The European Commission has presented a ‘Report on Investor Citizenship and Residence Schemes in the European Union’ on 23 January 2019. Becoming citizen through investment is also being referred to as the ‘golden visa’. Investor citizenship schemes are a new form of naturalisation that systematically grant citizenship based on an investment.
According the European Commission the investor citizenship schemes create a range of risks for the EU Member States and for the Union as a whole: in particular, security risks, risks of money laundering and corruption and tax evasion. Such risks are exacerbated by the cross-border rights associated with citizenship of the Union. These schemes designed to encourage the super-rich to invest in return for residency rights or citizenship pose a danger to the continent’s security, according the European Commission.
To address these risks the Commission will set up a group of experts from Member States that will work to address the specific risks posed by investor citizenship schemes. The Commission will monitor wider issues of compliance with EU law raised by investor citizenship and residence schemes and it will take necessary action as appropriate.