Archive from February, 2020

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
www.samigration.com

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).
Airbnb
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).

(Unsplash)
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).

VickySP/GettyImages
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.
Business
• 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/stock.adobe.com 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).
mrks_v/stock.adobe.com
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/123rf.com 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.
www.samigration.com

A foundation for South African tourism growth

01 February 2020

Tourism, narrowly defined, currently contributes 2.9% to our GDP and supports 726 000 jobs in this country. When the impact of the industry’s supply chain linkages and total value creation in the economy are taken into account, this increases to 8.6% of GDP and 1.5 million jobs, or 9.2% of all employment in the South African economy.
Some 10.5 million international tourists visited South Africa in 2018, and StatsSA indicate that 6.5 million South African adults travelled for leisure purposes as domestic tourists in 2017.
The Public-Private Growth Initiative and Tourism Business Council’s Tourism Growth Strategy developed in late 2018, indicates that, given the right enabling environment, these numbers can grow to:
• 21 million international tourist arrivals – double the current number
• 3.5 million more domestic leisure travellers – more than double the current number with growth of 54%
• 1.7 million direct jobs – 132% growth in tourism jobs
• 3.5 million jobs in total throughout the economy – also 132% growth in the labour force dependent on tourism
The first two guiding principles of the 1996 Tourism White Paper, which remain relevant, stated that:
• Tourism will be private-sector driven
• Government will provide the enabling framework for the industry to flourish
Based on my involvement in research and strategic development plans for the tourism sector through many years, the following are critical for the sustained development and inclusive growth of tourism.
1. Drive inclusive growth of a sustainable and responsible tourism industry and, in so doing, address transformation and ensure benefits flow to communities.

2. Drive growth in higher spending international tourism markets to South Africa, from traditional markets and from important new high-growth markets, including those on our continent.

3. Drive growth of domestic leisure tourism, ensuring that quality of life and pride in our heritage and national assets are enjoyed by most South Africans through travel experiences in our beautiful country. Tourism must be an activity for all South Africans. The industry must address transformation in its customer base as much as in the business side of the industry.

4. Drive other key tourism sub-sectors, particularly business event tourism.

5. Drive tourism through working collaboratively with the private sector, partnering with South African Tourism, the Department of Tourism, the Provincial Tourism Authorities and Departments, and with Municipalities with active tourism departments and/or entities.

This industry can grow meaningfully, immediately, if a few key levers are moved, and can continue to grow over the next few years as we lay a foundation for truly transformative tourism growth thereafter. Transformative economically and for black empowerment. We want a successful South Africa and I believe tourism, with its ability to deliver two million more jobs, is the industry that can enable our country’s economic revitalisation.
I believe that this can be achieved with Government and private commitment to creating an enabling environment required to stimulate and support tourism growth and give this industry True Recognition as a key economic sector, with emphasis, policies and support equal to, or beyond that afforded to other key sectors, such as mining, agriculture, and car manufacturing!
Six Easy Wins!
1. A world-class eVisa system available in all countries whose nationals require visas. It must handle capacity and be easy to use. Documentation requirements must not be onerous and the turnaround should be quick for most visa issuance. It must, as soon as possible, have interfaces in multiple languages, particularly Mandarin.

2.An immediate overhaul of the National Public Transport Regulator (NPTR) with respect to tourism transport licences, and a moratorium for operators who have been unable to obtain renewals, or licences for their new vehicles. A task team to research and develop a new and workable system that could be a representative body to implement self-regulation for accreditation in line with the requirements of the Act and in partnership with NPTR.
3.Development of a Tourism Police/Tourism Monitors programme at scale; with appropriate partnerships (metro police, SAPS, private security, tourism private sector), institutional structures and resources. Best practice from other countries and successful local initiatives can be built on with strong nationwide co-ordination.

4. A functioning operational partnership between the private sector and SA Tourism to market destination South Africa, drawing on industry’s coalface expertise and synergising marketing activities. Smart, innovative and agile campaigns and messaging, including reputation management. Ensure core traditional markets are covered and develop significantly enhanced research and targeted campaigns for China, India and the rest of Africa.

5. A China-ready destination strategy, together with Trade and Industry, to facilitate Chinese business and leisure tourists accessing and enjoying our destination, including widespread Chinese language spoken, signage and other information in Chinese, accommodation and food preferences provided for, payment systems in place, WiFi capacity, and air access.

6. A national air access route development initiative, appropriately resourced, operating as a public private partnership to proactively woo airlines to add new routes and to expand capacity and frequencies on routes to South Africa.

Six Next-phase Steps!
7. A review of visa-requiring countries, with a view to implementing more visa waivers, taking particular account of countries with tourism potential, and to drop in totality the reciprocity principle.

8. Development of a comprehensive air transport strategy, including domestic, regional and long haul, in- and outbound, and freight. It must also cover all airports (Acsa and all other airports), ATNS infrastructure, all airlines, and the appropriate compliance and regulatory environment.

9. Stimulating investment through resort IDZ (industrial development zones) nodes, and/or packages of sector-growth incentives. IDZs would be located strategically, close to coastal or inland attractions, and to townships where they can draw on labour and stimulate supply chain. Immediate feasibility investigation and development of rationale for resorts’ IDZs should be commenced. Pure resort hotels (as in Mauritius, Morocco, Mexico – Cancun) are high-risk investments and governments of many successful destinations have been initial investors in such resorts and/or provided extensive incentives for their development.

10. Stimulate a latent domestic tourism market though smart social tourism programmes coupled with affordable product development. Government-owned (using upgraded, existing government resorts), privately operated affordable, resort chain addressing the product and experience needs of lower-middle and middle-class leisure travellers.

11. Key road infrastructure upgrades – badly damaged roads are common in many, often rural, areas that access tourism attractions, and driving conditions can be extremely dangerous. Domestic and foreign tourists are exposed to these dangerous roads, which are an embarrassment for a country that purports to have world-class road infrastructure. Tour buses have to drive with extreme caution to avoid incidents and self-drive tourists are often advised not to drive certain routes. An urgent route identification and funding plan for key tourism road upgrades is required.

12. A revised and enabling policy and regulatory environment through COGTA to ensure that ‘tourism’ municipalities address tourism appropriately. Tourism happens on the ground in municipalities, but it is largely not understood by municipal elected officials and officers. Best-practice models and approaches to support tourism must be developed and required of local, district and city municipalities identified as having good or excellent tourism potential.
www.samigration.com