Citizenship case reveals chaos at Home Affairs as it battles 8,000 lawsuits

A case brought before court on behalf of a group of stateless people, claiming that they lost their South African citizenship by descent when the law was changed, has revealed absolute chaos at the Department of Home Affairs, which had to send a heavyweight legal team to the Constitutional Court on 13 February 2020 to plea for permission to have another chance to overturn a court order they claim will open the floodgates to millions of people who want citizenship to access grants.
From being too busy to blaming an intern to citing workloads and wrong advice being given, the Department of Home Affairs filled pages with explanations, and apologies in papers filed before the Constitutional Court explaining why they didn’t file papers in two years, in a case they now claim will “open the floodgates”, for people wishing to gain South African citizenship to access government grants.
On Thursday, 13 February 2020, the Constitutional Court heard an application by Lawyers for Human Rights to confirm an order by the Pretoria High Court that parts of the South African Citizen Act were unconstitutional as it fails to recognise citizenship acquired by descent in terms of the previous legislation.
The organisation represents a group of people, all born outside of South Africa to a South African parent. They all claim to have been deprived of their citizenship when the legislation was changed and that this left them stateless as their births were not registered in time – but the law afforded citizenship to them because one of their parents was South African.
The new law took this citizenship away because their births were not registered before 2013 when the law changed – as the new law, as described by attorney Liesl Muller in papers before court, put them in an unintentional “no man’s land”.
The four applicants are Yamikani Vusi Chisuse, 30, Martin Ambrose Hoffman, 49, a 12-year old child and Amanda Tilma, 50. The department denies in papers before court that they will qualify for citizenship even if their citizenship by descent is reinstated by a court order, saying that there are factual discrepancies in their versions.
Lawyers representing the group first approached the Pretoria High Court in September 2016. The matter was set down for a hearing on May 2017, but home affairs failed to file an affidavit explaining their position. They did indicate that the matter will be opposed. The matter was postponed and the department was ordered to file their papers within 20 days. This wasn’t done.
Two years went by. When Lawyers for Human Rights finally set the matter down for hearing, the department asked the court for a postponement to file their affidavit. This was refused and the court heard the matter unopposed. This led to parts of the South African Citizen Act being declared unconstitutional and the court ordering that four of the applicants be given citizenship.
In an affidavit explaining their shocking handling of the matter filed before the Constitutional Court, the acting director-general for home affairs, Thulani Mavuso apologised to the court for their handling of the matter, but asked the court to overturn the order of the Pretoria High Court to send the matter back to hear evidence.
Mavuso, the acting director-general of the department, said they are now confronted by between 8,000 and 10,000 cases in courts all over the country and receive 150 new cases a week. He said their directorate of litigation only has five members and each needs to handle 1,200 cases. “This workload makes it practically impossible to perform the services with the efficiency required. This is due to budgetary constraints in government,” he said.
He said he didn’t even know about the case before the Pretoria High Court.
“I accept that the matter has not been dealt with properly by officials of the department. On that score, the conduct of the officials failed not only this court, but the applicants and society at large. I accept that the state respondents and the state attorney handled the matter in the most inefficient and ineffective manner. This conduct undermines the legitimacy of both the judiciary and the state.”
He said they accepted that the rights of the applicants in the current case were “openly violated”, by the department and showed disdain for the law. “I concede this is unacceptable.”
He said for the court to allow the applicants to claim citizenship by descent will be “an insult to the Black South Africans and architects of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa”, and have a disastrous effect on the country’s stability.
“The Citizenship Amendment Act seeks to put a final nail on the racist, sexist and discriminatory 1949 Act and to correct the legislative anomalies of the 1995 Act. The surviving provision of the 1949 Act, which allowed children of foreigners to claim citizenship of South Africa under the 1949 Act, had disastrous consequences for the stable and democratic citizenship regime in South Africa. Moreover, the relevant provision of the 1995 Act, which entrenched the 1949 Act, opened the floodgates for the foreigners to claim citizenship in order to access the privileges and benefits flowing therefrom. It is estimated that there are approximately 17-million grant beneficiaries as opposed to 15.5-million taxpayers in South Africa,” he added.
He said allowing foreign persons who desire to live and work in South Africa to claim citizenship by descent may lead to uncontrolled fraudulent citizenship.
“This is precisely the mischief the legislature intended to address when it amended the 1995 Citizenship Act. South Africa is today a great place to live in and many people in the world aspire to live, work, or to be the citizens of South Africa. As a result, many foreign nationals come to South Africa and stay in the country illegally. No one can account for every undocumented migrant,” he added. “The department has no idea how many illegal immigrants are in South Africa.”
The applicants before court were born to South African parents in Malawi, Zimbabwe and Ghana before legislation changed, but their births were not registered.
According to Mavuso, they originally only realised that there was a case about this issue when one of their officials raised a concern over a cost order made against the department. He said the notice of the hearing was served on an intern and nothing was done about it.
He admitted that they received correspondence warning that the matter will be set down on the unopposed role unless an affidavit is filed. He said a few months after they defaulted on filing an affidavit, the department’s junior counsel and the state attorney were called into the deputy judge president’s chambers and “severely reprimanded”. He said they were ordered to file an affidavit within a month.
Mavuso explained that as part of their internal procedures, they still had to interview the applicants as part of their internal process, but officials couldn’t do it in time. The applicants were then asked to come to home affairs to have their births registered and the matter should be removed from the role. This was erroneous advice he said, but nothing happened in any case and their affidavit was also not filed in accordance with the court’s directive.
He said when the order declaring parts of the law unconstitutional was served, the official dealing with the matter was on leave. She only returned 15 days later. He said the director of litigation also resigned six months later. “This had a negative impact on most of the matters in which he was involved.”
“The attorney of record is currently handling almost 700 pending cases. This, however, cannot be an excuse for the conduct of the state attorney and officials of the DHA in this matter.”
In papers before the Constitutional Court, Advocate Isabel Goodman, acting for the applicants, explained that the case dealt with citizenship by descent.
She added that the applicants acquired a right to citizenship by virtue of their parenthood, but because of changes between the various statutes, they have been deprived of their right and ability to acquire citizenship, and the problem was that the law did not preserve citizenship acquired by descent under predecessor legislation. “The section only saves citizenship acquired by birth. Those who acquired citizenship by parenthood under predecessor legislation are, overnight, no longer citizens.”
She argued that the department could not offer any real justification for these infringements and added that, in fact, they didn’t even bother to file an affidavit despite a two-year delay and an order directing it to do so.
A four-person legal team led by advocate Seth Nthai SC argued on behalf of the department that none of the legislation conferred an automatic right to citizenship. He added that the law does not apply retrospectively. He said if the court believed the laws to be unconstitutional, the law should be sent back to Parliament for an amendment in line with the current policy considerations.
The Constitutional Court has reserved judgement. MC

