Choosing the right agency for your Citizenship-by-Investment application is more crucial than ever before
28 October 2019
The appetite for Citizenship-by-Investment (CBI) and Residency-by-Investment (RBI) programs in the Middle East is growing rapidly.
As the industry matures, governments continue to refine their due diligence processes and tighten regulations in order to protect the integrity of their CBI & RBI programs.
As demand increases, many new Investment Migration Agencies are opening, promising simple, affordable routes to new passports but they lack the experience necessary to properly handle an application.
It has never been more important to thoroughly research the agency you intend to use to ensure you are selecting one that is credible and that has the experience and expertise to maximize your chance of a successful application.
Mimoun A. Assraoui, a veteran of the Investment Migration industry and current CEO of RIF Trust Investments LLC, knows what to look for when choosing an agency or advisor. Here are seven important questions to ask:
Is the agency associated with the Investment Migration Council (IMC)?
The IMC is the worldwide association for the Investor Immigration and Citizenship-by-Investment industry. The IMC sets the global standards and ethics, and interacts with other professional associations, governments and relevant international organisations.
All employees of an Investment Migration Agency should be members of the IMC, as they have a duty to adhere to the IMC's Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct.
Is migration advisory their primary line of business?
Until recently only a handful of service providers focused solely on providing alternative residency and citizenship solutions. Many businesses advertising investment migration services did so only because it complemented other services they offered.
These providers still exist and can offer assistance, but it's important to remember that your citizenship or residency application isn't necessarily their main priority. Also, they may not have expertise in the intricacies of the application process.
Are they an approved International Marketing Agent for the program?
Governments offering Citizenship and Residency-by-Investment programs appoint a certain number of service providers to market their offering globally. Approved providers are known as 'International Marketing Agents (IMA)'.
Determining whether a provider is an approved IMA is easy: ask to see their International Marketing Agent certification. Every approved agent receives an official certificate, and they should be able to produce a copy of it upon request.
Do they provide Government Advisory services?
Government Advisory is an important service that the most influential investment migration consultancies all provide. Governments tend to entrust the design of their own citizenship and residency programs to the most experienced and trustworthy companies.
Consultancies who offer Government Advisory services often have a much better understanding of the intricacies of the application process, as they help to design the programs in the first place.
What is their pre-screening process?
Before accepting you as a client, it is important that your service provider runs a background check to ensure you have a high probability to be accepted for the program you are interested in.
Unfortunately, some do little more than a basic Google search, while others will take on clients even though they have a low probability of being accepted for their chosen program.
Do they understand the program's appeal process?
Although rare, occasionally it is necessary to appeal an application denial from the government. Appeal processes differ between programs. It is essential that your service provider fully understands the requirements in order to properly address the government's concerns and maximise your chances to overturn the decision.
Before you sign a retainer, ask the service provider if they have ever dealt with an appeal. What documentation is required? Will an interview be necessary? Will they need to carry out further due diligence checks? The more information they are able to provide, the better.
What is their application success rate for the program?
Whilst it may seem obvious, I've seldom been asked to provide a clear application success rate for a program. The application success rate helps to determine a service provider's ability to guide you and your family to that powerful second passport.
Some providers' success rates will vary drastically depending on the program, because of their lack of understanding of the requirements.
If you're one of the growing numbers of investors interested in CBI & RBI programs, it's crucial to use an agency that has the right experience, credibility and contacts. This will ensure your reputation is protected and increase your chances of submitting a successful application.
With over eight years of experience and a network of 20 offices around the world, including the UAE, the Caribbean, Vanuatu, Malta, Portugal, Cyprus & Germany, RIF Trust has the local experience and global expertise to maximise your chances of a successful CBI & RBI application.
Article originally published on Arabian Business here.