Residence Programs Offer Solutions to Personal Security Risks
The quickening pace of globalization has given rise to a growing demand for greater transparency among financial institutions and tax authorities. In response to this, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), with the support and endorsement of various countries and international bodies including the G8, G20 and central bank governors, has called for the global implementation of its Standard for Automatic Exchange of Financial Account Information (“the Standard”).
The Standard, which was developed as a proactive measure against tax evasion, outlines how financial account information of foreign tax residents may be disclosed by financial institutions and governments to relevant authorities in order to locate untaxed wealth. This would require domestic legislation to be implemented and corresponding country-to-country agreements to be executed.
It is a big step towards a globally coordinated approach to disclosure of income earned by wealthy individuals and organizations. There is potentially however, some risk involved to the security of these individuals and their families once governments begin exchanging sensitive financial information.
For wealthy families who have concerns regarding their privacy, one option is to consider moving to another country where the overall situation is more favorable with regard to security, tax, lifestyle and education.
In Europe, the Portugal Golden Visa Program is an attractive residence option, offering three qualifying investment routes to obtaining residence status through streamlined legislation and an efficient process for non-EU applicants. Portugal is located in the westernmost point of mainland Europe, and is considered very safe with a low crime rate. One advantage of this program is that residence permits can also be granted to family members of a successful main applicant through the family reunification procedure.
In Asia, the Singapore Global Investor Program (GIP) and Malaysia’s My Second Home Program (MM2H) both offer significant attractions and benefits to those able to diversify their lives and assets.
Singapore is considered one of the world’s best places to live, and is frequently voted as the top Asian city to live in, due to its excellent infrastructure and public services. It is also one of the wealthiest countries in the world measured by GDP per capita. Its GIP allows investors and entrepreneurs to apply for a permanent residence permit.
The MM2H meanwhile, has accepted more than 27.000 applicants since its inception in 2002. Malaysia is one of Southeast Asia’s most vibrant economies, due to its continued industrial growth and political stability over the past few decades. It is a highly open upper-middle income economy and the third largest economy in this region. Successful applicants and their dependents are granted a 10-year multiple-entry visa. This is effectively a residence permit, enabling the successful applicant and their family to live in Malaysia.
Most investors searching for alternative permanent residence are motivated beyond money, instead looking to invest in countries from a family, social and cultural perspective. Residence-by-investment programs can deliver the quality of life and security these individual seek.
(Global Residence & Citizenship Review, 2016)
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