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“Migration by Investment” in the Era of Deglobalisation

Societies and economies are experiencing tectonic shifts to the scale caused by a world war. In the past two months, job losses could well have exceeded 500 million people globally with 36.5 million people having lost their jobs in the United States alone. Leading economists are projecting a 30 to 40 percent reduction in US GDP for Q2 2020. The y-axis on economic graphs have been recalibrated – such is the bleak and grim outlook for the world.   The United Nations has warned over 1 billion informal workers face poverty. 

Societies and economies are experiencing tectonic shifts to the scale caused by a world war. In the past two months, job losses could well have exceeded 500 million people globally with 36.5 million people having lost their jobs in the United States alone. Leading economists are projecting a 30 to 40 percent reduction in US GDP for Q2 2020. The y-axis on economic graphs have been recalibrated – such is the bleak and grim outlook for the world.   The United Nations has warned over 1 billion informal workers face poverty. 

Societies and economies are experiencing tectonic shifts to the scale caused by a world war. In the past two months, job losses could well have exceeded 500 million people globally with 36.5 million people having lost their jobs in the United States alone. Leading economists are projecting a 30 to 40 percent reduction in US GDP for Q2 2020. The y-axis on economic graphs have been recalibrated – such is the bleak and grim outlook for the world.   The United Nations has warned over 1 billion informal workers face poverty. 

The largest destruction of capital will take place in the emerging markets and will be under-reported in the world’s press until civil unrest is rife. The Global Financial Crisis of 2008 and its aftermath will be remembered fondly by comparison.  

Marrying the current economic disaster with the resurgent trend of popularism over the past few years, the inevitable result is deglobalisation.  In the past 4 weeks, bail-out after bail-out has shaken the foundations of free-market economic theories giving way to intertwined public and private sectors. Governments are demanding companies and supply chains come home. And all of this in three months without a single gunshot. Simply unimaginable.  

A few weeks back, in my first piece in this series, I made the case it was premature to draw conclusions on the near- to medium-term outlook for the citizenship by investment industry or a particular country’s offering. As the ashes of the COVID-19 crisis begin to settle and we believe once again the world will continue to turn, some discernible patterns are emerging for our industry and market participants. 

Globalisation has been bowled out and is walking back to the pavilion. It will return but not in the foreseeable future. For our industry, this means that visa-free travel will no longer be a primary consideration in an investor’s citizenship by investment decision matrix. It is still a required minimum, however, if visa-free travel is the only advantage a country’s offering has. No amount of discounts or special offers will re-create the demand enjoyed over the past period until globalisation returns to the crease. After a glorious decade, it will be hard for many to come to terms with this.  

During this lockdown, I have interacted daily with scores of high net worth investors across the key emerging markets. They are mostly aligned in outlook. They fear political instability and serious civil unrest as poverty strangles their societies; from an economic perspective, their businesses have been forced onto the sidelines by their government’s public health response. 

For some, difficult yet sensible decisions are being taken to liquidate these businesses and start afresh in pastures new; typically in the United States or established European economies. They are encouraged by the governmental support these established economies have benefited from and do not wish to find themselves in yet another emerging market economic collapse with no safety net as they approach their silver years.   

Others, with very substantial, globalised businesses, seek to establish an additional physical presence in the United States or Europe to combat deglobalisation and weave themselves into the fabric of society in their consumer markets. Both groups of investors will invariably require a second citizenship that provides access and residency in the United States or European markets. Visa-free travel is a secondary concern.  

Grenada, with unique E2 USA access, and Cyprus, providing a gateway to the mature European economies, have emerged as the citizenship by investment destinations of choice in the past few weeks, and will cement their positions in the months ahead. The two countries are distinguished by providing access to different economic blocs (the US and the EU, respectively) and their vastly different price points – Grenada is a mere 10 percent of the cost of the Cypriot option. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Malta, which is a viable alternative to Cyprus. While Malta’s solution merits evaluation, its significant non-refundable government contribution will be a deterrent to many.

The direction of the citizenship by investment industry is clear. Truly high net worth investors will remain the only participants; the mass affluent have been decimated. High net worth clients demand more discernible service and customised solutions from their citizenship advisors.  Professionalism, qualifications, and experience will prevail. The citizenship by investment industry is in the midst of a process of natural selection. Soon, the results will be evident.  

Such is the difference in approach that perhaps it is time for a rebranding that more accurately reflects the phenomenon. “Migration by Investment”, anyone?

