High-net worth individuals looking to become candidates in one of Europe’s investment immigration programs should act quickly following warnings of a potential European Commission crackdown.
Several of the programs have been linked to fraud and offering EU residence to candidates who should not have passed vetting procedures.
Candidates must make an investment in a country’s economy and in return received a residency permit. Cyprus also offers a citizenship program.
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The programs are generally dominated by Chinese candidates, but also draw interest from the Middle East, Russia and South America.
It has been reported that candidates investing in the schemes have been linked to several scandals in South America, with some granted Portuguese residency despite the links to unlawful transaction in Brazil.
Now the European Commission, which has never been comfortable with the programs, says it will investigate and tighten rules if necessary.
The programs are operated by individual countries under their national laws, but must also comply with EU regulations.
A report will be compiled in 2018 stating the policies of individual countries and offering guidance to member states on how to run the programs lawfully.
Investment Requirements: Portugal Golden Residence Investor Program
Transfer of capital of minimum value of €1 million into Portugal including through purchase of shares in companies
Creation of at least 10 new positions in Portugal
Purchase of unencumbered real estate in Portugal of a minimum value of €350,000. Co-ownership or purchase of property through finance is permissible provided each individual makes a mandatory minimum investment of €500,000.
Investment requirements in Portuguese companies range from €200,000 to €350,000.
Investment of at least €350,000 in constructed 30 years ago or investment for rehabilitation of properties located in Urban Rehabilitation Areas
Scientific Research and Development
Investment of at least €350,000 in R&D activities of institutions that are part of the national technological system.
Promotion of Culture
Investment of at least €250,000 towards financing of bodies pursuing cultural or artistic activities or towards renovation or maintenance of cultural heritage.
Small-Cap and Mid-Cap Finance
Investment of at least €500,000 towards purchase of units of small-cap or mid-cap venture capital funds.
Investment in Low Population Areas
20 per cent reduction in minimum investments in the above-mentioned categories when investment is made in a low population-density area.
Cyprus Citizenship Program: Investment Requirements
Investment in real estate, land development, or infrastructure projects: €2m
Purchase of financial assets issued by Cypriot companies: €2m
Purchase, creation, or participation in Cypriot businesses or companies: €2m
Combination of the five three investment options (may include purchase of special government bonds worth €500,000): €2m
Cyprus Residence Investor Program: Investment Requirements
- Deposit €30,000 with a financial institution in Cyprus.
- Possess secured annual income of not less than €30,000. This requirement will increase by €5,000 for every dependent person included in the application.
- Purchase a dwelling or any other property of minimum market value of €300,000
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