With just 10 weeks to go until the 31 October
2019 Brexit deadline, British travellers are becoming increasingly
concerned about the potential decline in their passport power.
Hard Brexit, soft Brexit, no deal, or even a
second referendum, could all result in radically different and
largely unpredictable implications for British passport holders,
from the ease of doing business and travelling abroad, to the
ability to live, work, and study anywhere in the EU.
Over the past 14 years, the UK has consistently
held one of the top five places on the Henley Passport Index.
However, with its exit from the EU now imminent, coupled with
ongoing confusion around the terms of its departure, the UK's
once-strong position looks increasingly uncertain, with the
British passport falling out of the top five on the global ranking
for the first time in July this year.
Dr. Juerg Steffen, Chief Executive Officer of
investment migration firm Henley & Partners, said they have seen a
200% increase in British nationals applying for residence and
citizenship-by-investment programs over the past two years.
have seen a significant spike recently in enquiries about
investment migration options from both Brits as well as Hong Kong
high-net-worth-individuals (HNWIs)," said Dr. Steffen. "As most private wealth
managers will tell you, affluence alone is not a guarantee of
personal and financial freedom and security. This might not have
been intuitive for British HNWIs who have thus far enjoyed the
luxury of possessing bulletproof citizenship, but for HNWIs from
less stable jurisdictions, the idea of managing your risks and
creating opportunity through alternative residence and citizenship
is well understood."
For British HNWIs without the ancestral
connections to join the well-documented spike in German, Irish,
and other European citizenship applications, there are numerous
options available. For an investment of between EUR 1 million and
EUR 2 million, Malta and Cyprus offer the most popular
citizenship-by-investment programs in the EU at present. Along
with the majority of other EU member states, they both also offer
residence-by-investment at a lower price point. The Portugal
Golden Residence Permit Program and the Greece Golden Visa
Program, where the minimum investment in property begins at EUR
350,000 and EUR 250,000, respectively, are also increasingly
popular and include the opportunity to apply for full citizenship
after five years.
Dr. Steffen points out that many residence and
citizenship-by-investment programs around the world include this
real estate option that enables investors to include a property
purchase in their application.
"With the real estate market in
Europe currently flourishing, acquiring property-linked
citizenship or residence is a safe and sensible investment.
Investment migration programs have an inbuilt volatility hedge, in
that there is a wider value equation that is separate to the
standard real estate metrics — everything that comes with enhanced
mobility. It remains an affordable and viable means of mitigating
the risk factors on every side of the Brexit debate," he said.