Article originally published on: https://www.imidaily.com/opinion/migration-by-investment-in-the-era-of-deglobalisation/

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TEMPORARY MEASURES TO DEAL WITH IMMIGRATION ISSUES DURING THE NATIONAL LOCKDOWN

The Department of Home Affairs wishes to outline temporary measures which are in place to address immigration matters during the lockdown period.

The temporary measures were introduced after President Cyril Ramaphosa declared a national state of disaster on 15 March 2020 and, subsequently, a national lockdown from 27 March, extended until end of April 2020, to contain the spread of COVID-19.

Visa concessions listed below apply to those with visas which expired from 15 February 2020, unless a person has proof that he/she had already submitted an application for a visa extension prior to 15 February 2020 and the outcome is pending.

These temporary measures will remain valid until 31 July 2020 unless extended officially by the Department. They apply only to foreign nationals who have been legally admitted into the Republic.

The visa concessions are contained in the Directions which have been issued by the Department in terms of the Disaster Management Act, 2002.
 
EXPIRY OF VISAS


Holders of temporary residence visas which expired from mid February 2020, who did not renew their visas before the lockdown, will not be declared illegal or prohibited persons.

Any person whose visa expired before or during the lockdown will not be arrested or detained for holding an expired visa.

Those who opt to return to their countries of origin or residence after the lockdown instead of renewing their visas will not be declared undesirable upon departure.

VISA APPLICATION AND ADJUDICATION

During the lockdown, the Department is not receiving or adjudicating applications for visas and for permanent residence permits.

Foreign nationals whose visas expired after 15 February 2020 may reapply for their respective visas or relevant visa exemptions while in the Republic immediately after the lockdown has been lifted. They will not be required to apply for authorisation to remain in the country (Good Cause/ Form 20).

Foreign nationals whose visas expired after 15 February 2020 who had scheduled appointments on dates which fall within the lockdown period should reschedule their appointments to an available date after the lockdown has been lifted.

WORK, STUDY AND BUSINESS
 

People whose visa expired during the lockdown and those who have submitted their applications before the lockdown but their applications are still pending, will be allowed to work, study or conduct business after the lockdown while waiting for the outcome of their applications.

VISAS FOR HIGH RISK COUNTRIES

Visas issued to nationals of high risk countries who were outside the Republic on 15 March 2020 were revoked as per the Directions issued by the Department in terms of the Disaster Management Act, 2002. These visas remain revoked.
 
DEPARTURE OF FOREIGN NATIONALS


During the lockdown, except for cases relating to expatriation initiated by another state, all foreign nationals who are currently in South Africa may not depart.

LESOTHO EXEMPTION PERMIT

Holders of the Lesotho Special Permit have up to 15 June 2020 to submit their applications for the Lesotho Exemption Permit. The Lesotho Special Permits which expired on 31 December 2019 remain valid until 15 June 2020. No new applications will be taken.

EXPIRY OF ASYLUM SEEKER PERMITS

Any asylum seeker whose visa expired from 16 March 2020 to the end of the lockdown period will not be penalised or arrested provided that they legalise their visa within 30 calendar days of the lockdown being lifted.

Media Enquiries:
Siya Qoza, 082 898 1657 (spokesperson for the Minister of Home Affairs)
David Hlabane 071 342 4284 (media manager for the Department of Home Affairs)

Article originally published on: http://www.dha.gov.za/index.php/statements-speeches/1336-temporary-measures-to-deal-with-immigration-issues-during-the-national-lockdown

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Asaria: 6 Characteristics of Citizenship by Investment in the New World Order

Writing exclusively for IMI, Mohammed Asaria, Managing Director and co-founder of Range Developments, argues that it’s too soon to say anything about how this or that program will fare following the pandemic because nobody knows how the world, in general, will fare.

“After hopelessness, there is so much hope and after darkness, there is the much brighter sun” [Rumi]

The past few days have seen a flurry of commentaries here on IMI, which prophesise the demise of certain specific citizenship by investment jurisdictions and the increase in popularity of others. Until the world has meandered through this period of uncertainty, such specific judgments are premature. I am unable to contemplate with any certainty what the world will look like (economically, politically or socially) when we emerge from the challenges of the Corona pandemic. 

The only conclusion that can be drawn at this stage is that, in the intervening period, there will be volatility and stresses across all geographies and all aspects of human life.  