Marriage fraudsters could have their citizenship revoked

Marriages of convenience, which are mostly used by foreigners to gain SA citizenship will become a “dangerous game” to play in future, warns home affairs minister Aaron Motsoaledi.
While the country has become a haven for bogus marriages Motsoaledi said a proposed new marriage statute will make it “very difficult” to marry someone in absentia, which is currently the main driver of the country’s fake marriages.
So serious is he about stopping fraudulent marriages that his office has started revoking the citizenship of those found to have forged their unions.
“We are now handling a very difficult case of somebody who got married and after getting citizenship he got divorced and went home to fetch the ‘real’ wife. So we are taking his citizenship away. But he is resisting and says that we are evil as we found out about his fake marriages after a long time. So he is threatening to go to court,” he said.
Between April 2018 and June 2019 Motsoaledi said there were more than 2,000 fraudulent marriages, almost all involving foreign nationals. About 1,100 had since been annulled while more than 600 were referred to courts to be dissolved through divorce.
Speaking to TimesLIVE at the Valentine’s Day mass wedding at Robben Island on Friday, Motsoaledi said young women were often victims of these undesirable marriages, enticed with money.
“Young women who need money for their nails, hair and cellphones are usually caught up in these marriages. Some of the girls do it knowingly that they don’t want this marriage, but they do it anyway knowing that they will just discard it. But the new marriage policy will be very clear and have measures in place to minimise occurrence of these marriages of convenience. Those who think that getting married is a game will realise that it’s a dangerous game,” he said.
The proposed single marriage law, which is currently being investigated by the SA Law Reform Commission, seeks to give everyone equal rights, regardless of their religious and cultural background. The new statute will replace the Marriage Act of 1961, the Recognition of Customary Marriages Act of 1998 and the Civil Union Act of 2006.
The commission is considering either a single act with a unified set of requirements, or an “omnibus option” reflecting the current diverse set of legal requirements and consequences of civil, religious and customary marriages and civil unions.
It is also looking into consent and capacity to marry, minimum age, the issuing of marriage licences and marriage ceremonies. It will also look into spousal support, antenuptial agreements, cohabitation rights, dispute resolution in family matters and bogus marriages.
Motsoaledi said one of the weaknesses of the current law was that it allowed one person to register a marriage alone, as long they had the required documents.
“In the new law we will require them to come together. Some of the women end up getting married unknowingly because they had their documents stolen. So we want both of them to appear together,” he said.
The new law is expected to come into effect in 2021.
Marriage officers will also be trained to look out for red flags in potential bogus marriages. In cases of foreigners marrying across the border, countries of origin will also be consulted to check the marital status of marriage applicants.
“So in the proposed law it’s going to be a little bit tough. We are going to demand some information from the countries of origin that you are actually not married. We will train marriage officers to understand the implications of marrying across the borders. People take marriages like a game … that I will just marry and annul. But that game will now become a very dangerous one to play,” he said.
Motsoaledi said under the new marriage regime teenage marriages will not be tolerated. Statistics from the department of social development show that in 2016 there were 103 teenage divorces and in 2017 there were about 73.
Currently parents are allowed to give their daughter’s hand in marriage even if they are underage.
“There are about 14,600 ministers of religion and 1,400 home affairs officers. All of them will be instructed about this. Even if you go to them as a teen they will tell you that I’m sorry I won’t allow you,” said Motsoaledi.

