Golden visas' or 'golden passports' usually refer to specific residency or citizenship by investment schemes. These schemes are developed by countries seeking to attract wealthy people looking for a new residence and/or a second passport.

These schemes are situated at the crossroads between two needs from: (i) governments and (ii) UHNWI

  • In the aftermath of the global 2007-2009 financial crisis, many countries, developed these schemes to boost their weakened economies.The Covid-19 crisis has pushed cash-strapped governments to refine their programs to make them more transparent and attractive to potential customers.
  • UHWNI are far more conscious to maximise their lifetime with their family. Instead of acquiring products that signal status, they are securing services that provide higher cultural capital, safety, comfort, and the best quality of life.

Our review on EU schemes

Based on our literature, and the dedicated 2018 EU report, there are four main criteria to consider when choosing a residency/citizenship schemes: MOBILITY, TAX, INVESTMENT and ONBOARDING.

The schemes that are the most accessible and that at the same time grant the most rights: Currently those operated in Bulgaria, Cyprus, Estonia, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Malta and Portugal.

The COVID-19 has pushed EU countries to review and adjust the attractiveness of their own schemes(Greece for example). However, these schemes are reassessed by the European Commission. The European Commission is scrutinising the potential misuse of these schemes: some countries might not be able to comply with their own scheme.

At Kensington & Sharp, we are investigating two programs for our client base:

  • Portugal: the country is still one of the best and safest countries in which to live and invest.
  • Greece: the country is about to relaunch its schemes. They have updated and improved part of the scheme.

Luxury is not only based on tangible assets, it covers other intangible aspects, such as the capacity for families to obtain the best education and healthcare services, to round up a comfortable retreat experience overall.

The second passport or alternative residence is part of what Family Offices should handle to to support the families they follow. This "hospitality" pillar is critical to help UHWNI from the lifestyle options they may pursue.

Some recommended references: