Investing in a world superpower

A large number of South African citizens have the opportunity to gain a British citizenship through their ancestry, however for those who do not have parents or grandparents who are British citizens, there are still options available to them through the UK Citizenship Programmes, says James Bowling, CEO of Monarch&Co, a company that facilitates global Investment and Citizenship Programmes.
The UK Government created the UK Residency & Citizenship by Investment Programme in 1994 to attract high-net-worth individuals and their families to immigrate by making a substantial investment in the UK.
“This Programme is ideal for high-net-worth individuals seeking to live in the United Kingdom and enjoy the numerous benefits that the great nation and passport has to offer,” says Bowling. “While the programme is expensive compared to some of the other Citizenship by Investment Programmes on offer, it is still less than some other EU Programmes, and has the added benefit of being one of the best passport’s to hold in the world.”
He notes that there are several advantages to investors living and working in the United Kingdom, with the country ranked as having the sixth largest economy in the world. “Aside from the strong economy and the country’s global positioning, it is the ideal gateway between the West and East. The UK also offers an attractive tax regime for high-net-worth individuals who are classed as UK residents and carry a non-domicile status. A UK citizenship provides an individual and their family with security and an ease of travel that few others can compete with,” says Bowling.
According to Bowling there are two options for investors who wish to emigrate to the UK through the UK Residency and Citizenship by Investment Programme. The first is a full cash option, which requires the applicant to have £2-million under their control in the UK and to invest £2-million of their capital in the country by way of UK Government bonds, share capital or loan capital in active and trading UK registered companies.  This is apart from those principally engaged in property investment and excludes deposits with a bank, building society or other enterprises whose normal course of business includes the acceptance of deposits.
Bowling says that the second option is a financed option, which requires the applicant to have personal assets exceeding £2-million as well as £1-million under their control in the UK.  This may include money loaned to them provided that the financial institution that loans it is regulated by the UK Financial Services Authority.
“The UK Residency and Citizenship by Investment Programme allows investors to enter the country on an initial three-year visa, however if the applicant meets the necessary criteria that have been stipulated, they have the option to extend their stay for a further two years. This will give them the necessary five years of legal residency to obtain citizenship,” explains Bowling.
He notes that apart from the investment side of the equation, qualification requires the applicant and their dependents to be financially independent; and whilst their investment can be into government bonds, share capital or loan capital in active and trading UK registered companies, it cannot be invested into companies mainly engaged in property investment, management or development. The applicant is also required to make the UK their primary residence, and needs to remain in the country for at least half of the year.
A UK citizenship can open up the world to applicants who will receive the benefits of living in a country with one of the highest living standards in the world as well as access to a high standard of educational institutions offering a broad network of state and private schools, and more than 150 universities and higher education institutions. The UK also offers its residents one of the best free medical care services in the world.
“Those who meet the criteria have the opportunity to obtain a British citizenship that can be handed down to their dependents and the generations who follow. This is a privilege that only a select few are able to enjoy,” Bowling concludes.

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