantly in the past year. This has been due to two main reasons – increasingly restrictive global travel and banking policies and more competitive packages for investing in second citizenship.
The global industry for second citizenship through investment is currently valued at USD2 billion a year, with many countries across the world including the US, UK and several countries in Europe and the Caribbean competing for investment from businessmen in these programs. Different country programs offer a variety of investment routes with varying timescales, with countries such as Dominica, St Kitts and Nevis, Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, St Lucia and Cyprus currently offering the fastest route to second citizenship through investment in 3-6 months. Candidates need to apply through Government Authorized Agents and undergo a strict due diligence process to prove a clear criminal record and clean source of funds before gaining citizenship approval. The Middle East has posted the fastest growth in demand for second citizenship in recent years. Around 60% of all second citizenship applicants come from countries in the Middle East.
“There are many businessmen who have lived for decades in the GCC but still face many challenges on account of their nationality. When it comes to opening bank accounts, wiring money for foreign transactions or even applying for a business license, individuals from countries on the sanctioned list, or places that have had recent conflicts or a refugee crisis such as Syria, Libya, Yemen or Iraq constantly face challenges no matter how settled and financially secure they personally are. Their nationality proves to be a roadblock whenever they think of doing business in the West, and often even within the Arab world,” said Giselle Bru, COO of PassPro.
Bru adds that currently 80% of PassPro’s clients own and manage their own businesses. Inquiries from entrepreneurs hailing from countries like Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon, India and Pakistan have also seen a rise as these nationalities have a very active and connected start-up community, and news of the life-changing benefits a second citizenship has to offer quickly spreads through word of mouth. “Referrals are our strongest source of new business because once a businessman sees how his freedom dramatically increases, he quickly becomes a vocal advocate of Citizenship by Investment programs.”
A second citizenship can offer businessmen many valuable benefits, including visa-free travel to between 65-80% of the world depending on which program they choose to invest in. For example, the Dominica Citizenship by Investment Program offers visa-free access to 120 countries including key business hubs like the UK, Schengen Zone, Hong Kong and Singapore. Citizenship can be passed on to your descendants and the country offers very competitive family-friendly investment packages that would allow a family of 4 to acquire citizenship starting from USD 300,800 and include a real estate asset worth USD200,000 in a luxury branded resort that can be sold after 5 years and has the capacity to generate rental income.
“More businessmen are becoming aware that this is a legal and powerful investment to fuel their expansion plans. We look forward to advising expat businessmen based in the GCC on how legal second citizenship can change their lives and open the door to greater opportunities across the globe,” added Bru.