So far in 2018 the number of men and women looking to obtain second passports via ‘investment for passport’ schemes, mostly in Europe, has shot up to record numbers from an advisory company show.
An example of this is in the first half of 2018 – South Africa saw a 229% year-on-year increase in applications looking to buy their way into foreign citizenship or residency.
Cyprus is the most popular option and businessmen and women are securing Cypriot passports– with cash.
But it is interesting to note that these investors are often staying in their country of birth and not moving permanently to the investment scheme country such as Cyprus.
“Most of our clients were not looking to emigrate immediately, they are looking for an alternative, for an option, for if and when,” says John Howarth, owner of the CyprusCitizenship.Asia website.
Cyprus the Passport of Choice
Those clients are acquiring passports or residency rights mostly in, Cyprus. Unlike traditional immediate-emigration favorites such as Australia and the United States.
About 10% of those looking for a second passport is retired, and about half the rest are self-employed. 80% are older than 45, and 85% are men.
The only thing they really have in common is money, it seems.
“We have two types of clients,” says Howeth. “The one is business people who travel a lot and who find visa restrictions extremely limiting and frustrating; they do it simply to obtain travel documents that give them greater mobility, that let them travel at short notice.
“The other type, the big majority, are concerned about the economy or the political situation in places such as the Philippines, worried what the education system will look like 10 years from now or if their children will be able to find work in their home country.”
Most clients already have funds offshore, Smit says, and are simply looking to exploit that money to also land a passport, rather than moving lots of cash out of their home country.