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Pandemic strengthened Russian interest in “ Golden Passports”

03.08.2020

During the coronavirus pandemic, wealthy citizens of the Russian Federation became much more actively interested in the possibility of acquiring passports of other states. As The Forbes reports with reference to the international analytical company Knight Frank, now the "golden passports" have fallen in price.

 On July 31, the Parliament of the Republic of Cyprus will vote to toughen the law on granting citizenship in exchange for investment.

THE NUMBER OF REFERENCES FROM RUSSIANS INCREASED BY 20%

“We see an unprecedented boom in Russian interest in programs that allow them to obtain a residence permit abroad,” said Marina Shalaeva, head of the department of foreign real estate and private investments at Knight Frank.

Knight Frank says about an increase in the number of requests by about 20% in March-May 2020 compared to the same period in 2019. Analysts of UFG Wealth Management recorded a comparable surge in interest.

Mainly wealthy Russians are attracted by the passports of Portugal, the Caribbean, Cyprus and Malta. Interest in Cyprus has grown against the background of discounts of up to 30% on real estate, said Ms Shalaeva.

According to Knight Frank's forecast, the growth in demand for "golden passports" will continue in the fall, when countries begin to open borders for foreigners, and potential clients will have the opportunity to view investment objects on the spot.

Part of the demand for a second passport by experts is explained by the free time that appeared during the quarantine and new priorities.

“During the quarantine, many clients focused on personal assets and family matters, including migration issues,” said Nikolay Vargasov, head of the legal department of UFG.

The Cyprus program – tightening is done  

On July 27, the Committee on Internal Affairs of the Parliament of the Republic of Cyprus completed its study of amendments to the law on the granting of citizenship in exchange for investment. They were developed by the Ministry of Internal Affairs after criticism of the country's leadership due to the fact that the scheme of "golden passports" has a high risk of money laundering.

- We have made the Cyprus investment program extremely reliable based on very strict and strict criteria. Some have mocked our program in the past. New regulations exclude such a possibility, Interior Minister Nikos Nuris said on June 10, when the government approved a tightening of the program.

The head of the Parliamentary Committee on Internal Affairs, Eleni Mavru, explained that the new criteria will apply to applicants applying for Cypriot passports after June 19, 2020.

Green Party MP Yorgos Perdikis expressed dissatisfaction that the committee rejected an amendment aimed at increasing transparency - they will not publish the names of persons who have been granted citizenship.

Another proposal, also rejected by the majority of MPs, would lead to the fact that foreign investors would contribute 100,000 euros to the fund for depositors who suffered during the "haircut" of deposits in the spring of 2013.

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