Home Affairs Minister Motsoaledi on tougher new laws for refugees in SA

Foreign refugees in South Africa have just been banned from political activity – as SA builds ‘a paper wall’ against immigration

Refugees – we can help you change from Asylum Seeker to Temporary Residence and Permanent Residence and not be caught out
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Zim transgender asylum-seeker wins SA High Court appeal

A Zimbabwean transgender woman has successfully won her appeal at the South African High Court, stopping that country’s immigration department from deporting her.
The High Court ordered her release from detention, stopped her deportation and ruled she could approach the Refugee Centre to submit her application for asylum.
The court order also ordered the Ministry of Justice and Correctional Services and the Director of Public Prosecutions: Gauteng Local Division and National Prosecution Authority to pay the costs of the applicant’s application.
The applicant, Emily Musimwa, was remanded in custody by the Hillbrow Magistrate Court in January pending trial (February 17, 2020) for violating Section 49 of the Immigration Act.
She then approached the High Court to seek recourse, having already spent two weeks in prison.
Her lawyer, Dr Vusumuzi Sibanda argued Musimwa sought asylum because Zimbabwean laws are unkind to the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) community and she could not be deported to Zimbabwe without approaching the refugee centre.
On February 12, 2020, at the High Court of South Africa: Gauteng Local Division in Johannesburg, Judge Kathree-Setiloane, ordered the Ministry of Justice and Correctional Services, the Director of Public Prosecutions: Gauteng Local Division and National Prosecution Authority, the Chief Director: Asylum Seeker Management DHA and the Minister of Home Affairs, cited at the first, second, third and fourth respondents to release Musimwa forthwith.
“It is ordered that in terms of Regulation 2(2) of the Refugees Regulations, the applicant is entitled to remain lawfully in the Republic of South Africa for a period of 14 days in order to allow her to approach the Refugee Reception Office to submit her application for asylum,” read the high court order.
The Director of Public Prosecutions: Gauteng Local Division and National Prosecution Authority and the Minister of Home Affairs were “hereby interdicted from detaining criminally charging and or deporting the applicant in terms of the Immigration Act 13 of 2002 until her status under the Refugees Act 130 of 1998 has been lawfully and finally determined by the Refugees Determination Office.”
Judge Setiloane also ordered the Chief Director: Asylum Seeker Management DHA and Minister of Home Affairs to immediately issue Musimwa with a permit contemplated in Section 22 of the Refugees Act 130 of 1998 read together with Regulation 2(2) of the Refugees Regulations.
“The first and the second respondent are ordered to pay the costs of this application including the wasted cost on February 11, 2019, jointly and severally, the one paying the other to be absolved,” said the high court order.
Musimwa’s lawyer said she was “never supposed to stay in custody and the court was supposed to release her the day we appeared (that was January 22, 2020) because the law is clear on that for claimants to the asylum system. The Magistrate (at (Hillbrow Magistrate Court) failed to apply the law and neglected the rights of Ms Emily Musimwa,” said Dr Sibanda.

