European Parliament vs. EU ‘Golden Visa’ Schemes
Members of the European Parliament from the European People’s Party group have demanded that all EU ‘Golden Visa’ schemes currently being used by HNW individuals around the world be phased-out.
The Concerns – Money-laundering and Tax Evasion
The concern arises from that which is being alleged to be the facilitation of flows of ‘dirty money’ or money-laundering from different parts of the world.
The issue remains divisive because Europe has more recently been exposed by money-laundering scandals in EU Member States such as Estonia, Denmark and Malta, among others.
The Special Committee on Financial Crimes, Tax Evasion and Tax Avoidance (aka ‘TAX3’), recommended measures to address the challenges of financial crime.
Do Golden Visa schemes devalue EU citizenship?
Critics have suggested that Golden Visa schemes only serve to devalue EU citizenship while others have likened these schemes to being a security threat and in particular to the EU Member states which do not have similar CBI or RBI programmes.
€20 billion industry
Citizenship (‘CBI’) and Residency-by-investment (‘RBI’) programmes alike have since become a €20 billion industry. The phasing out of investment migration programmes runs a potential risk of possibly having an adverse effect for many EU Member State economies and their public finances.
Jurisdictions such as Malta, Portugal, Spain and the UK operate variations of these programmes and they have become controversial for allegedly allowing holders of funds to secret them abroad and circumvent laws against money laundering, tax evasion and the like.
Source of Funds
The key issues of concern for certain members of the EU Parliament focus on transparency, due diligence, and the potential for illegal activities that can occur when investment migration is the subject of misadministration, if not maladministration.
CBI and RBI industry leaders have put forth a platform in support of better regulation, higher industry standards and educational programmes for the sake of vested ‘community’ interests in an effort to address the concerns that these programmes currently pose.
The Future of Golden Visa Schemes
Will postulations of ‘better standards’ and management oversight be enough to stem the tide of those concerns arising from what is being portrayed to be threats to national security and exposure to global criminal activities? Only time will tell it seems.