Investment Migration

Country: Switzerland

City: Geneva

Abstr. due: 13.03.2016

Dates: 06.06.16 — 06.06.16

Area Of Sciences: Law; Political science;

Organizing comittee e-mail:

Organizers: The Global Migration Centre (Graduate Institute, Geneva) and the Groningen Centre for European Financial Services (University of Groningen)


The last decades saw a rapid rise in the kind of migration regulation, which attaches the acquisition of citizenship or residence rights in numerous jurisdictions around the world to making a donation (like in Malta or St Kitts and Nevis) or an investment (like in the US, Latvia or Portugal). While not entirely new, as the famous International Court of Justice case of Nottebohm is an early example of citizenship by donation, it reached huge proportions in the years following the introduction of the Canadian Business Immigration Programme in 1978. As of 2015 roughly half of the countries in the world - 89 jurisdictions to be precise - have ius pecuniae or ius doni rules. While these are usually divided into citizenship and residence programmes, the line between the two is blurred: only 18 out of 89 require physical presence in the territory of the jurisdiction, while the majority, even if not distributing citizenship right away, allow for naturalization based on the years of investment residence. It is now clear that investment migration - understood as the acquisition of legal residence and, eventually, citizenship, in exchange for a donation or investment into the economy of the jurisdiction concerned - took an established place alongside other traditional modes of residence and citizenship acquisition. This global trend has been largely ignored by scholars and this conference aims at reversing the scholarly silence trend. Rather than presenting what we see in the vein of a moral panic or high exceptionalism, the convenors believe that the rise of investment migration deserves a meticulous scholarly treatment. It is unquestionable that the current trend raises countless issues, from the abuse of ius doni to get rid of stateless minorities (attested by the deals between the UAE and the Comoros Islands); trading in de facto sub-standard citizenships (like in the former case of the Kingdom of Tonga) to the issues of costs and benefits of the migration flows generated in the context of this new trend both for the countries concerned (does the UK really benefit from its investment residence scheme?) and for the individuals acquiring residence and citizenship through pledging huge amounts to foreign jurisdictions. It is clear that investment migration can boost the economy. It is equally clear that it can become a vehicle of corruption and tax evasion. By looking at these and related issues, the first Investment Migration conference aims at establishing a solid ground for the serious academic conversation on the issues of citizenship and residence by investment.

Conference Web-Site: