What We Think
June 23, 2022
Transparency in the Investment Migration Industry
Amongst the three most common categories of arguments brought against the investment migration industry, being that the industry is a "security threat", the outcomes are ethically "objectionable", and there is a lack of transparency across the industry. This transparency argument offers opportunity for standardisation within the industry.
It is indeed the case that investment migration programmes have the capacity to become a great deal more forthcoming with regards to the timely disclosure of key data. While it may be difficult to access the industry from a security or ethical view point, it is within the industry's power to demonstrate high levels of transparency and, thereby, to neutralise and invalidate at least one of the three main criticisms against it.
Investment Migration programmes across the globe differ greatly in their level of transparency. Standardisation of transparency is key to improve the image of the industry and maintain a low level of negative press. Information in terms of the criteria by which applicants are approved or rejected, in terms of the statistics regarding the number of application each year, the origin and nationality if the applicants, the fiscal amounts they contribute, and conclusively how the money raised through investment migration programmes is spent by government needs? to be made public.
But transparency, while a justifiable ideal, must be balanced with the key principle of privacy.
The majority of applicants, such as those born into autocratic jurisdictions, have legitimate and morally justifiable reasons for wishing to limit the number of individuals and organizations aware of citizenship and residence status. Publishing specific information of applicants from certain countries could jeopardize their safety from unjust persecution, as well as complicate the CRBI country's diplomatic relations with the country of origin.
The two aims of transparency and privacy are in direct conflict and, since neither may be dispensed with in favour of the other, the industry continually grapples with need for a compromise. There is a line which needs to be between showing the media, and intragovernmental bodies that the industry has nothing to hide, whilst also demonstrating to applicants that their personal data will be respected.
To that end, it is important to provide frank, objective, and measurable benchmarks and standards of transparency by which investment migration programmes can evaluate themselves and each other. The hope is that standardised benchmark for transparency in the industry will instigate public and private debate, self-reflection as programme administrators, and ultimately lead to lasting improvements in investment migration industry.
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