As I look around the world and news for ideas of new and innovative business models, something has come to my mind often.
The model is neither new, or innovative, which is why it comes to mind – because the proponents use those words to describe their schemes every time!
I am referring to citizenship – or naturalization – schemes. These typically enable wealthy investors from other countries to make an investment (usually called a contribution) in a new country and along with some other criteria they will be able to obtain a passport from the country.
For people that live or were born in dangerous, unsafe, high tax or high risk locations, this can be a very appealing option.
At the time of writing, for example, Russia has been hit with sanctions from most of the developed world because of the ongoing trouble in Ukraine. If you happened to be a very wealthy individual in Russia with a family, getting some of your money and your family out might be an attractive idea.
There are a number of competing options – the market is getting crowded as governments struggle to raise money. Perhaps the most interesting citizenship scheme is from the tiny EU member Malta. More and more EU member states are bringing competing schemes to the market, but there may be few that compete with the designed to succeed Maltese scheme.
Applicants (in all the respectable programmes) need to pass some security tests, make full applications, become resident in the new country, prove that residency by renting or buying a residential property and making some form of “investment”. This is citizenship by investment after all
In some countries that investment requires starting a company that creates local jobs. In other places it means buying government bonds. In others it just relates to the contribution to the host country. Whatever it is, it is based on ability to pay and not talent. It is presumed that people with the ability to pay these prices also have some talents!