World’s best residence and citizenship programmes – Malta and Portugal are top

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Dual citizenship recently made headlines in South Africa after Deputy Minister in the Presidency, Obed Bapela commented that dual citizenship may be abolished. Home Affairs Minister, Malusi Gigaba allayed fears by stating that, “no review of dual citizenship was underway or anticipated”.

Wealthy and mobile South Africans will therefore no doubt be interested in a new report, a world first compiled by Henley & Partners, which systematically analyses and benchmarks the world’s best residence and citizenship-by-investment programmes through which a second passport or residence status can be secured.


“With comprehensive listings of the benefits of and the criteria for applications in one place for the first time, it’s the go-to guide for anyone looking to assess and compare the opportunities to acquire a valuable second passport. Malta and Portugal have emerged as the top choices,” says Dale Scorer, wealth manager at AlphaWealth.

Dale Scorer, wealth manager, AlphaWealth

“In our experience of managing the assets of high-net-worth South Africans, we see that generally they don’t actually want to emigrate but rather use this for global freedom, mobility, access and most importantly their ‘plan B’ – as an insurance policy for themselves or their children,” she says.

The Global Residence and Citizenship Programs (GRCP) 2015 Report looks at a broad range of factors to determine which countries are the best for investment and its advantages across immigration law, tax and quality of living.

The GRCP uses objective and scientific methodology to analyse 19 of the most relevant residence-by-investment programs and seven citizenship-by-investment programmes currently available globally.

The GRCP report ranks Portugal top of the residence-by-investment category, and the Malta Individual Investor Programme (IIP) as the best value citizenship by investment option.

In the GRCP, Malta was the clear leader for compliance – the procedures and components with regard to due diligence requirements for profiling the backgrounds of applicants.

The Malta IIP is one of the more expensive options, but once you acquire citizenship in Malta, you have the option of choosing to live, work or study in any of the 28 European Union countries as you become a European citizen.

The world’s best citizenship by investment countries:

  1. Malta
  2. Cyprus
  3. Austria
  4. Antigua & Barbuda
  5. St. Kitts & Nevis
  6. Grenada
  7. Dominica

The world’s best residence by investment countries:

  1. Portugal
  2. Austria
  3. Belgium

Of the 19 residence programs reviewed, Portugal’s Golden Residence Permit Program emerged as the world’s best residence-by-investment program in 2015, followed by Austria and Belgium – for lighter tax burdens, cheaper overall cost, short processing time and quality of processing, and its excellent reputation.

As an added benefit, Portugal’s requirements to qualify for the programme have recently been adjusted – lowering the overall costs. You can now invest in rural real estate to the value of EUR 350 000, or support an artistic production or a natural heritage investment for EUR 250 000, or invest in a small or medium-sized enterprise to the value of EUR 500 000.

The report details the outcomes of the Global Residence Program Index (GRPI) and the Global Citizenship Program Index (GCPI). These two indexes gauge and reflect the relative worth of residence and citizenship programs around the world through a benchmarking process. They analyse a broad range of factors such as immigration law, tax, and quality of life, as well as transparency, risk and compliance issues, from multiple sources to produce an overall global view and ranking of the different investment migration programs.

About AlphaWealth

AlphaWealth offers bespoke investment and wealth planning services for high-net-worth individuals, families, selected institutions and charitable trusts. Established in 2005, the business now manages global assets of R8 billion. It has three offices in South Africa as well as regulated businesses in London, Hong Kong, Mauritius and Malta.

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