A growing number of expatriates in the UAE are buying second passports, spurred by mounting concerns over geopolitical instability in the region.
According to Savory & Partners, a Dubai-based firm that offers citizenship-by-investment services, the top nationalities seeking a second passport in the UAE are Pakistanis, Syrians, Indians, Lebanese and Egyptians. Indeed, demand for second passports is surging in the UAE,
In 2017 alone, Savory & Partners saw a 219 per cent jump in the number of Syrians looking to invest in a second passport. Meanwhile, the number of Iraqis increased by 113 per cent year-on-year, with 73 per cent more interest for second passports overall in 2017 over 2016.
“The Arab Spring kicked things off, but in the last two years, events unfolding in Qatar, Saudi, the war in Yemen, the lack of a prime minister for a couple of years in Lebanon — each of those events had a trigger effect,” said Jeremy Savory, CEO and founder of Savory & Partners.
“Syria was already a big market, but I think what’s happened is as [Syrian President Bashar Al] Assad has been strengthening his position, a lot of Syrians have given up hope that there is an end in sight.”
In European countries, Savory’s clients in the UAE are mostly investing in Cyprus.
Savory said that he expected to see an increase of 40 per cent year-on-year by the end of 2018 compared to 2017.
‘Trophy for the Wealthy’
This surge in demand isn’t specific to the UAE. Wealthy buyers are looking for security and peace of mind in case of any instability in their home countries.
“It’s the latest status symbol. We’ve had clients who simply like to collect a few,” Kalin told Bloomberg.
For Savory, the company’s founder said that his UAE-based clients have an average net worth between $5 million and $10 million, but most likely even higher.
“If you are doing a donation of $100,000 without getting a return, that’s not going to be your life savings or your kids’ education savings, so you’re probably worth at least $1 million to $2 million, because something like a second nationality, you’d probably allocate 8-10 per cent maximum of your net worth,” he said.
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