For the first time, the EU Commission has altered investor citizenship and residency schemes in the EU in an effort to address fundamental concerns about tax evasion, EU security, and corruption. The European Commission is presenting a thorough study on this issue for the first time.
Foreign nationals who become citizens of one of the EU’s member states are now awarded EU citizenship. However, each EU member state has the same stance on investor citizenship or residency programmes. As a result, the European Commission decided to evaluate the policy on a more global scale, examining the impact and dangers on the EU as a whole.
In several European nations, persons who make a major financial investment in the state are eligible for residency and citizenship based on the amount invested. Among the various sorts of financial investments are real estate and government bonds.
The European Commission has called for greater openness in the national laws enacted by each EU member state. Many people believe that present systems and regulations exacerbate the issues of corruption, money laundering, and tax evasion.
“GOLDEN VISAS” INVESTOR CITIZENSHIP IN THE EU
The term “golden visas” has become widely used as an international term to describe visas granted in exchange for large investments. This has become a source of worry among EU officials, since anyone awarded national citizenship of the aforementioned nations immediately has access to European rights such as free movement and access to the EU internal market.
The European Commission has considered the following issues of concern:
- Tax evasion
- Money laundering
- Transparency and information
The European Commission has emphasised how, as a result of the aforementioned problems, centralised information such as the Schengen Information System (SIS) is not being used as efficiently as it should be. There have also been complaints of tax avoidance, as some of these schemes are granted preferential tax treatment, and anti-money laundering inspections should be strengthened. This will also help future operations and security systems, such as the ETIAS visa system, that are set to be introduced.
The Commission seeks to enhance oversight of such programmes, given there are 19 EU nations with different systems for investor citizenship and residency.
These are the countries that run similar schemes:
Bulgaria, Croatia, Italy, Cyprus, Spain, France, Estonia, Ireland, Greece, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, and Slovakia are among the countries represented.
Overall, the audit was stated to discover a dearth of clear information on the systems run by various European member states. Following the first report on January 23, 2019, the European Commission seeks to tighten oversight of all residency and investor citizenship programmes.