South Africa: Asylum Seeker Wins Right to Marry

The Supreme Court of Appeal has declared Home Affairs’s prohibition on asylum seekers marrying unconstitutional
If you are an asylum seeker whose application for asylum in terms of Section 21 of the Refugee Act has not been finalised, you are still permitted to enter into a marriage. The Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) affirmed this in a judgment handed down in October.
A case was brought by asylum seeker Emmanuel Ochogwu, whose application for refugee status has been pending with the Refugee Appeal Board for over six years. He is a Christian pastor who fled the religious persecution of Boko Haram in Nigeria.
During the prolonged delay in finalising his application, Ochogwu formed a relationship with Zizipho Nkumanda. The two married in terms of customary law. In 2016, they approached Home Affairs to register their customary marriage in terms of the Recognition of Customary Marriages Act and conclude a civil marriage under the Marriage Act. This is a practice commonly adopted by customary law spouses to ensure full legal recognition of their union.
The parties were asked to prove the existence of the customary marriage and provide Ochogwu’s asylum permit for verification. They complied, providing an affidavit from Nkumanda’s father, confirming the conclusion of a customary marriage and Ochogwu’s latest asylum seeker permit.
On Valentine’s Day 14 February 2017, the couple returned to Home Affairs to finalise their marriage. But Home Affairs indicated that a recently published circular from the Deputy Director for Civic Services prohibited the marriages for asylum seekers whose applications for asylum were not finalised.
Dismayed, the couple approached the Eastern Cape Division High Court for relief.
High Court
The couple argued that the circular was an unconstitutional infringement of their rights to equality and dignity. Also, they argued that the circular infringed international law treaties on the rights of asylum seekers. These international laws, which South Africa has signed and ratified, expressly prohibit the prejudicial conduct of Home Affairs.
Highlighting the unreasonableness of Home Affairs’s conduct, the couple pointed out that the Refugee Appeal Board had been defunct for two years, resulting in Ochogwu waiting for a decision for over five years.
Home Affairs argued that the applicants should wait for a decision by the Refugee Appeal Board. Also, they argued that the applicants marriage was fraudulent to secure residency rights for Ochogwu. But Home Affairs provided no evidence for this.
After considering the arguments, the High Court concluded that the circular infringed the applicants’ rights to equality and was therefore unconstitutional. The court ordered that the parties should be allowed to marry. The respondents appealed.
Supreme Court of Appeal
The SCA considered two main issues. First, the legal status of the Home Affairs circular. Second, whether the ban on marriage for asylum seekers was unconstitutional.
Home Affairs argued that a circular is not a law and therefore the court cannot review it. But the court said that a circular is meant to guide officials in implementing government policy. The SCA noted that a similar argument had been used in the case of Ahmed v Minister of Home Affairs. The Constitutional Court in that case rejected the argument stating that it was not important to decide whether a circular was a law or not. What was important, the Constitutional Court concluded, was whether it was treated as a law by those responsible for implementing it. Put differently, if Home Affairs used the circular to give or deprive people of their rights (as laws do), then the court can review it.
The advocate representing Home Affairs argued that considering the circular as a whole, it did not bar asylum seekers from getting married. The words of the circular, he said, affirmed the right of asylum seekers to marry but only sought to guide marriage officers in concluding marriages and prevent marriages involving undocumented immigrants.
The SCA disagreed. The court took particular note of the sections of the circular that read: “refugees whose asylum application is pending cannot contemplate marriage” and “should there be an inquiry to a refugee or asylum seeker status, the marriage cannot be concluded”. The SCA concluded that these sections clearly deny asylum seekers the right to marry. Also, the court said, an interpretation that denied Ochogwu the right to marry is how the circular was understood by Home Affairs officials.
The SCA said that all interpretations of fundamental rights, such as the right to equality, must acknowledge the constitutional value of dignity. The court found it unacceptable that the wording of the circular was contradictory — the circular affirmed the right of asylum seekers to marry in one sentence, only to deny the right in the next. The court quoted the judgment of Minister of Home Affairs v Watchenuka, where the Constitutional Court stated “human dignity has no nationality”.
The SCA referred to judgments of the Constitutional Court that speak to the importance of marriage as a social institution for the expression of one’s dignity and autonomy – “it offers a social and legal shrine for love and for commitment and for a future shared with another human being”.
Court rebukes Home Affairs
The SCA’s conclusion also included a scathing rebuke of Home Affairs. The court said that judicial precedent required the state to respect the law, to fulfil procedural requirements and to tread respectfully when dealing with rights. The court found Home Affairs had failed dismally to achieve these constitutional imperatives. The court described Home Affairs’s conduct as “inexcusable and deserving of censure”. It said that Home Affairs officials were lucky to not have been called upon to personally pay the costs of litigation.
The court took particular exception to Home Affairs questioning the legitimacy of the couple’s marital relationship

