deVere Investor Insight - Q4 2020

Investor Insight // Q4 - 2020 38 The coronavirus-fuelled lockdowns, closed borders and travel restrictions across the globe have led to an unparalleled 50% rise in demand year-on-year for deVere’s residency and citizenship service. Having a second passport is becoming far more commonplace and accepted nowadays. Indeed, a recent Bloomberg report revealed the UK has awarded 216,398 Hong Kong residents with British National Overseas (BNO) passports between January and October 2020, far higher than any yearly figure going back to 1997, as per the UK Passport Office under the Freedom of Information Act. Just during the month of October last year, 59798 HK residents were granted BNOs, a 52% rise over the previous year, equating to more than five passports being granted every minute. Traditionally, a second passport was viewed by many as the ultimate luxury and a true status symbol. Yet revert back to the present, and we can see a major shift as a direct result of the Covid-19 crisis. Being in possession of a second passport or overseas residency now is not simply a luxury, ‘nice to have’ accessory, it is a ‘must have’. Whether the motive is personal, being able to visit family overseas or perhaps for business reasons, an increasing number of people are focused on securing their freedom of movement following the recent travel curbs. Nevertheless, the attraction of a second passport goes far beyond the coronavirus pandemic. According to Jan Dvorak, president of Travisa, a passport services company in Washington, D.C.: “Savvy travellers and business travellers want to make sure they have two passports based on nationality because there are certain advantages.” These advantages include visa-free travel, world-class healthcare and education, political and economic stability, reduced tax liabilities and a wider variety of business and career opportunities. Political stability is perhaps one of the principal motives of looking into obtaining a second passport, as echoed by Alex Thomas, the corporate manager of a visa and passport services firm in the U.S. who said his clients are “uneasy traveling with a U.S. passport, and if they have an additional passport, they prefer to use it... four or five people a month who ask specifically what they need to do to get a passport for another country... Because of the way things are going in the world,” he said, and he forecasts that number to rise. Of course, every host country has

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