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LSE academic researches investor citizenship and residence schemes phenomenon

The London School of Economics and Political Science has published an article on research carried out by Dr Kristin Surak, Assistant Professor in Sociology, Department of Sociology into the phenomenon of investor citizenship and residence schemes.

In the course of her research, Dr Surak found these schemes are a lot more popular than many people realise with more than 60 countries around the world operating passport of visa programmes, embraced by hundreds of thousands of people.

“In the European Union alone, more than 130,000 people have gained citizenship or residence in this way, through programmes that are found in half of all EU member states. In total, they have brought in over 21.4 billion Euros to the EU, Dr Surak’s research shows,” the article notes.

“It’s usually people who are trying to maximise their options in places where there has been great wealth accumulation over the past 30 years combined with authoritarian rule and geopolitical unrest or war,” Dr Surak explained.

She also looked at the financial benefits such schemes bring to the countries introducing them with Dr Surak noting, ““It has been credited with bailing out the real estate sector after 2008 in Cyprus. In Greece, the real estate market was in decline until about 2018 and it wasn’t until a rush of golden visa buyers came in that it began to recover.”

Another angle examined by Dr Surak was what residents think about their governments selling citizenship and visas with the academic revealing that this differed greatly from country to country. “In some countries, residents think the schemes are corrupt, in some they are baffled as to who would want to buy their citizenship, and in others like Saint Kitts they can be very defensive about the schemes and recognise their contribution to the economy,” she noted.

Dr Kristin Surak is an Assistant Professor in Sociology in the Department of Sociology at LSE. Her research interests include international migration, nationalism and political sociology, and her book, 'Citizenship 4 Sale: millionaires, microstates and mobility,' is published by Harvard University Press.

Click here to view the full article.

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