[ HTJ Podcast ] LIVESTREAM – RESIDENCY & CITIZENSHIP BY INVESTMENT – 9TH SEPTEMBER 2021

VOICEOVER:

This podcast channel it's about you, successful international entrepreneurs, successful ex-pats, successful investors. Sponsored by HTJ.tax

DERREN JOSEPH:

All right, Jason. Good to see you. Thanks for sharing some of your precious time. I know you're very, very busy guy. So please, can you introduce yourself to those who don't already know who you are?

JASON PHILLIP:

Sure. Well, thank you for having me here, Derren. And it's most appreciated for this opportunity to go over these details. My name is Jason Phillips. I'm the deputy CEO of Citizenship and Corporate Services. And what we are really is a bespoke immigration service and, and law firm that deals primarily with immigration to the Caribbean. So, we don't only deal with the relocation, but we help you get the citizenship and the planning around making the best use of that citizenship. So, we specialized in the Indonesia, Caribbean passports as well as Vanuatu passports.

DERREN JOSEPH:

Okay. Can you give us like a general overview as to what each of those programs entails?

JASON PHILLIP:

 Sure. So, it's good to start at the basis is what citizenship programs, okay. Citizenship programs are in essence, a developmental tool for the government to use, to expand the economy, to bring foreign investment into the country while being for other persons, to be able to become a citizen of the country without having to go through some of the normal pathways that you would expect having to live in the country or spend time there or have significant presence. Okay. So, citizenship by investment allows a person to make an investment either in real estate to the country, by a project typically worth over $200,000 or a onetime donation directly to the government to obtain citizenship.

And currently in the Caribbean, there are five countries that allow this option. Okay. So, there are Dominica and Antigua and Barruda, Grenada, St. Kitts, and St. Lucia. So those five countries, they all have active citizenship by investment programs that are geared towards global investors looking to bring foreign investment primarily into the country as a way to supplement tourism income and other export income. And also, as a way to build up the country, increase a real estate, increase social assistance via government programs, and just in general, improve the infrastructure and the lifestyle of the inhabitants of the locals.

Okay. So that's what they are in a nutshell. So, we can start from the oldest program, which is a Nevis program, really, it's the platinum standard in citizenship by investment programs and has been running since 1984. I think it has two pathways that are very well-defined to get a citizenship. It's the donation option to the government and the real estate option. So, what most people are interested, a lot of people do real estate, but right now the donation is on sale. You can say it's on sale, it’s been discounted due to COVID. So, you can now make donation a of 150,000 to the government for a family of four persons and get the citizenship.

But it's not as simple as paying the money and anyone can get citizenship. It's actually a rigorous process that involves, background checks by due diligence companies, law enforcement agencies, both regional and internationally. So not everyone is automatically accepted because they have the money. There is a vetting process done by each government. So, for example, St. Kitts and Nevis, the typical time for the processing of an application is three months. So, you submit the application to the government, and you expect to get a response from the government within 90 days, either you will get an approval letter or if there are inquiries or is the information I need to be clarified by the government, they will provide you a letter to, to basically say, can you please provide us more details?

Now, those, those programs and the due diligence is not only done in the Caribbean like I said, but also in the home country of the individual. So really, there's a rigorous check to make sure no criminals or anyone of dodgy character or reputational risk is allowed into the country. And all of the programs, all five of them, hold up a very, a very high level and high bar to their due diligence. So, it's something that we're actually very proud of in the Caribbean that we can be sure that people who are granted, our citizenships are number one, a good fit for our country, but will uphold the international image and reputation of the country.

So, the St. Kitts program, it's something that is really, and truly one of the most popular in the Caribbean because it's been around the longest, people know about it. And the government has a very mature process for the program. So, we get a lot of inquiries for St. Kitts, especially out of the Middle East and Asia, because people think St. Kitts is also a very tax efficient, you know, St Kitts being one of the only countries in the Caribbean who has no income tax. So naturally if you relocate to St. Kitts, if you become tax resident there, your personal income worldwide is not taxable. There's corporate tax for businesses being operated from St. Kitts or in St. Kitts, but on a personal basis, inheritance tax and gift tax income worldwide are completely exempt. So, the St. Kitts program provides a good vehicle for people looking to structure their taxes or, or even someone just looking, you know, to diversify the business holdings, how to set up a trust, where to set up a trust and St. Kitts always come up as one of the top jurisdictions.

