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Published On: Thu, Sep 24th, 2015

Countries Are Competing Increasingly Hard To Attract New Residents

There are many reasons why a person might take the decision to legally change their country of residence. While for most people the reason would be a new and exciting job opportunity in a far away location, that is not the reason for a small, but growing, proportion.

As people rise up through the ranks into the tax bracket of the genuinely wealthy, their desires and needs change. As the worldwide numbers of millionaires and multi-millionaires continues to grow year by year, there is a rapidly expanding market of people that want asset protection services.

One well known way to protect one’s assets is to add some element of internationalisation. This might be as simple as buying a second home in a different country, or it might involve any permutation of trusts, asset managers and tax optimisation. For the super-rich, the Russian oligarchs and oil sheiks of this world, some of the world’s most prime real estate locations have become international investments for some safety and diversity in their portfolios.

Eurozone map photo/Economic and Monetary Union of the European Union wikimedia commons

Eurozone map photo/Economic and Monetary Union of the European Union wikimedia commons

However, there is also a growing market for people that desire to change their personal circumstances. There are many countries in which political instability, for example, makes it very difficult to be and remain a person of wealth and assets. What are these people to do?

The obvious answer is to move themselves and their families, legally, to another jurisdiction. Different countries have different potential benefits, some are more fitting to personal circumstances than others. What is also clear is that some offer more friendly rules for these families than others. These friendly rules might relate to health care, education or many other factors, but a large proportion of expatriates select their new home with their expected taxes in mind.

In fact, depending upon your mother country it can be quite difficult to move and obtain legal residence elsewhere. Countries such as the United States and the members of the European Union have very strict rules and systems in place to prevent people from migrating or expatriating themselves from certain other countries. This makes friendly countries with friendly taxation quite a rarity and provides them with sustained demand.

Within the European Union there are a number of countries that offer advantaged residency schemes to movers. Countries such as Cyprus, Portugal, Bulgaria and the United Kingdom offer some form of faster track scheme.

The latest European Union member state to release a scheme of this nature was Malta with The Malta Residence and Visa Programme Regulations 2015. These rules make it possible persons of wealth to apply to invest in Europe’s smallest member state and reside and remain indefinitely. With this residency comes the ability to travel within the Schengen area – which is most of continental Europe – and all the opportunity that brings.

What is rapidly becoming clear is that persons and families of wealth are desired as residents and investors by countries around the world and that a number of jurisdictions are working very hard to attract them.

Guest Author: Stuart Langridge

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- Outside contributors to the Dispatch are always welcome to offer their unique voices, contradictory opinions or presentation of information not included on the site.

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