The Coronavirus within months of its discovery has been causing unprecedented crisis across many countries, affecting many businesses and services, causing a slowdown and CBI/Golden visa industry is not an exception. Several countries have already imposed travel restrictions closing borders citing health crisis.

Any business or services which has human to human interaction will likely to face a slowdown because of the fears of Coronavirus (COV). Likewise digital or online services will face a boom.

What impact coronavirus could possibly have on the citizenship by investment industry?

The CBI/RBI industry also is expected to face a slowdown in and the impact will be felt in the coming weeks.

Essential service such as due diligence reports, passport delivery, business trips, events and conferences may be disrupted. Immigration and citizenship offices likely face a shutdown issuing visas or passports for applicants.

Governments may well take new measures to further simplify CBI regulations, for example filing applications completely online and excluding personal visits.

1. Asia market

Asia is known to be the powerhouse pumping the $15 billion investment migration industry, as the industry significantly depends on chinese investors. With the large number of chinese wont be able to travel due to lockdown, applications for CBI and golden visa schemes may fall drastically.

2. Events and Conferences

The Coronavirus may force CBI events and conferences into online streaming or through webinars avoiding any human to human contact.

3. Due diligence and Banking

Due diligence firms conducting background checks in countries with coronavirus (eg. china, egypt) concerns may experience significant delays in providing risk reports to Government. This process already takes 2 months and expect widespread delays.

Banking transactions may also see some delays to receive payments. In the event of epidemic, banks may face shortage of employees causing delays in AML checks received through correspondent banks.

Should the banks fail, bitcoin and cryptocurrencies will see a huge surge and boom in usage, as these networks are able to function independently without any single point of control. Remember we also launched citizenship coin way back in 2018 for CBI industry.

4. Global Recession

The markets around the world will feel the pinch of recession and investors will be cautious investing their money. Travel and tourism will have the most impact.

5. Travel and Visa restrictions

The travel and tourism industry is one of the world’s largest industries with a global economic contribution of $7.6 trillion dollars in 2016. The corona virus is already causing a huge slowdown in Asia with falling revenues for all businesses connected the travel and tourism industry with major airlines refusing to fly passengers to infected countries.

As the virus spreads its tentacles, more countries may impose more visa restrictions to contain the virus. This is expected to last for months.

6. Real Estate

The Chinese are the top investors in the golden visa schemes running in Portugal, Greece, United States, Canada and Ireland.  Expect a widespread slowdown in real estate market in these countries. Since a personal visit required to complete land registration formalities and applying for residence permits, clients from asian countries that are on lockdown wont be able to travel and complete the formalities.

7. Wealth decline

The slump in global markets worldwide may cause wealth to decline in Asia and other countries. This will have an indirect impact the number of HNW families applying for citizenship and golden visa schemes. For example Australia has the most attractive permanent residence program targeted at wealthy investors who invest atleast $1.5m in Australia.

Likewise Quebec and EB-5 may well see a slowdown in investments from Asian markets (eg. South Korea, Vietnam, China including Hong Kong )

8. Business Travel

Agents and companies who promote citizenship and residence immigration schemes wont be able to travel to promote their businesses because of the fear and chaos caused by corona virus. Likewise passport clients wont be able travel freely to enjoy their visa free benefits with their new passport.

9. CBI/Golden visa Programs

All citizenship by investment programs that impose a personal visit or residence requirement (eg. Malta, Cyprus, Bulgaria) will face drastic fall in applications and will struggle to attract investors.

On the other hand CBI programs that have no personal visit requirement (eg. St Kitts, Grenada, St Lucia) to acquire passports likely to be less impacted by the corona virus.  It may be even possible there will be increase in demand and interest for these programs.

Oaths can be taken through video conferencing in front of government officials. There is a possibility that CBI schemes may become even cheaper in fees if the workload is switched completely digital.

Countries that depend on golden visa schemes tied to real estate can expect a slowdown or imminent recession.

10. Logistics

The shortage of employees in the logistics industry due to outbreak, essential services such as passport deliveries, receipt of paper applications will see delays and slow deliveries.

To mitigate this effect CBI units must switch filing applications and issuing approval letters fully online.

Unfortunately, the Passport technologies is still lag behind (we depend a lot on paper passports) , it is only a matter of time, passports go fully digital through mobile app. Nano technology for passports will be the future.

11. Employee shortage

The outbreak may result in shortage of employees for many firms involved in the immigration industry.  Employees will be forced to work from home impacting services provided to clients.

12. Dual Citizens

Dual citizens who are already passport holders with CBI schemes, unless you travel or transit through china, you will be permitted to enter CBI countries, but failing corona test, you will face quarantine.

Keep a close eye on visa and travel restrictions.

 

The bottom line is for the investment immigration industry to survive the outbreak of corona virus, any face to face human interactions must be avoided, switching all services completely to online.

What do learn from the Coronavirus?

Have you heard the old saying Health is the most important wealth? We are learning a health lessona, a hard way from the COV outbreak. It all goes down to “nothing is more important than health”