Report on Investor Citizenship and Residence Schemes in the EU

Recent years have seen a growing trend in the EU in investor citizenship (“golden passport”) and investor residence (“golden visa”) schemes, which aim to attract investment by granting investors citizenship or residence rights of the country concerned. Such schemes have raised concerns about certain inherent risks, in particular as regards security, money laundering, tax evasion and corruption.

On 23 January 2019, the Commission adopted its Report on Investor Citizenship and Residence Schemes in the European Union, which provides an overview of all such schemes operating in the EU. In the report, the Commission set out concerns about the risks of such schemes. The Report also referred the need for more transparency and effective and independent oversight of the schemes and all actors involved.

The Commission’s report was accompanied by a Staff Working Document and a press release.

Group of Member State Experts on Investor Citizenship and Residence Schemes

Following the report, the Commission set up a group of experts from the Member States to:

  • look at the specific risks arising from investor citizenship schemes;
  • develop a common set of security checks, including risk management processes that take into account security, money-laundering, tax evasion and corruption risks, by the end of 2019; and
  • address the aspects of transparency and good governance with regard to the implementation of both investor citizenship and residence schemes.

The group met on 5 April 2019, 8 July 2019, 2 October 2019 and 11 December 2019. The next meetings of the group will be announced in due course. You can find the agendas for the meetings, as they become available, and further information on the activities of the group here.

Stakeholder consultation

In parallel with the group of experts from the Member States, a targeted and structured stakeholder consultation meeting was held on 16 May 2019 with civil society and industry representatives. Stakeholders were given the opportunity to provide feedback on the issues raised in the Commission’s report based on a list of questions made available by the Commission ahead of the meeting. The agenda of the stakeholder consultation meeting is available here.

A summary note of the consultation, together with a list of participating stakeholders, was made available to the group of Member State Experts and is available here.

Fact-finding study

The Report on Investor Citizenship and Residence Schemes is based largely on a detailed fact-finding study commissioned by the Commission, consisting of four parts: