GLOBAL CITIZEN TAX
Fundraising initiative to support migration
Addressing key challenges through a partnership with the global residence and citizenship by investment community
Since its start more than 30 years ago, the Global Residence and Citizenship Investor community has matured and is now playing a major role in building economies and attracting talent and innovation around the globe, offering viable paths to investment, residence and citizenship in countries as diverse as the US, UK, Canada, Antigua, Malta and Spain.
With the development of the industry, many risks and challenges have presented themselves, calling for new forms of collaboration and public-private engagement. For example, the industry must work closely with governments to address a range of issues from security and transparency of programs to maximizing economic benefits, and even addressing misperceptions and reputational concerns over the industry and its role.
Moreover, investor programs can also play a role in addressing broader global challenges. The current refugee crisis is one relevant example, and forms the basis for the idea for a special tax/assessment on investor applications that could immediately aid international organizations in their goal to care for refugees in a more humane, safe and secure environment.
Case: The growing refugee crisis
The refugee crisis emanating from the MENA region continues to exact a large toll on those who flee for a better life for themselves and their families, the nations who are receiving them, and the international institutions and NGOs charged with providing basic humanitarian assistance during the most vulnerable periods of migration. According to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), “the combined number of refugees and internally displaced persons protected/assisted by UNHCR in 2014 increased by 11.0 million persons, reaching a record high of 46.7 million persons by year end”. UNHCR indicates that in Europe, more than 219,000 refugees and migrants crossed the Mediterranean Sea during 2014, and it is estimated that the global resettlement need will increase by 22 percent in 2016, or 1,150,000 persons. Though the problem is not confined to Europe, the impact of crises in MENA is most strongly felt there.
UNHCR estimates that the average time a refugee from Syria will remain in that status is 17 years - a generation of families and children who may spend their formative years in limbo. This could result in an unacceptable loss of opportunity for sustained health, welfare and opportunity for many thousands of people.
In addition, the number of people who have last their lives at sea is devastating – an estimated 6,570 people since 2011, half of which were women and children.
How can the global residence and citizenship industry contribute?
The global residence and citizenship industry must be part of the solution, joining hands with partners in industry, governments and international organizations to address such challenges.
Various European countries that are welcoming refugees are also in many instances attracting foreign investors through their Global Residence and Citizenship Programs for investors, including Cyprus, Bulgaria, Malta, Spain, and Portugal. In Europe such programs have attracted more than EUR 5 billion in capital over the past 18 months, including investment programs in the UK, Lithuania and others.
As a starting point, Arton Capital calls on the industry and participating governments to support a special assessment on all Residence and Citizenship applications received, 1% to 5%, to be assessed on top of current investment required for the purpose of addressing the most pressing needs- for example, alleviating the global refugee crisis emanating from the MENA region and affecting many parts of Europe.
How would it work?
The special assessment could be administered through a joint program established by a group of governments with a joint plan for its distribution; or could be assessed by the industry on behalf of governments and subsequently channeled to an independent fund for distribution to approved international organizations. Based on the quantity residency/citizenship applications and investments made in the past, Arton Capital estimates that up to 1 billion euros could be raised within 60 months of creation.
The potential for transforming this tax/assessment as a permanent and universal feature of all investor programs is a game changer, and could be applied to multiple challenges, depending on the region and issues at hand. The effort would showcase the generosity and willingness of the of the Global Citizen community to take an active role in addressing key global challenges.
The concept of the Global Citizen Tax could also be applied in a similar way to regional challenges, for example, aiding participating Caribbean nations in addressing the impact of natural disasters. A specific purpose for the funds should be in line with addressing a global issue, ideally with a link to the broader concerns over migration/movement of people.
Who comprises the Global Residence and Citizenship Investor community?
At the core of the Global Residence and Citizenship Investor industry are individuals who choose to contribute to a third-country economy in exchange for a better future, a better life, extended economic opportunities for themselves and their families. Many of these investors are entrepreneurs- those who achieved their success through hard work, innovation and persevering through many forms of adversity. They know that giving back to society is what seals the collective consciousness of our global citizen community and helps all people to follow their dreams to a better life.