Another program we have, which is one of the newer programs in the Caribbean is the St Lucia program, the St. Lucia program. It started in about 2015, and there are similarly two routes to citizenship like St. Kitts, but there are a couple of extra routes in St. Lucia. So, Saint Lucia, they allow you also to do enterprise development. So, if you want to come to a large infrastructure project in the Caribbean or in the island, specifically, the government will work with you and see how that can fall under the citizenship program and a fourth route, which is a very, very attractive right now. It's actually super attractive for investors, people who are looking to get the best bang for their buck in terms of citizenship investment is the COVID bond. So historically you need to invest 500, 550,000 with the government to get sovereign bonds.

Non-interest bearing get citizenship, and they will be refunded within five years. However, due to COVID, the government has reduced the price of this bond to $250,000. Meaning anyone who qualifies under the program will invest 250,000 now, there's about 50,000 in other government-related fees to be paid. Once that entire investment is made, right or obtain citizenship and within five years, the government will refund the 250,000 principals into interest free. So, when you look at the lifetime of disinvestment, it's actually the lowest overall cost of getting a passport per person for your family in the Caribbean at this time. So, the St Lucia program, we find it, it has been very attractive to persons in the US, Americans have been very receptive to getting solutions second passport via this COVID bond, as well as two Asian investors from China and Taiwan. They have been very interested in this because it is tax efficient. It is cost efficient. It's a very good mechanism to get this second passport. So, it is a special, limited time offer that has been extended until the end of this year. So, until December 31st, 2021, after that, the prices are expected to go back to a pre pandemic pricing.

So, it's a 50% reduction. So, if anyone is looking to lock that in, they need to take advantage in the next three months. Otherwise, you know, you'll be needing to keep a lot more money on the line to qualify.

So, we have three programs left. The next one would be Grenada. Now Grenada is a very good program. It's a little bit more builds itself, a little bit more exclusively in the Caribbean. They have a very high bar for due diligence and a very strong reputation in the market. What Grenada allows you, that's a little bit different compared to the other programs. It allows visa free access to China. So, it's the only one in the Caribbean where once you become a citizen, you don't need a visa to go to China. You can just use your Grenadian passport to go to China. So that is a big plus. And the second plus is it's the only one that affords you the opportunity to apply for an E2 visa and the E2 visa we can get into a little bit later, maybe, but that is basically a pathway to get into the US so it's faster than EB5. It does not lead to permanent residency, but it is something that is attractive to investors trying to get into the US quicker while they're EB5 might be processing, or while they're exploring some other routes. So, we need to offer you that, and they have some very attractive investments, including, you know, five-star hotels or direct donation to the government.

So, the Grenada program offers some perks that some of the other programs do not, but it does cost just a little bit more because again, a little bit more premium due to due to those perks. The other two programs Antigua and Dominica, they're actually both very similar in composition to, to St. Kitts and St. Lucia and Grenada. They all follow the same overall pathway, Dominica and Antigua don't have many extra benefits or cons compared to the other programs. You know, they're just another option to choose whatever fits the investor best.

So, you know, there are certain countries which are visa free for Antigua and Dominica, which might not be for the others. So, people need to look at that on a holistic perspective as to whether this country, this country, or this country, this program of citizenship will fit me the best. So, but one question I always get, which we can touch on briefly is if I wanted to move to the Caribbean, which one do I get? Because I've never been there. I've heard people talk about it. I've seen videos. I can watch YouTube, but how do I know without living in each one? So, the benefit you get is they're all part of the organization of Eastern Caribbean states, meaning that there's a pre movement of people agreement between these countries. So, once you've become a citizen of one country, you automatically have free movement through these other countries and are able to spend time to live, to get to appreciate and enjoy each environment after you've become a citizen. So, you don't always need to make that decision upfront. You can decide what program fits the best, and you make a decision at that time. I think your mic is muted there.

DERREN JOSEPH:

Yeah, my bad. So, we went through the Caribbean and Vanuatu as well. How does Vanuatu fit in?

JASON PHILLIP:

Yes. So, Vanuatu it's at this point, it's purely nation program. It has been about including real estate as an option, but right now it's probably donation and it's not the cheapest program, but it is the fastest, okay.

Vanuatu, you're typically able to get approval within 30 days and get the passport in hand within 45 to 60 days. So, we do the Vanuatu program quite frequently for investors looking for, looking for that quick passport, looking for something that's just going to be a second passport to use for business, to use for restructuring, because Vanuatu is also a tax-free jurisdiction, so, you know, Vanuatu if we don't have the time to wait for a Caribbean passport, it is by far the best option on the market because we get it quickly, it's reliable, and it is a strong passport offering visa free to the UK and EU like the Caribbean passports. So, we do see a high demand for it from persons, just physically who are looking for some passport needed within a short timeframe.