SA, Ethiopia finalise visa waivers for officials

31 Jan 2020 – Tourism Update
South Africa and Ethiopia have signed an agreement to waive of visa requirements for holders of diplomatic or official/service passports.
Ethiopian Prime Minster, Abiy Ahmed Ali, and South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa, said in a press statement that the waiver was “expected to ease the travel of officials who will contribute to further strengthen bilateral relations”.
The two men discussed further co-operation in addressing illegal migration. Both leaders signed the memorandum of understating on the co-operation in tourism and recognise that it will be key to creating employment opportunities, especially for the youth.
Prime Minister Ali was a special guest at the African National Congress’s 108th anniversary celebrations in the Northern Cape

23 countries where money can buy you a second passport or ‘elite residency’

The super-rich are no longer just spending their money on private jets, yachts, and hotels — they’re also splashing out on second passports.
The Second Citizenship Survey 2017 from CS Global Partners found that 89% of people would like to own a second passport, and over 34% said they had looked into investing in a second citizenship.
Even more striking were the 80% who said they would be willing to invest or donate 5% of their annual salary for a second citizenship — more than they spend on monthly rent.
Luckily, a number of countries offer Citizenship by Investment (CIP) programs where money — normally invested in real estate — can actually buy a second passport, and the elite status that comes along with owning citizenship in another country.
Other programs offer “elite residency” — an extended visa with perks — in exchange for similar investments.
Nuri Katz, President of pex Capital Partners, an international advisory firm that specialises in CIPs, told Business Insider: “For a lot of wealthy people having a second or third passport is important for the ability to travel. For some it’s also a status symbol, like buying a fancy car to show your friends.”
He added that along with the travel benefits and the status that comes along with owning real estate around the world, the programs also allow people to manage their tax burdens.
“Second citizenship is becoming more than just getting a passport,” he said. “There are certain advantages towards using second citizenship to create residence in countries where tax burdens would be lower than where you are at the current time.”
However, Katz explained there’s a difference between CIPs and residency programs. “Citizenship is forever, and cannot be taken away unless you received it under fraudulent circumstances,” he said. “You also get a passport.”
Meanwhile, as laws change, a residency visa can be taken away — but it’s a more affordable way to get the perks that come along with living in another country.
In order to put together a complete list of countries that offer citizenship or residency by investment, along with advice from Katz, Business Insider consulted the latest CBI Index, published by the Financial Times’ PWM magazine, and spoke to global investment migration firm Henley & Partners and global citizenship and residence planning company Knightsbridge Capital Partners.
Whether you choose to splash out for full citizenship or you invest in residency, here are 23 countries where money can buy you a second passport — or at least a chance to live long-term abroad — ranked by cost, from cheapest to most expensive.
23. Thailand — ‘Elite residency’ from THB 500,000 (R236,523).
Dmitry Pichugin/500px
The Thai government offers “elite” residency visas for wealthy foreign citizens, allowing them to live in the country for around R45,711 a year.
There are seven different packages, with the most expensive being the “Elite Ultimate Privilege” scheme for R914,220 for 20 years of residency.
Here are the three most popular options, according to Henley & Partners:
Elite Easy Access
• Five-year residence visa for the one-time fee of THB 500,000 (R232,409)
Elite Family Excursion
• A five-year visa for two people, for a one-time fee of THB 800,000 (R371,858), plus an additional charge of THB 300,000 (R139,449) per dependent.
Elite Superiority Extension/Elite Ultimate Privilege
• 20-year residence visa for a one-time fee of THB 2.14 million (R994,717)
-Package includes complimentary VIP privileges such as government concierge services and airport services
22. Latvia — Residency from €64,600 (R1.13 million).
For residency in Latvia, here’s what’s required:
• A minimum of €286,000 (R5 million) over a period of five years in a credit institution, or;
• To invest in equity capital, the foreign national must invest a minimum of €36,000 (R634,727) and must pay a minimum of €28,600 (R504,255) in the next year.
Henley & Partners added that there are also options to apply for the residence permit through the purchase of real estate or interest-free government bonds.
