According to the regulation after Brexit, British nationals will lose their EU citizenship after December 31st, 2020. They will be considered as non-EU citizens from now on. British citizens nowadays consider alternatives to keep their prior privileges as EU-citizens. Golden Visa programs are the easiest ways to do this.
Let’s take a look at them and find out how the process goes.
Visa-free access to the EU countries
Being a residency by investment program, a Golden Visa program allows you to invest in a country and grants you residency and citizenship in return. Portugal and Greece golden visa programs are the two most popular among these programs. Each of these programs requires different periods of stay though. At the end of a successful residency, you can get citizenship as well. In this case, you’ll automatically become an EU citizen too.
Rights to work, live, and study in the EU
According to the UK Office for National Statistics (ONS): “Since the year ending June 2016, there has been a decline in the number of people coming to the UK looking for work, which largely accounts for the recent overall fall in work-related immigration. This is mainly because of a fall in the number of EU citizens coming to the UK looking for work, now at 22,000 in the year ending June 2019 compared with a peak of 82,000 three years earlier … this fall in work-related immigration was seen among all EU groups (EU15, EU8, and EU2).” So, following the decision of Brexit in 2016, it is clear that EU citizens headed for other destinations for work.
In addition to this, the tax rates in the UK are already above the European average as UHY indicates. The “UK taxpayers on the same salary would pay a 46.1% tax rate, less than in Ireland, Belgium or the US, but above the European average tax rate of 44.2%”. This is what their 2019 data indicate.
Considering these circumstances in the UK, Golden Visa programs can be a good alternative for UK citizens. Through this program, they can regain their rights to conduct business, live, and study in any EU country as much as they wish.
Let’s now look at the details of these programs.
Benefits of residency by investment programs
Portugal Golden Visa
- Being one of the most popular Golden Visa programs, it granted residency to a total of 9,340 investors between 2012 and November 2020
- Granting residency in the first place, it offers EU citizenship at the end of five years of successful residency. To achieve this, it is sufficient to spend seven days in Portugal on average each year. Though, the program increased its popularity as Portugal citizenship by investment.
- The Non-Habitual Residence (NHR) program is another plus for foreign investors. It allows them to be exempt from taxation on most of their foreign income for ten years
- The above mentioned benefits are possible at a cost of a minimum investment of €280,000. According to your investment choice, the amount will differ. For example, the investment threshold starts from €350.000 if you choose Portugal Golden Visa investment fund.
Greece Golden Visa
- It offers the lowest investment threshold among other Golden Visa programs. The minimum investment amount is only €250,000 if you buy properties in Greece.
- Tax incentives are other benefits of this program. In fact, a recent regulation for foreign retirees is also available. When a foreign pensioner shifts their tax residency to Greece, they will be subject to only a 7% taxation on all of their foreign income for ten years.
Malta Individual Investor Program (IIP)
- This is a citizenship by investment program. This means that it offers EU citizenship more quickly than other Golden Visa programs. So, if you don’t want to wait for a couple of years to get citizenship, you can consider this option.
- If your priority in investing is business, Malta can be a good opportunity. In Malta, foreign corporations pay only a 5% tax while local businesses have to pay 35% tax.
- At an individual level, you will be exempt from wealth tax, municipal taxes, and stamp duty.
- Malta also holds the 8th strongest passport in the world, according to IATA (International Air Transport Association).
Spain Golden Visa
- Spain is a favorable destination for educational purposes as well. The country offers a great number of schools especially for the international members of the society. So, many investors choose Spain Golden Visa for their children’s education as well.
There are also many pension schemes in the Spanish financial market. Also, it is a great place to retire, located at the heart of the Mediterranean.