DERREN JOSEPH:

And can you repeat how much is the donation again?

JASON PHILLIP:

So, Vanuatu starts from 130,000.

DERREN JOSEPH:

 130,000, okay, understood. Now I know for some jurisdictions you can go in using the investment route, or you can set up a company and once you are providing X number of jobs or whatever the criteria may be, you yourself, as the entrepreneur, the investor will get permission to live there. Is that possible with the jurisdictions that you've just touched on?

 JASON PHILLIP:

Not, not really. Generally, so, Antigua does have a business development option, and I think they extend all kind, but it's not visioned in that sense of you make X number of jobs. You get, you know, jurisdictions like, you know, Canada and other jurisdictions. They have programs related to that, but the character is more focused, purely on investment. So, you've made a certain amount of money has been invested in the country, but you must get approval with the government on a very specific case by case basis. So, I would not say that that's a common route to citizenship to the Caribbean, but some of the programs do allow avenues to explore that.

 DERREN JOSEPH:

Okay. Understood. And of course, you’re based in Dubai, in the UAE, do you offer, residency, or access to the Emirates as well?

JASON PHILLIP:

 So, we don't do a specific residency in the Emirates. We focus on the Caribbean, but what we do, we do have partners that work that offer offshore business solutions and residency solutions. So, our equities really are investments in the Caribbean.

DERREN JOSEPH:

 Okay, understood. So, in terms of the jurisdictions that we've touched on, which will be, and watched you in the five Caribbean territories, you, you mentioned that Vanuatu is just someone who probably wants a fast solution for, you know, whatever. Maybe there's a big pending sale of an asset or whatever they may need to structure themselves tax-wise or from, you know, with some, haste. And you mentioned that Grenada, one of the USP's for Grenada would be, of course, these are free access to China and E2 route into the US, what about the other four Caribbean jurisdictions? Like what makes them unique? What separates them from the rest?

JASON PHILLIP:

 Again, it depends on what perspective you're looking at it from. I always go back and say that there are three types of people who get these passports. Okay. The first type would be what you just mentioned, the investor, looking for tax structuring, a business structure and wealth structuring that option. So, if you're looking for that, you might look at something like St. Kitts, you might look at it out of a different lens. Okay. Who have weaker passports, and they're looking visa free travel to as many countries as they can, or to specific countries right now. So, someone like that might be more interested in the St. Lucia or an Antiguan passport. You know, the last person is the one who's looking for sort of an insurance policy, one who wants to keep it in the back pocket in case, you know, COVID was a great example of that. And needing one that if that day comes, I need another travel document, a different nationality, or I need somewhere to get up and move my family to live I have option. And so, for someone like that, they might be just more budget conscious. They might say, look, I want to get a second passport at the cheapest price possible, which one is the lowest government donation, just so I have that option. So, in terms of a USP, it depends on the lens that you're looking at it through as opposed to really each program differentiating itself that way.

DERREN JOSEPH:

Okay. All right. So, I guess by, you know, taking that line of thought, we've kind of identified who the ideal client is for each one of those. So, that makes a lot of sense. Now, what I get asked about a whole lot is crypto, and, you know, I'm sure I'm not alone. Everybody who plays in the offshore space, it comes up every day and multiple times per day, in terms of crypto, what jurisdictions from your experience have been quite popular for crypto investors?

JASON PHILLIP: 

So, the most popular by far for crypto investors, there've been two that have been quite popular within our experience. And those are St. Kitts and St. Lucia now. And I can give you reasons as to why St. Lucia, it’s a very good program. It's a premium program. The level of due diligence is very high. So, there's a lot of respect afforded to the solution passport in the world in general, in the banking industry. So, it is very well respected. Now, those in Lucia does have an income tax. If you're not resident there, you're not worried about income tax in St. Lucia, crypto investors have been very happy in St. Lucia, the government in center to the CIU. They do understand the intricacies of it. They have been, you know, very useful and very helpful in without with various crypto investors. They understand, you know, the profile of a crypto investor, where the money is from, they do good due diligence on the source of funds. So we found crypto investors are interested in St. Lucia, but even more so in St. Kitts, because what attracts interesting St. Kitts is a seemingly you know, the no income tax, no tax, concept of no personal income tax to some really overrides what other programs might offer, because it is in their mind, the ultimate benefit which you are looking for, which is how do I structure my assets in a way that I can avoid paying the minimum on capital gains on my crypto? You know, so there's no tax on crypto assets worldwide in St. Kitts. And there's no question. So even if you move to St Kitts and you opened a company somewhere and exchange or trading company, or even just treating your personal name, you're not worried about being taxed on the capital gains on your crypto. And again, it’s government is very, well-versed very well aware, has a lot of experience with crypto investors. So, they to recognize crypto as a legitimate source of funds, you cannot pay the government in crypto, just to be very clear that accept crypto as a form of payment. However, they do accept it as a genuine source of funds.

