The Commission has frequently and consistently raised its serious concerns about investor citizenship and residence schemes and the inherent risks they pose.
According to the Commission investor residence schemes raise inherent security, money laundering, tax evasion and corruption risks for Member States and for the EU as a whole. Russia’s aggression against Ukraine has once again underlined these risks.
Some Russian or Belarusian nationals who are subject to sanctions or are significantly supporting the war in Ukraine might have acquired EU citizenship or privileged access to the EU, including to travel freely in the Schengen area, under these schemes. To address these immediate risks, the Commission is also recommending that Member States assess whether citizenship granted under a ‘golden passport’ scheme to Russian or Belarusian nationals on an EU sanctions list in connection to the war in Ukraine should be withdrawn.
The European Commission recommendation stresses furthermore that:
- Any Member State still operating investor citizenship schemes needs to terminate them immediately.
- The Member States concerned should carry out assessments in order to determine whether citizenship previously granted to Russian or Belarusian nationals subject to sanctions or significantly supporting the war in Ukraine should be withdrawn.
The European Commission asks Member States to:
- Establish and conduct strict checks before issuing any residence permit by investment.
- Immediately withdraw or refuse the renewal of the residence permits granted under an investor residence scheme to Russian or Belarusian nationals who are subject to EU sanctions in connection to the war in Ukraine, following an assessment.
- Suspend the issuance of residence permits under investor residence schemes to all Russian and Belarusian nationals.
Click here for the recommendation of the European Commission.
European Commission report on investor citizenship and residence schemes
Click here for the European Commission report on investor citizenship and residence schemes in the EU, 23 January 2019. This report mapped the existing practices and identified certain risks such schemes imply for the EU, in particular, as regards security, money laundering, tax evasion and corruption.