Unable to find more eloquent words to describe the current situation, I borrow from Mr Kissinger’s (Secretary of State and National Security Advisor in the Nixon and Ford administrations) recent opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal [3 April 2020 – The Corona Virus Pandemic Will Forever Alter the World Order]:

“Now, we live an epochal period. The historic challenge for leaders is to manage the crisis whilst building the future. Failure could set the world on fire.”

The Western World is less than three months into the Corona crisis, yet already we have seen more unemployment than at any point in my lifetime; 16 million Americans have lost their jobs in the past three weeks. These massive figures will continue to rise; they justify the trillions of dollars of economic stimulus injected into the US economy required to prevent a wide-scale global economic collapse. 

Every major economy (China is the exception) is in triage-mode and almost all have come to a sudden economic halt. Whilst by no means perfect, the welfare system to which the vulnerable in the developed world have access at least exists. The number of individuals relying on goodwill and state support is unprecedented. A year-on-year increase of 850% in activity was reported at certain food banks in the United States last week. Notwithstanding – though expected – convenience store robberies have become a frequent daily occurrence.   

Investment migration source markets will be the worst hit
The pandemic has yet to fully take hold in emerging markets (where the majority of second citizenship seekers are based). We pray a cure is found before this catastrophe unfolds. If matters continue unchecked, the impact on these economies and societies will be devastating. 

By way of example, a recent Dun and Bradstreet report forecasts the poverty rate in Pakistan in Q2 increasing from 23.5% to 44.2%. Similar projections have been issued for countries across Asia and Africa. There are no established welfare systems for these needy individuals to fall back on. In no time at all, inadequate public healthcare systems will be overwhelmed, food scarcity will become rife and depreciation in emerging market currencies coupled with capital controls is inevitable.  

Emerging-market governments lack the tools required to save their economies with fiscal stimulus. Their botched attempts will lead to hyperinflation and crippling personal taxation on the wealthy. Civil unrest seems inevitable. It would be foolhardy to ignore Mr Kissinger’s words and live in a vacuum of hope. The sun will be brighter provided there is a strategy to navigate the darkness.   

Second citizenship: From luxury to necessity
For the sake of humankind in the developing world, I pray I am wrong and summer will starve the Coronavirus into extinction, in which case I will be guilty of unintended scaremongering and glad to apologize. However, given no one has a crystal ball (least of all high net worth individuals), the worst must be assumed and high net worth families must ensure their families’ destiny.    

The Corona pandemic has crystallized the importance of citizenship by investment as an asset class and it is no longer a luxury for high net worth individuals in these developing economies. It is a necessity. Now is not the time to collect yet another degree in hindsight by deferring this decision any further. League tables of travel bans imposed on certain citizenships (the Chinese passport has secured pole position) are now referred to as frequently as the conventional passport indices that measure the opposite.

The pandemic, whilst cementing citizenship by investment as an asset allocation strategy for the privileged, will also take its toll across the citizenship by investment industry. The middle classes in emerging markets will be all but wiped out and with this will come the destruction of a significant number of potential investors, especially those who are price-sensitive. These individuals are now focused on survival. Discretionary spending has been removed from this demographic’s vocabulary.  

The industry will return to the domain of the privileged. These investors will focus on:

  1. Cost-effective solutions – programs with price points in the millions will lose their allure. This level of capital, whilst available, can be deployed more effectively.
     
  2. Time – programs with lengthy residency requirements before the award of citizenship will simply not work. Efficiency and expediency are required.
     
  3. Protection from predatory taxation (perhaps citizenship-based) from an investors’ state of origin – this is also closely intertwined with the previous paragraph
     
  4. Protection of civil liberties – high net worth individuals in certain countries are extremely concerned that technology (now that it has been shown to exist) will be used to infringe on their legitimate activities by certain states in the post-Corona world and second citizenship may provide some form of protection against over-reaching home states.
     
  5. Access to a substantial economy – the Corona pandemic has created high walls around the established economies of the world. Will there be a reversal in globalisation?  Citizenship programs from stable (politically neutral) countries that provide access to developed economies – eg., the US (through Grenada or Montenegro via an E2 visa), Southeat Asia (Singapore), Cyprus and Malta (Europe) will retain their attractiveness, especially when a citizenship seeker’s home economy is in a long term depression.Economic migration will become a key decision matrix in the selection of a citizenship by investment jurisdiction.
     
