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MarketScreener Homepage  >  Currencies  >  Euro / British Pound (EUR/GBP)    EURGBP   

EURO / BRITISH POUND (EUR/GBP)

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Wealthy Britons step up citizenship shopping

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09/25/2020 | 11:28am EDT

With less than four months to go before UK passport-holders will likely lose their rights to freedom of movement across the European Union, the number of British entrepreneurs looking to "buy" EU citizenship has sky rocketed.

It comes as prospects of a post-Brexit trade deal darken.

Investment immigration firm Astons said it had seen a 50% year-on-year increase in interest in obtaining Cypriot citizenship this quarter.

Interest in Greece was up around a third.

Rival Henley & Partners also reported a rise in requests for advice on investment migration to Malta, Portugal, and Austria.

Citizens of certain Caribbean sovereign states, including St. Lucia and St Kitts & Nevis, also enjoy preferred access to the EU.

The director of Henley and Partners told Reuters, "This isn't about tourists. This is the UK high net worth community that have a constant need to travel to and spend significant time in the EU".

But there such schemes could have a dark side.

The European Commission is looking at possible steps to curb EU states selling passports and visas to wealthy foreigners.

It's concerned about organised crime groups and money laundering.

Getting Cypriot citizenship takes six months and requires a minimum property investment of 2 million euros, or 2.3 million dollars.

The programme has been a hit with Russians, Ukrainians and, more recently, Chinese and Cambodians.

Reuters reported in December that some donors to Britain's ruling Conservative Party had sought citizenship on the island.

This week Cyprus's audit office said that thousands of passports could have been granted without proper authorisation.

The citizenship-for-investment scheme has come under scrutiny both in Cyprus and in the European Union.


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