In recent years there has been a growing trend amongst the most wealthy and mobile members of society. That trend has been an increasing level of internationalisation that in many ways has mirrored the globalisation of major businesses.
The trend makes a great deal of sense. The highest level of investors, owners and executives of international businesses now oversee operations that span continents or the globe. To do that, they need to travel extensively and the more they travel, the wider their own perspectives will likely become. Thus, the desire to expand into new markets seeking growth or diversification that they discuss at boardroom and operational levels has been transferred into their personal lives.
On the one hand, a pied-a-terre in Paris sounds lovely, but once the whole world is open to you, is that really where you will seek a second home?
For many members of the global financial and business elite, they make these choices partly for lifestyle reasons, but also with an eye on the financial, fiscal and freedom elements as well. This has meant that residential property prices in many tax havens have risen strongly as a second homes in low or no tax jurisdictions have become popular. We can only imagine that once an annual tax bill moves into the millions it seems ever more appealing to find legal ways to lower it.
Selecting a new country to become resident in can be a very tricky problem to solve for the wealthy. For the rest of us, we go where we want to live and can find a job or a good business opportunity. If those restrictions are removed, the world truly becomes your oyster.
We spoke to Mark Hyzler, a lawyer specialised in residency and naturalisation at Maltese law firm GVTH. He explained that for many people, countries in the European Union are the goal, because the travel and lifestyle benefits that can come from being part of a Schengen member country.
Taking this one step further are people searching for ways to add a second citizenship. Naturalisation can be a complex process, but it can have very clear benefits if your current passport has travel or financial restrictions applied to it. In this arena, A European Union passport is almost always the most desired goal. While there are many wonderful countries in the world, there are many passports that are a genuine burden to travel with. In contrast, an EU member state passport provides visa free travel to most of the world.
There are many wealthy individuals from around the world that view an EU passport as a means for their children to study in European universities, for their families to live in safer and more stable environments than they currently find themselves and while global uncertainty remains – which it always will – it looks as though there will always be people looking to improve their circumstances by diversifying their lives internationally.