DERREN JOSEPH:

Okay. Understood. And for those who are listening, and they heard the acronym CIU, I'm guessing that's citizenship investment unit, and St. Lucia?

JASON PHILLIP:

 Exactly. Some of them are citizenship by investment unit or CBIU, it's the same in all the countries. They're the governmental organization that governs a citizenship program.

 DERREN JOSEPH:

Right. So, okay. So, St. Kitts is tax-free. So, it's a great jurisdiction. Not, it's not just a travel document. It may be a jurisdiction which someone would want to spend time as well.

 JASON PHILLIP:

 Exactly

DERREN JOSEPH:

All right. But you mentioned St. Lucia is also popular, but in Lucia, you're going to get taxed. Right. If you would spend time, there?

JASON PHILLIP:

 It depends on how you structure it, how you structured it, where the money is held. It depends on how you structure, it depends on a lot more in Solutia how you structure it compare.

DERREN JOSEPH:

Okay. I understand. And just to repeat, just to make sure that I understood none of the jurisdictions, we've touched on accept crypto as a form of payment for the investment program.

JASON PHILLIP:

 Because the government, none of them, and Antigua had that in the past that did something you were looking into, but as far I'm aware that it has not come on stream to date and yet can or will at this point, or maybe in the future, but at this point cannot be paid incorrectly.

 DERREN JOSEPH:

Okay. Understood. And if someone is like a retiree, you know, they've exited the, they're no longer working. I know you mentioned St. Kitts has zero tax, other territory's territorial tax or worldwide tax.

JASON PHILLIP:

Again, it's on a country-by-country basis, but it's mostly, you know, if you're, you're have income passively in a foreign company, a foreign country, it's not having heavily taxed, but there are the rules and regulations surrounding. If you were to move there, become tax resident that, you know, if it's taxable or not. So again, I wouldn't give expert tax advice on each country. Just the overall general consensus on them is that, you know, St Kitts is generally the most tax efficient, but again, unless you plan to live their full time, getting any of these passports does not put any tax burden on you. And that's something very, to distinguish. So, it's like you become a US citizen where all of a sudden you, now that IRS requirements, no, you get a Caribbean passport, as long as you know, you continue living your life, that you don't have any tax obligations country.

DERREN JOSEPH:

Okay. All right. Well, okay. Let's explore that option then. Ashley living there, which I guess became a reality for many second passport holders when the pandemic was really at its height last year, and the entire world is basically locked down right now, things are like slowly roofing, but last year it's as if there was nowhere to go. And even back to your home, some people, for example, Australia, most famously, you won't even allow back in if you're a citizen. So, in a situation like that, and you want to act to be that plan B which island you want to go to, you know, you have a passport for Vanuatu one of the Caribbean islands. You want to go somewhere, but not somewhere. That's like too quiet where there's absolutely nothing going on, but, you know, there's some sense of community. You can network, you can meet people who have that international perspective as well, which one of those territories would you recommend or speak about?

JASON PHILLIP:

Definitely, you know, again, some have bigger books than others in that way, because these countries also have large universities, which by extension means that not only the students going there, but they're also professors, there’s also houses. They're also people who are associated with the family members that decided to move to those countries after learning about them from their nieces and nephews attending these schools. So, by definition, some of these countries will have larger ex-pat populations than others because of different factors. Such as that, my personal experience having lived in St. Kitts, it's a fantastic option, or generally networking, having a more international experience. You do get a very diverse crowd in St. Kitts. It is the smallest of the countries, which has its pros and cons. One of the pros of being small. It means that it's very easy to get around and to meet people that you network more, you know, whereas one of the cons of being smallest that maybe there's slightly less people to meet, right. But you will find St. Kitts have a good themselves towards being a luxury destination. In many aspects, even starting with the citizenship program, they had attracted very high net worth people that have moved there, lived there. So, you will find a very good network in St. Kitts, but you can also find very good networks in Antigua, Saint Lucia, Grenada, all the countries. But I have a personal, personal experience, personal opinion. I think St Kitts has a really good, it seems like many people have a connection to think it's.