You can apply for citizenship after five years through process of naturalization (i.e. language test, history test), according to Katz.
“The true catch here is when they want to get citizenship, they have to take a language test, and Latvian is an impossible language to learn as an adult,” Katz said.
“No one can, and they know it, and as such they know no one will ever become a citizen.”
=19. Saint Lucia — Citizenship from $100,000 (R1.5 million).
Courtesy of Jade Mountain
There are three ways to get citizenship in Saint Lucia, according to Katz:
• A donation of at least $100,000 (R1.5 million) to the Saint Lucia National Economic Fund (depending on number of dependents), or;
• Investment of at least $300,000 (R4.5 million) in an approved real estate development, or;
• Investment of $3.5 million (R5.3 million) in an approved enterprise project.
=19. Dominica — Citizenship from $100,000 (R1.5 million).
Dominica is appealing due to its visa-free access to more than 110 countries, according to Arabian Business. Katz said there are two options:
• A donation to the National Transformation Fund of $100,000 (R1.5 million) for a single applicant, or $200,000 (R3 million) for a family of four, or;
• A real estate investment of $200,000 (R3 million).
=19. Antigua and Barbuda — Citizenship from $100,000 (R1.5 million).
There are three ways to get citizenship through investment in Antigua and Barbuda:
• Real estate investment of a least $400,000 (R6 million), or;
• A donation to the National Development Fund of $100,000 (R1.5 million), or;
• A $400,000 (R6 million) investment in an existing but newly-created business venture.
=17. St. Kitts and Nevis — Citizenship from $150,000 (R2.2 million).
Following the devastation St. Kitts and Nevis faced after last year’s hurricane season, pricing for the CIP programme has been adjusted, according to Katz. Its citizens also now have access to more than 150 jurisdictions worldwide, since the country has signed travel treaties with the likes of Russia, Moldova, Nepal, India, Indonesia, Rwanda, and Taiwan within the last year. Here are your options, according to Henley & Partners:
• A non-refundable donation of $250,000 (R3.9 million) for a single applicant to the SIDF, a non-profit foundation which funds the developent of alternative industries to support the national economy, or;
• A non-refundable donation to the SIDF of $300,000 (R4.5 million) for an applicant with up to three dependants, as well as an additional $25,000 (R380,000) per additional dependent, or;
• A non-refundable contribution of $150,000 (R2.2 million) to the SGF, a fund which supports economic growth in all sectors of the economy, with an additional $25,000 (R380,925) for a spouse or $10,000 (R152,370) for each additional applicant, or;
• The purchase of real estate valued at at least $200,000 (R3 million) which cannot be sold for a seven-year period, or;The purchase of real estate valued at at least $400,000 (R6 million) which cannot be sold for a five-year period.
=17. Grenada — Citizenship from $150,000 (R2.2 million).
There are two ways to get citizenship through investment in Grenada:
• A $150,000 (R2.2 million) donation to the Grenada National Transformation Fund, or;
• Real estate investment of at least $350,000 (R5.3 million), plus some additional fees.
16. Vanuatu — Citizenship from $155,000 (R2.3 million).
According to the latest CBI Index, the Vanuatu Contribution Programme (VCP) is one of two active citizenship by investment schemes, alongside the Development Support Programme (DSP), but under the DSP citizens cannot vote or participate in political life. Under the VCP, here are the requirements:
• A minimum contribution of $130,000 (R1.9 million), plus $25,000 (R380,925) in processing fees, and;
• A minimum net worth of $250,000 (R3.8 million).
15. Cambodia — Citizenship from 1bn Cambodian riels (R3.7 million).
Cambodia has been allowing foreigners to naturalise following an investment since 1996, according to the latest CBI Index.
While the Cambodian senate approved a draft law on June 11, 2018 that could alter the country’s economic citizenship landscape (and increase the investment thresholds,) for now, these are the options:
• Invest 1.2bn Cambodian riels (R4.4 million) into the nation. Investment must be approved by either by the Cambodian Development Council or by the Royal Government, or;
• Donate 1bn Cambodian riels (R3.7 million) for the restoration and rebuilding of Cambodia’s economy.
Applications must also have knowledge of Khmer history and language, and must travel to Cambodia to obtain good behaviour, police, and health certificates, as well as to sign the relevant citizenship oath.
14. Moldova — Citizenship from €250,000 (R4.4 million).
A CIP program has been confirmed for Moldova, and according to Henley & Partners, these are the options:
• An investment of €450,000 (R7.9 million) to projects in developed areas, or;
• An investment of €250,000 (R4.4 million) to projects in underdeveloped areas.
13. Greece — Residency from €250,000 (R4.4 million).

