More South Africans joining secondary citizenship investment programmes

December 19, 2015, 2:36pm

By Alistair Anderson, Business Day Live
Photo: Sunday Times

MORE South Africans are joining secondary citizenship investment programmes as they seek alternatives to living or studying in SA.

Numerous South Africans have paid hundreds of thousands of rand to attain citizenship of Malta or other countries in order to gain access to the European Union (EU). The Caribbean is also popular.

"We’ve recently been informed that St Lucia, in the Caribbean, is now also offering secondary citizenship investment programmes," George Eid, vice president of Arton Capital, said this week.

"The number of countries offering these programmes in Europe and the Caribbean has literally doubled over the past two years."

He is of the opinion that this growth trend will continue as governments seek more financial investment in their countries — particularly in Europe.

Arton Capital facilitates the process for people seeking foreign citizenship through investment. Candidates pay fees and then invest money offshore, depending on the rules of their desired country.

Mr Eid said Serbia was highly popular. It was relatively cheaper than various other countries in the programme. Many people from developing countries acquired Serbian citizenship through investing in the eastern European country.

Serbia was considered to be a fast growing developing economy. It is expected to join the European Union in the near future.

Portugal is also a popular destination but it is not part of Arton Capital’s programme. One way of acquiring citizenship in Portugal is through buying property in the southern European country. This is admininstered through the Golden Visa Programme. Various estate agencies in SA use the programme. "To date almost 100 South Africans have already bought property through us in Portugal ranging from the required Golden Visa investment threshold of €500,000 to over €1.5m," Pam Golding CEO Andrew Golding said last month.

"Most buyers are looking to the sought-after area of Cascais, referred to as the Portuguese Riviera, and Lisbon, due to many regeneration projects transforming the city," he said.