 DERREN JOSEPH:

Yeah, I would guess that perhaps at least partly by tax efficiency of the jurisdiction, that presents a decided advantage. And when the lockdown was at its height last year, I remember just looking at social media and just seeing some, quite a few influencers, particularly in the crypto space, they found themselves in St. Kitts and they were having meetups and they were still exchanging ideas of course, with proper safety and or whatever. But at least there was a sense of community in St. Kitts online anyway. 

JASON PHILLIP:

And also, they did very well during the pandemic. They were able to walk down early and really get a lot of the negative effects that were seen by some of the other countries. They did very well reducing the impact on the local population. And that was really helped again, by investment from the citizenship by investment program. Because even though the country was locked down, travel was not, tourism was not happening, but the program provided a steady source of income for the government, which by extension provided a steady source of revenue and learning to be able to put social programs in place for the people.

So, it's so really, you know, they reacted amazingly well to the pandemic and part of the reason they were able to, and even some of the other countries as well, what because of this program is to provide that revenue that did not depend on having tourists visit as traditionally would have been the main source of income for the country.

DERREN JOSEPH:

 Yeah. So, okay. So, if we look at this in sort of through a wider lens and look at the CBI space in general, obviously it's been subject to quite a lot of criticism from certain corners and the media has a confusing tendency to paint it in a negative light. And perhaps as a result of that public slash political pressure, we've seen some programs disappear or evolve. I'm thinking of Cyprus, which kind of disappeared, and the pressure being put on Portugal as a result, you know, they've made it less attractive than it was previously. And so on. What do you think of that wider trend generally and then specifically, how do you see it impacting your particular jurisdictions in the medium to long-term?  

JASON PHILLIP:

I mean, with any immigration program, you run the risk of a changing, evolving regulations. Tax-wise, banking wise, you know, they're all sovereign countries free to make their own rules and laws. So, you know, with any immigration program, it's always, if you have an opportunity to do it, and it's something you want to do, it's something you should take advantage of in the present is not some delay one year, two years, or five years waiting and hoping it will still be there. It's always something you take immediately. And Cyprus is the perfect example. You know, I know there were many people who had even begun the Cyprus process but weren't able to complete it because the program had shut abruptly, the heads-up was given. And that was it. So, you know, there will always be pressure on the programs politically and internationally, but it's also something that you need to recognize that is not only done by the Caribbean, if they just do it in a different way, where you get a direct citizenship, you know, cycle, you get in the same way, a Malta did it in a similar way. You know, the US ultimately does it in a similar way with EB5 whereas they just give you a residency. And then you know, so the Caribbean understands and appreciates that maybe people can't live there to meet the requirement, needs to be against something that they have to do to make the programs, be able to be sold and be attractive to investors.

And then to therefore reduce the residency requirement as might, you know, might be available, in Portugal or Greece for these spaces where people might actually conceivably kind of, I not to say, you cannot live in the Caribbean, but the markets we're doing business are a lot smaller in the Caribbean times, the access to certain infrastructure, different things are not as available as in larger countries in Europe. So yes, the pressure is always going to be there. I think that I believe the integrity of the programs will be to be kept up by the due diligence standards to make it almost a point in that, you know, if we can let an only quality people to our programs that will uphold the international values that will, you know, not cause a negative influences in Europe or UK with the visa free access, that kind of thing. There's absolutely no reason why the programs can’t continue. And I think there's a very bright outlook for the short to medium, to long-term viability of the program, because they do provide a good economic lifeline. I wouldn't even say lifeline, but a pathway for the government. And once it's managed to do the international standards of due diligence, which it currently is, they're always improving their due diligence, which is very important to note, they really to keep up with the latest international security norms and to get advice from all the agencies they can in terms of improving the programs, because they want to keep the standard and they want to keep the programs, you know, beneficial to the country, beneficial to investors and hosts, happy or beneficial in the eyes of the EU and the rest of the world.

So, I see there's always pressure. Pressure will always come in different forms, especially these smaller countries that have been considered as tax havens, like Vanuatu going on and might be, you know, tax pressures. But these can be mitigated by putting the right policies in place. And I believe the governments are flexible enough and really are smart enough to, to be able to work with their counterparts, to ensure that everyone, you know, meets their objectives.

DERREN JOSEPH:

Okay. Well, what about like the opposite? We were looking at it from the flip side. What about islands aside from those five? Because obviously they archipelago has many sovereign states. Do you think that other territories would jump on board the whole citizenship or residency by investment?

