On January 23, 2019, the European Commission issued a risk report on Citizenship-by-Investment programs of European Union countries. The report shows EU's concerns about these programs and the risks of security, possible money laundering, tax evasion and corruption that they may bring to the EU. What is more, the report states that the review process of these programs is not transparent, and there is a lack of cooperation between member countries. Therefore, the European Commission decided to strengthen its regulation and take corresponding measures.
The corresponding measures include:
1. Conducting a systematic mandatory border control;
2. Adhering strictly to EU's directives on long-term residence and family reunification;
3. Making assessments on the source of funds in accordance with EU anti-money laundering directive and regulation;
4. Enhancing information exchange.
In order to monitor the transparency of countries who have citizenship-by-investment program and the review process of these programs, the European Commission will also set up a panel of experts and establish an information exchange system. The panel can discuss the number of applicants, their home countries, and the quota of new citizens as well as residence permits through the system. Additionally, a security check is expected to be added for citizenship-by-investment programs by the end of 2019.
There is a general trend towards immigration policy tightening in the EU. The application requirements of immigration programs, especially citizenship-by-investment programs, are becoming stricter, and the regulation is also becoming tighter. Therefore, it will be more difficult to obtain an EU passport by making an investment.
Now, Bulgarian Citizenship-by-Investment program has already been shut down by the government due to the pressure from the EU. Only Cyprus and Malta still have Citizenship-by-Investment program among all EU countries.
For further details on the latest Citizenship-by-Investment programs, please read the following:
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