Citizenship by investment and residency by investment schemes are the latest targets of regulators and advocacy groups, as three reports by Transparency International, the OECD and the Green Party in the European Parliament all highlighted abuses of the programs in both Europe and the Caribbean.
The reports noted various scandals involving “golden visas” and loopholes that allow program participants to potentially avoid tax reporting under the common reporting standard – an OECD initiative that exchanges taxpayer data between more than 100 countries.
Investment migration schemes offer a fast track to citizenship or residency rights and for some countries they are a significant source of government revenues.
A report released by Transparency International and Global Witness last month showed that EU countries received around €25 billion in foreign direct investment in the past 10 years from these initiatives.
The programs typically involve donations to sovereign trust funds, property investments or the purchase of government bonds to qualify for citizenship in a country without the need to have lived there for any length of time.