JASON PHILLIP:

 A couple have, have expressed interest. Some of them need come and governments are not forward opposition, governments, others have jumped on a residency. I know there’s a residency program that can happen in Angola and, you know, Barbados jumped on also last year, the pandemic, the digital nomad visa, almost you can call it. So, there's definitely an appreciation of, of what the program can offer the country regionally. But again, some of these countries politically are not able to do it in that there still, you know, departments of maybe France or Netherlands. So, they're not able to do a passport program like Martinique and Guadalupe. So, but you can look at the majority, the overwhelming majority of the smaller, independent states, they either have a program or they have looked into a program.

DERREN JOSEPH:

Okay. So, in terms of up and coming, like, so who's up and coming. Who should we look out to for as perhaps new entrance or soon to be entrance? So, we speculate that we may be seeing some progression from Angola and Barbados? Are they happy with just the long-term visas? And they're going to just stick with that. What do you think?

JASON PHILLIP:

As far as I'm aware? Yes. That's kind of what they're looking at. I don't think citizenship by investment is on the table for them, but it really, it, I don't see new programs coming on stream in the short term, but some of the current programs becoming more attractive and evolving, because what has happened is the pricing of the programs have been reduced to, you can say almost quite affordable levels. They've come down substantially within the past five years. So now they're a bit more accessible to more investors. So, what governments have started doing is expanding also the, the definitions of dependence and the kinds of people that can join an application, to just about two years ago, it was not possible to have a brother or a sister, a sibling as part of your application. All the application, all the countries in the Caribbean have a pathway for, including a sibling in the application, depending on the agent status, we'll see some evolution in the programs in terms of who is required to be, or who can be included in one applicant and will not. So, we will see evolution. Whereas I don't know if we would see new ones coming on stream. That's a speculation.

DERREN JOSEPH:

Okay. Gotcha. And does your firm get involved in like offshore structuring, for example, opening offshore companies in these jurisdictions, making banking arrangements in those jurisdictions as well?

JASON PHILLIP:

 Yes. It's something that we use quite heavily in St. Kitts open option, but it's something now that we have moved away from and focus primarily on the investment part of it, the citizenship part of it. Actually, have a lot of clients that have moved their structuring to the UAE, because there are some very attractive structures there again, or in a Nevis. There are still some very attractive structures in Nevis. So, we do network with partners in individuals about clients, but as a firm, we've decided to purely focus on the citizenship aspect of things and making sure that process goes as smoothly as we can for our clients.

DERREN JOSEPH:

Okay. So, just generally, you know, just really helicopter view, in terms of offshore structuring in the Caribbean or perhaps for Vanuatu as well. Do you see that as less, there's less demand for it than previously? Or has it been steady or is it on the increase?

JASON PHILLIP:

From our perspective? It's, it's been a little bit on the decline in terms of our perspective. You know now, there are definitely companies, in Nevis and sort of are doing good business in that area and offshore in St Kitts has been a little bit of a decline. There have been some new laws and regulations surrounding offshore structures came into effect 2021. So there has been some disruption in the market. So, I would take a little bit of time to see how to put your patients the level out or what the definite trend would be.

DERREN JOSEPH:

Okay. Gotcha. And so if you look at the Caribbean, in general, I remember speaking to someone else in a citizenship space, but this was like last year before, and they were talking about them getting most of their clients from Asia, as opposed to let's say North America is from, I mean, of course this is not statistics or whatever it is anecdotal. So anecdotally, are you seeing a shift in the demand patterns from Asia towards Europe and North America? Or is it still pretty much spread out or what are you seeing?

JASON PHILLIP:

 It is a statistical thing. Also. I see we need has been about 70% of the market for citizenship by investment in the Caribbean. And in general immigration programs have been dominated by China the past year and advantage even a dramatic shift in that. Previously, the US was almost a non-existent market. And you would say North America, in general Europe, it was for a very select group of people in those countries, looking for very specific reasons. You would process, you know, the minority of applications from North America and Europe and the majority from Asia and the Middle East. So, we've seen with the advent of COVID was the demand from Asia has declined, demand from the Middle East has remained fairly steady, but the demand from America has dramatically increased. The demand mainland USA has really, you know, become now a new market. It's a market that has grown extremely quickly. And that's something that caught many people by surprise, but I think it was a favorable combination of factors. You know, there was some political issues, people worried about what, which way the election would go, the issue worried about, you know, the pandemic, how things would go to the pandemic issue surrounding where Americans could travel.

