Concern rises with demand as questions asked about the risks of second passports

Published:  30 Apr at 6 PM
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As the expat world becomes more unstable, passports for sale are now a global business worth in excess of $2 billion.

First punted as a way to purchase citizenship of a second country, the so-called expat investments soon acquired the nickname ‘Golden Visas’, as well as an as yet unproven reputation for being used as a money-laundering or tax avoidance scheme for the mega-rich. As more and more smaller, less prosperous countries realised the value to their economies of selling citizenship or simply visas and second passports, the cost got less and sales increased.

Nowadays, passports for cash are big business, with the Caribbean the global hub of ‘citizenship by investment’. For as little as $100,000, a Domenican passport is yours, and $250,000 gifted to a development fund gets you St Kitts and Nevis citizenship. For slightly more, Antiguan and Barbudan passports are passed over to those spending just 5 days on the relevant island over a period of five years. For those with almost unlimited cash in hand, the UK charges $2.7 million, Singapore comes in at $1.9 million and Australia is a comparative bargain at $1.2 million, with the US of A charging between $500,000 and $1million to flash-the-cash wealthy expats unwilling to struggle over Trump’s hypothetical border wall.

Obviously, demand is still growing for this convenient must-have accessory, but awareness is also growing about its usefulness to those who mean harm and need to enter without questions being asked at immigration. As sectarian violence soars across the world, it’s not impossible that terrorists could obtain a fistful of passports and plan atrocities in each and every country careless enough to accept cash for the means to attack. Nationality is now being marketed as a commodity, with buyers choosing a passport based on cost and ease of travel, with no intention of benefiting the host country in any way after the asking price has been paid.
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