To gain residency in Greece, you need to invest a minimum of €250,000 (R4.4 million) in Greek properties.
=11. Portugal — ‘Golden Visa’ from €350,000 (R6.1 million).

To gain residency in Portugal, there are plenty of options, according to Henley & Partners.
The options include:
Capital Transfer
• A transfer of at least €1 million (R17 million) into a Portuguese bank account, or approved investment option, or;
• €350,000 (R6.1 million) investment in research activities that are part of the national scientific and technological system, or;
• €350,000 (R6.1 million) investment in artistic production or the national cultural heritage, or;
• €350,000 (R6.1 million) in investment or venture capital funds committed to the capitalization of companies incorporated under the Portuguese law, with a maturity of at least five years.
Property Aquisition
• Real estate purchase of at least €500,000 (R8.8 million), or;
• Real estate purchase of at least €350,000 (R6.1 million) for the refurbishment of properties older than 30 years, or in an area of urban regeneration.
• Creation of a minimum of 10 new jobs, or;
• €350,000 (R6.1 million) for the incorporation or increase of share capital of a Portugese company, creating or maintaining a minimum of five permanent jobs, for a period of three years.
=11. Montenegro — Citizenship from €350,000 (R6.1. million).

radzonimo/ There are two options for citizenship by investment in Montenegro, according to Katz. A program limited to 2,000 applicants that will launch in October includes:
• Invest €250,000 (R4.4 million) in a government-approved development project in the northern part of Montenegro (undeveloped area); or
• Invest €450,000 (R7.9 million) in a government-approved development project in the southern part of Montenegro (developed area).
There’s an additional fee of €100,000 (R1.7 million) per application, which is also be paid to the government, and will be invested in “a special fund for the development of less developed areas within Montenegro.”
10. U.S. — Residency from $500,000 (R7.6 million).
The EB-5 visa leads to US conditional resident status (known as a green card), which can then lead to a U.S. passport.
Two years after conditional residence is granted, investors and their families become eligible for permanent residency. Investment options:
• Investment of $500,000 (R7.6 million) in a rural area, or area with high unemployment into a new commercial enterprise to create 10 new full-time jobs, or;
• Direct investment of $1 million (R15 million) in an American commercial enterprise.
• Funds may stay invested until permanent resident status is granted (usually 4 years).
There is also the Regional Center Program, where applicants:
• Invest $500,00 (R7.6 million) into a designated Regional Centre project, becoming a limited partner of the enterprise
• The applicant is then free to live and work anywhere in the USA.
• However, they must have a net worth of at least $1 million (R15 million).
9. Spain — “Golden Visa” from €500,000 (R8.8 million).
Spain has a Golden Visa program, which can eventually lead to citizenship. Here are the options for residency, according to Henley & Partners:
• Minimum investment of €500,000 (R8.8 million) in real estates, or;
• Minimum investment of €1 million (R17 million) in shares of Spanish companies, or;
• Minimum deposit of €1 million (R17 million) at a Spanish bank, or;
• Minimum investment of €2 million (R35 million) in government bonds.
• After five years, applicant can request permanent residency.
• After 10 years, they can request citizenship.
8. Bulgaria — Citizenship from 1 million BGN (R9 million).