I feel what I've heard from many of my clients is that that image of American invincibility, when it came to their passport has been cracked a little bit because they found that at one point t, their passport could was not much better than most of the worst passports in the world right now. Their very limited they couldn’t use it. So, they realized that even their passport, there are circumstances that would cause them to lose that mobility, that they enjoy, that freedom of travel, that freedom of choice of movement. So, they look strongly into getting that port. So those would fall on and that type of client we discussed about being the more type of client that just, hey, I want to have this for what could happen in the future. And we see a lot more of these clients coming out of the US. I think that with that increase, there's also been an increase in education of the US public of these programs before there was any demand there, very little marketing going on in the US and and public discussion of these programs. But now it's come to the fore. There's a lot more talk about it. People understand it and understand the benefit to themselves, the countries, and it is a viable option. So there has been a big shift in America has not become the largest market, but it's the largest emerging market in these programs.

DERREN JOSEPH:

Okay. So then, you know, that to me it begs the question. So, the decline in Asia, I guess, because of the reality, is that the borders were shut, and it's not just inbound, but in some jurisdictions, you could not leave unless you presented a valid reason. And the validity is somewhat in dispute, but their borders were closed, and they could not leave. So, do you expect that as things gradually reopening and they are like slowly but surely reopening, do you see that it will bounce back up again in terms of demand? And then conversely was the situation in the US, like a knee jerk reaction, and those wanted it now to have it in their back pocket, and you don't expect to see that sustained growth, you know, how do you see both of them continuing in the medium to long-term?

JASON PHILLIP:

Good question? Actually, I think a lot of the decline we saw in Asia was because of the perception of the pandemic as well, that Asia was, seemed to be more safe of a location than the west. So, we had a shift in mindset that why should I get a passport for the west when I'm very happy in it? You know, it's a lot safer normalized surrounding the pandemic. I think we will definitely get increased in demand from Asia, because historically it's been a very big market. So, I'm optimistic that we will see a continued, you know, a rise in demand from there, but in America, I think it's something that is, it's a matter of education because America is a very huge market. You know, the population of America is it's substantial and it's not the population without means. It's a population with means where the investment required are a lot more accessible to a lot of, much larger percentage of the population and many other countries. So, you know, Americans becoming even more aware that this is even an option, right? I think that in itself will help drive and, and at least maintain the status code that has been, you know, attain due to due to the factors that brought it online. But now with the proliferation of, you know, the knowledge that this can happen, and this is a viable option and my uncle has it, my brother has it. My cousin has, you know, it, it now will. The reality, I think that would be, at least can be a little more self-sustaining in the US.

DERREN JOSEPH:

Okay. Gotcha. And so, let's put them back to Asia. So historically, as you mentioned earlier, it's been more Northern Asia, IE China, right. Are you seeing as things evolve that the demand will shift to Southern Asia? So Southeast Asia, like Indonesia, Vietnam, India?

 JASON PHILLIP: 

So, each of these countries face their own challenges. Okay. So, China historically has been the best. The Chinese population is the largest high income or a large number of persons in China have a very high income and not able to afford the programs. Whereas you see countries like Vietnam, historically, they've not been as you know, and not been as resource heavy as China here, you can say, but the past 5, 6, 7, 8 years that has changed. So, you go to Vietnam. Now, a lot of the population are very well off there, you know, there is money in Vietnam able to invest in these programs.

So, the big problem for the Vietnamese market has been one of education. So, 2017, 2018, that these programs were not very well known in Vietnam. So, it's a place that I've been many times, you know, discussing citizenship with various immigration agencies and lawyers there. And even at that time, it was not very well known. So, we've seen an uptick in as an emerging market in Vietnam, and it's been interesting the way it's gone up, but it's something of education in that country, you know, so it's something that people will do, and more people want to do it in Vietnam. But again, it's one of education and, and having the local agents that are there, have they experience the marketing and, and, and having it as an option for their clients. And you also find a lot with these kinds of countries, you know, India, Vietnam, people there, they aren't as worried about where they come from or having a second passport for some of the aforementioned reasons of security or insurance or tax structuring, you know, or visa free travel. You know, Vietnamese generally they can get a visa to travel. People from those regions are more interested in what the future holds for their kids and their locating. So, you will find that Vietnamese, Indians are more interested in a permanent residency in Canada or in Europe or the US, you know, and only there's a minority stake that will want a second passport, because they're more interested in future education, job, you know, family, as opposed to using the second passport as purely an investment tool or travel to, or an insurance option.

 DERREN JOSEPH:

Right. So, in that sense, because obviously China's facing certain demographic challenges, you know, because of it's a formal one child policy and whatever, so demographics are shifting. And so, when you were looking for growth, we're looking really at Southern Asia, but you're saying that because of the cultural and perhaps economic differences, they would be less interested in. Okay. So, in that sense, looking to the long term, it makes sense for the programs in at least in the Caribbean to gradually, I mean, yes, because of the size of China, there will always be some demand from it, but in terms of up-and-coming opportunities, they'll really be looking to North America and perhaps western Europe. Okay.

