A year farewells

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Wednesday, December 26, 2018

By: Muhannad Samara, RCIC
December 26, 2018


The immigration terrain has experienced considerable turmoil in 2018. Brexit fears and the UK’s proposed immigration policies, the global views on citizenship by investment programmes that are gaining momentum  and getting louder by the day and finally the global economic slowdown, which has hit markets towards the end of the year, has not helped improve sentiment.

Canada has announced an ambitious immigration plan for the coming 3 years, that is expected to bring in around 1 Million immigrants. We are yet to see how the department of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada plans to achieve this target with their current capacity. Provincial nominee programmes in Canada are now geared towards the commencement of business operations prior to the granting the nomination and the Permanent Residence Status, a step undertaken to ensure that immigrants actually fulfil the promised they made to provinces. Skilled Worker programmes without employer support are quickly fading. Australia and New Zealand have not offered any loosening of their immigration policies to the general public this year.

The United Kingdom has suspended its Tier-1 Investor programme, the Tier-1 Entrepreneur visa programme is experiencing unprecedented delays and scrutiny on applications and applicants.

Malta’s Immigrant Investor Programme is witnessing processing delays and is being frowned upon by the EU and some none EU countries.


Cyprus citizenship by investment (recently changed to Cyprus Investment Scheme) was the least impacted by global pressures and EU mandates. The programme witnessed an infinitesimal change to its rules on July 1, 2018.

Portugal’s Authorization for Residence by Investment Activity continues to receive clients but the processing capacity at Potugal’s SEF department remains troublesome and a hindrance to many from applying through this programme. A first-time issuance of an ARI permit requires in the range of 8-10 months and a renewal of an ARI is expected to take up to 7 months.


Planning ahead

In a rather dynamic and abruptly changing industry, immigration / citizenship or relocation is an initiative that requires analysis, poise and a quick decision by an applicant. It has become a daily encounter at our practice, to receive enquiries from individuals who have previously sought counsel but have not embarked on the processes recommended to them at the time, asking to start their immigration / citizenship or relocation today, yet, due to the changes in the conditions, the enquirer is no longer eligible. 

Children are no longer dependent, financial criteria has changed, programmes suspended, residence obligations have become more severe, language requirements increased; all updates to existing rules that would make it harder for applicants to acquire what they were once able to acquire more easily.

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