There are two investment options in Bulgaria.
Investment option one:
• A 1 million Bulgarian lev (£448,443) investment in a full-guaranteed government bond for five years.
• The investment will be returned to the investor after the term without interest.
The fast-track option:
• Investment of 1 million lev (£448,443) in government-guaranteed bonds, and;
• Investment of an additional 1 million lev (R7.9 million) one year later.
• At least one year of permanent residency
• You must hold both investments for at least two years after the citizenship is granted.
7. Canada — Citizenship from $800,000 (R12 million).
Created by the Canadian government to attract wealthy business people to the country, the Immigrant Investors Program means you can gain permant residency if you meet the following four criteria, according to Henley & Partners:
• Demonstrate proper business experience — must have previously managed or operated a qualified business for at least two out of five years preceding your application, and;
• You (and your spouse) must have a personal net worth exceeding $1.6 million (R24 million), and;
• Entire family must complete and pass Canada’s medical and security evaluations, and;
• You make an investment of at least $800,000 (R12 million) for a period of five years under one of the two available programs.
The Federal Immigrant Investor Program
• This program has been closed since its annual application cap was filled in 2011.
• However, it does not apply to Quebec.
The Quebec Immigrant Investor Program
• Investor must obtain a Certificate of Selection of Quebec before applying for health and security screening to be admitted to Canada.
• Once admitted, you don’t have to live in Quebec, as all Canadian residents have freedom of movement and establishment across provinces and terriories
=5. Turkey — Citizenship from $1 million (R1.5 million).

Launched in January 2017, Turkey’s economic citizenship programme offers five options, three of which involve investment over three years, according to the CBI Index.
The first three options are:
• Purchase a property valued at $1 million (R15 million), or;
• Deposit $3 million (R45 million) into a Turkish bank, or;
• Invest $3 million (R45 million) in government bonds.
But there are two more routes:
• Investment of $2 million (R30 million) in fixed capital, or;
• The creation of 100 jobs in Turkey.
=5. Malta — Citizenship from €880,000 (R15 million).
PhotoWorks/ The current investment options in Malta are:
• A non-refundable contribution of at least €650,000 (R11.4 million) to National Development and Social Fund, and;
• Purchase of €150,000 (R2.6 million) in government stocks/ bonds, and;
• A property transaction, which can include a purchase (for a minumum of R6.1 million) or a rental (for a minimum of €16,000 (R282,100) per year), held for five years.
4. Australia — Residency from $1.5 million AU (R12 million
Australia boasts a residency program that can lead to citizenship in the long term. However, it’s on the more expensive end. You’ll need:
• A personal net worth of a least $2.25 million AU (R22 million) which must apply for the two years previous to the individual’s application, and;
• An investment of $1.5 million AU (R15 million) into an Australia project or enterprise, which will in turn benefit the Australian economy.
3. Cyprus — Citizenship from €1.5 million (R26 million).

Until recently, Cyprus had the most expensive CIP program, according to Arabian Business.
The current investment options include:
• Real estate investment of at least €2 million (R35 million), or;
• Investment of at least €2 million (R35 million) in businesses or companies based and operating in Cyprus, or;
• Investment of at least €2 million (R35 million) in purchase units from Alternative Investment Funds (AIF).
You can also hold residency. Here are the criteria:
• The purchase of new property worth at least €300,000 (R5.2 million), and;
• Deposit a minimum of €30,000 (R528,939) from abroad into an account which will be locked for three years, and;
• Have an annual income of at least €30,000 (R528,939) deriving from abroad.
2.New Zealand — Residency from 3 million NZD (R30 million)
In New Zealand, you can live, work, and study under the Investor 1 and Investor 2 Resident Visa programs. you’ve got two options for residency, according to Henley & Partners:
With Investor 1:
• An investment of 10 million New Zealand dollars (R98 million) over three years.
• No maximum age limit, no language requirement, and no business experience requirement
With Investor 2:
• An investment of 3 million NZD (R29 million) over four years, and;
• Must be over 65, be English speaking, have at least three years of business experience, and a minimum of 2.5 million NZD in available funds or assets.
1. UK — Visa from £2 million (R35 million).
Jack Taylor/Getty Images
Luke Hexter, director of global citizenship and residence planning company Knightsbridge Capital Partners, told BI that the UK Tier 1 Investor Visa is one of its most popular. Here’s how it works:
• Investment of £2 million (R35 million) into the UK economy (in UK government bonds, share capital or loan capital in active and trading UK-registered companies, other than those principally engaged in property investment)
• Applicants must be at least 18 years of age and be from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland.
• The visa allows you to stay for 3 years, 4 months, which can be extended a further 2 years.
• Applicants can apply for indefinite leave to remain after 5 years in the UK.
• Applicants can apply for British citizenship after spending 6 years in the country.