 JASON PHILLIP:

And you know, to be honest, all it's kind of cliche to say, but every country, okay. So, there’s countries that will dominate your market space and then where the demand will be greatest for certain reasons. But every single country has a person group of people that will need, or can, that can benefit from, you know, advantages of having a second passport from the Caribbean or an investment for a passport. So yes, America, the US, North America, Canada even are very good avenues for growth, but genuinely believe that all countries have that option as well. All countries have a target market that could benefit from having these investments and the second passports. So, it's really, you find a big shift now of Africa becoming one of the new emerging markets, Nigeria, Northern Africa, speaking Africa, central Africa, those countries are waking up to the possibility of the second passports. Those countries have very large populations. Maybe not all of them can afford the passport, but definitely there are large amounts that can make and make good use of it. So, we're finding that a lot of these emerging countries as well, emerging economies are very good jurisdictions. And we see demand shifting among these countries as well. So even if America does not sustain its momentum, right, which is possible or not, but we do have other options. And there are other places that agents are focusing and getting a source market.

 DERREN JOSEPH:

Okay. Gotcha. Last but not least the Middle East. You said the Middle East was a strong market for you, which countries in particular, or is it just as a whole, it's a long tale and you can't really pinpoint any particular market. How does it look?

JASON PHILLIP:

 Well, a lot of the countries are very strong markets like Iraq, you know, but the Middle East in general, because when you think of it faces like the UAE, Saudi, Jordan or Kuwait, there's a very large expat community in the UAE and expats come from countries that traditionally will have a weaker passport. So those are the types of clients that are looking for that mobility. And again, you look at somewhere like the UAE they've come here because they're really good opportunities to work, to develop the business, to earn money. So, a lot of these people moving here have the means for the investment and for the passport. So, you might not find, you know, you can find a big market here up ex-pat. So, from the region and really, so that's what you find. So, UAE is a very big help for the programs simply because it's such a fantastic melting pot of nationalities. And, you know, business-minded people that come here to really take that next step forward in their lives. But, you know, generally, markets such as Iraq, Lebanon, these people also have a large population, but there's some internal issues that cause them to really see the benefit of having that as well. So, it's not, I wouldn't say there's one country or one agency that brings the demand from this region. It's really the region as a whole. And another thing is the education on the projects, the products under the projects as well, investment projects, there it's very strong industry. They have many very experienced agencies in the UAE, Saudi Bahrain, Kuwait. So, they've been doing this for many years, meaning they have been educating the population for many years. Many people have had the passport for several years and by extension their families, their extended families, their friends, they all know someone who's, who's gone through the process. So, they have trust in the process. And that has really, really helped, you know, drive the popularity of the program in this part of the world.

DERREN JOSEPH:

Okay. Wonderful. You know, Jason, you've been a font of wisdom and you've given us a lot to think about, thank you for sharing your time and your insights. And can you say, how can someone reach you to discuss these opportunities? What's the best way to contact you?

JASON PHILLIP:

 Thank you. So, first of all, thank you Derren, for having me, it's really a good opportunity to discuss with you. So, to reach our company, our company's called Citizenship and Corporate Services. Our website is www.ccscaribbean.com. So, the easiest way to reach out to us is via our website. You can also find us on LinkedIn on Instagram, Facebook, but really our website is very informative. You'll find all the information regarding the programs. And you can speak to one about visors directly by WhatsApp by email or phone call. So, if you have any questions, we are here to help and happy to provide any advice.

DERREN JOSEPH:

Okay. So that's great. So that's ccscaribbean.com, ccscaribbean.com, all one word.com. Perfect. Fantastic. Thank you very much, Jason.

JASON PHILLIP:

 All right. Have a good day.

DERREN JOSEPH:

 And I'm going to switch and we're off. Okay. All good. All good. Thank you very much. Appreciate that. Yeah, that was great. I learned a lot. Yeah.

JASON PHILLIP:

Cool, man.

DERREN JOSEPH:

 This is my colleague, Hannah.

JASON PHILLIP:

Ah, hi Hannah. Nice to meet you. I hope I hope this will be beneficial at least to your viewers and you can, again, you know, just promote investment in the Caribbean and we're happy, you know, wherever it comes from the good investors.

DERREN JOSEPH:

Awesome. Great stuff. Thanks for your time. Have a good one.

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