The demand for immigrant investor programs that offer citizenship in exchange for financial investments worldwide is growing, as the demand from China and other emerging economies grows. As more countries set up programs, other countries with long-standing ones are questioning the programs’ economic benefits and are looking for ways to increase their impact, reports the Migration Policy Institute in a new report.
, examines the increasing mix of players and types of immigrant investor programs, their policy design, benefits and other considerations. During the past decade, the number of countries with immigrant investor programs has increased dramatically, and about half of all European Union member states now have dedicated routes. Demand has increased as well, with the U.S. EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa Program, for example, nearing its annual cap of 10,000 visas this year for the first time, after two decades of relatively low uptake.
“Cash-for citizenship” policies have not been without controversy, however, as Malta experienced in 2013. Its plan to sell passports for 650,000 euros (later upped to 1.15 million euros in cash and investments) sparked an outcry in the country — as well as in Brussels, since a Malta passport grants immediate access to EU citizenship.