By KAREN DEMASTERS, Financial Advisor
Donald Trump may be pushing some wealthy people like him out of the United States.
One indication of some U.S. residents’ desire to flee a Trump presidency was that, as the election results rolled in Tuesday and Wednesday, the Canadian immigration website crashed because of the number of inquiries. But hopping over the border is not the only alternative for the wealthy, according to Eric Major, CEO of the global citizenship advisory firm Henley & Partners, which has offices worldwide. In recent years, many countries have developed programs that provide paths to citizenship through investment.
“The United States is divided and there are a lot of dissatisfied people considering leaving,” says Nuri Katz, founder and president of Apex Capital Partners, a wealth advisory firm with offices worldwide that specializes in relocations for the wealthy.. “But right now it is just people panicking; it is not a serious desire to relocate. It is not easy to sell your house and pack up the children and move. And there is stiff competition to move to Canada. Their immigration quota is already filled without adding those reacting to the election.”
But wealthy people have options that the middle class does not necessarily share. “We are going to see some wealthy people who are afraid of what a Trump presidency will do to the economy, to the markets and to the national debt. They are going to be looking at asset protection”
Speaking from the 10th Global Residence and Citizenship Conference in London, Major says the firm saw a spike in interest among Americans looking for alternative citizenships and residences when George W. Bush was running for re-election in 2004.
“We are seeing a comparable trend emerging now among wealthy Americans who wonder what the next four years will hold,” Katz says. At the same time, “governments are recognizing the significant benefits of attracting global citizens who can make an exceptional contribution to their own economic development and advancement.”
For instance, “both the relatively new Malta and Cyprus citizenship programs give successful applicants the right to live and work in 32 European countries, including the 28 EU member states, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, and Luxembourg. The investment amount is reasonable given the privileges granted, and the application process is quite efficient. There are also numerous prestige residence programs in Europe, including the U.K., Switzerland, Belgium and Austria, and the Investment Migration Program in Canada,” says Katz.
Malta’s Individual Investor Programme was recently ranked as the top citizen-by-investment program in the Global Citizenship Program Index 2016. The program considers a broad range of factors such as immigration law, taxes and quality of living, as well as transparency, risk and compliance issues.
The programs in each country have different investment requirements.