  6. Ability to reside in a country with a first-world working health care system – unfortunately this objective may not be reconcilable with the previous paragraphs.The healthcare systems of Europe and the US have disappointed (of course, they will still fare much better than those of emerging markets) and, as such, a second citizenship may need to be combined with a residency strategy in countries that have fully supported its citizens and residents through these time of stress and provided the highest quality healthcare. 

COVID-19 will create a new order in our industry; time is required for the process of natural selection to be completed. The projected yo-yo prevalence of the disease until a vaccine is developed will create continued stresses on economies. U, V, L, W have all been used to describe the recovery. Arguably, ECG is the correct epithet with second citizenship providing the emerging market high net worth individual the much-needed stent for his survival.

Mohammed Asaria is the Managing Director & Member of the Board of Range Developments. Mohammed graduated from Trinity College, University of Cambridge and practiced law for a number of years in the City of London.  Thereafter, Mohammed joined HSBC in Dubai as an investment banker. Mohammed founded Range Developments in 2011. Range are the developers of the Park Hyatt St Kitts, Kempinksi Dominica, and the Six Senses Grenada.

Article originally published on: https://www.imidaily.com/opinion/asaria-6-characteristics-of-citizenship-by-investment-in-the-new-world-order/

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International Investments with Emigration Benefits

Times are tumultuous, full of uncertainty and unpredictability. Every day brings a new challenge. How do you manage risks in the current economic, social and political climate? For many of our clients, the answer lies in safe international investments with emigration benefits.

For many, the USA is the ultimate dream with its seemingly endless economic possibilities, first class universities for the education of your children and the generous diversity of where and how to live.

If American citizenship is your goal, the EB5-Programme is the perfect solution for you. The base investment is USD 900,000.00. We are working with the developers of the Marriot Hotel Group which ensures that your investment is secure for a five year period within a dollar-based investment, delivering an interest rate of 1.5% per year. During this time, you and your family can enjoy the benefits of an American Green Card and, in time, American Citizenship.

Should you or your family wish to emigrate to the USA in the short to medium term, the E2 Visa would be the ideal solution. Unfortunately, as South Africans, we do not qualify directly, so the first step is to obtain citizenship in Grenada. This requires a minimum investment of USD 220,000.00. We work closely with the developers of the 6 Senses resorts that will invest your money for a five year period.

It is a dollar based investment and while you enjoy the benefits of a second passport and visa free travels, there is also the opportunity to apply for an E2 Visa when you are ready to permanently settle within the USA.

Article originally published in Die Beeld on the 13th of March 2020

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Six Senses’ First-Ever Caribbean Resort Breaks Ground in Grenada

The first-ever Six Senses resort in the Caribbean has officially broken ground on the island of Grenada. 

The new project is the latest by the region’s hottest luxury hotel developer, Range Developments, the company behind the celebrated Park Hyatt St Kitts and the new Cabrits Resort Kempinski Dominica. 

In a statement, Range Developments said the company was “committed to complete the project by November 2022.”

The 100-room resort will be set on Grenada’s spectacular La Sagesse beach. 

“We have achieved this important milestone in a record time,” said Mr Mohammed Asaria, Managing Director and Board Member of Range Developments.

The agreement with Grenada’s government was just signed 10 months ago, Asaria said. 

“[We] feel privileged to be placing our resort on such prime land in Grenada and to be working with Six Senses, a brilliant combination,” Asaria said. “These are exciting times ahead, as we always strive to make a difference in the communities we operate in. The Six Senses La Sagesse, Grenada resort, like all of our developments, will create a halo effect across the country’s economy.”

Six Senses, which is now part of the InterContinental Hotels Group umbrella (IHG purchased the brand last year), is a brand focused on a combination of wellness, sustainability and luxury.

While this project is the first-ever Six Senses resort in the wider Caribbean region, the company has long operated a spa at the Puntacana Resort and Club in the Dominican Republic. 

“The Government of Grenada fully supports and welcomes the work of Range Developments, which has an outstanding record of delivering the finest world class resorts in the Caribbean,” said Dr. Keith Mitchell, Prime Minister of Grenada. “This project will impact significantly on Grenada’s rural economy and it will also offer visitors a more unique experience, given its location outside of the traditional tourist belt.”

It’s another big boost for Grenada’s growing luxury hotel sector, which now includes the recently-opened Silversands Hotel along with another highly-anticipated project, the Kimpton Kawana Bay, set to open its doors on Grenada’s iconic Seven Mile Beach this year.

Article originally published on: https://www.caribjournal.com/2020/02/09/caribbean-six-senses-resort-grenada/