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Residence and Citizenship by Investment

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Martin Emodi

Martin Emodi

After over 20 years in senior positions at UBS Group AG, Martin co-founded Africa Wealth Partners AG (AWP) in 2018. AWP is an independent Africa-focused multi-family office, based in Zurich, Switzerland.

With a Nigerian passport, one gets visa-free access to a quarter of the world’s countries — which does not sound too bad. When understanding that these countries only count for 3% of global GDP, this picture changes dramatically. Nigerians are a very mobile people with strong connections to the USA and Europe. For the Nigerian economy to prosper and create much-needed jobs for one of the fastest growing global populations, international investments, expertise, and trade play a vital role and require entrepreneurs to travel frequently to build relationships. It is therefore completely understandable that easing international mobility is a priority for many.

Investment migration meets a range of mobility needs

The global mobility needs of our clients can be divided into two categories. Some clients are at the point where they are changing the way they work from holding a senior position in one place to having many board memberships and consulting roles — commonly known as retirement — in which case it does not matter where they are based. For these individuals, finding the right country to be their new home base and acquiring residence rights through residence by investment, which allows them to relocate and reside there going forward, is where they need support.

Black woman sitting inside private jet airplane and holding digital tablet

While this may sound trivial, the devil is obviously in the detail. Not only are many countries competing globally for economically powerful residents who will bring the right talent and expertise to their shores, but once a client has selected their target country, the administrative processes tend to be cumbersome and drawn out, which is often disproportional to the client’s available bandwidth to get this done.

Other clients are more focused on easing international travel and avoiding recurring visa processes. Here, obtaining a second passport not only for the principal but for the family can be very useful. The trick is to properly understand which citizenship by investment program provides access to a passport that is the best fit for their particular requirements. What is on offer in this space globally is significant, and constantly evolving, so an up-front advisory process is extremely valuable to ensure that the second passport provides the most flexibility. Once the decision has been taken, swift and efficient implementation becomes a top priority.

A second citizenship or alternative residence also offers benefit in terms of preparing a plan B. For clients living in unstable countries, being able to pack up and leave on a more permanent basis is extremely valuable, and this needs to be taken into consideration when selecting the right program.

In working independently with our clients, ensuring no conflict of interest, it is of utmost importance to partner not only with the best in the industry but also with firms who share our philosophy. This is key for us as it reflects our ethos towards our clients, and we have found Henley & Partners to be a fantastic partner not only to our clients but also to Africa Wealth Partners.

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