SEMINAR PREVIEW: Brexit, EU Reform - What It Could Mean For Investment Migration Industry

Tom Burroughes, Group Editor, London, 31 March 2016


How might a UK departure from the European Union affect the investment migration sector and the market for what are sometimes dubbed "golden visas?" A seminar, held in London on 7 April, aims to explain what is at stake.

A possible British exit from the European Union will affect not just the UK and its Continental cousins but also a far wider community of people including those involved in what is sometimes called the market for “golden visas”.

If UK voters decide on 23 June this year to pull down the curtain on EU membership, it could seriously affect the UK’s own programmes for encouraging wealthy individuals to enter the country via its Tier 1 investor and entrepreneur visa programmes. It could mean that for people using the UK as a stepping stone for access across the whole EU bloc, such an option would be closed.

International companies, such as those from the US, purportedly use the UK to some extent as an entrepôt to the Continent, and the same argument has been put, to an extent, in explaining the reasoning of internationally mobile and wealthy families in wanting to get UK visas.

A “Brexit” could also affect those Britons now living in others parts of the EU, as has been the case for years with people spending time in countries such as France, Italy, and Spain, both for work and play.

All these issues and more are to be discussed on Thursday 7 April in London at a seminar hosted by the Investment Migration Council and international law firm Fragomen Worldwide. The seminar, held at The Mermaid, Puddle Dock in the Blackfriars area of London, goes under the title of Brexit and EU reform: what would this mean for the Investment Migration Industry? Among the organisations taking part is WealthBriefing.

"There is a lot of debate about impending reforms of the EU and the upcoming referendum in the UK. We are thrilled to have gathered a group of experts in the private wealth industry and discuss how and in what way these political developments will impact our industry,” Nadine Goldfoot, partner at Fragomen, told this publication ahead of the event. 

A Brexit vote will trigger up to two years of negotiations between the UK and Brussels on unwinding a network of agreements that have accumulated since the UK first joined the European Economic Community - as the EU was called at the time - in 1973 under the Conservative-led government of Edward Heath.

Wealth management professionals must understand as quickly as possible how an exit will affect their clients and their business. The stakes could be high: high net worth individuals with significant cross-border interests and who have immigrated to the UK have become a prominent cohort of the UK’s wealth management client base in recent years.

A Brexit could affect those jurisdictions such as Malta or Cyprus - both EU members - which are used by wealthy migrants to gain access to the rest of the 28-member bloc. Some jurisdictions will ramp up their efforts to attract non-EU citizens by stressing more of their inherent attractions rather than purely as being jumping-off points for another region. 

The seminar promises to be a must-attend event for anyone in the wealth management business seeking to keep abreast of developments around one of the most significant electoral choices to be put before the UK public in decades. For more details including how to register, see here. Spaces are limited; attendance is free of charge. Registration is from 4pm and the event begins at 4:30 pm, closing at 6pm.


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