The recent geopolitical situation in the Middle East has motivated a significant number of Asian high-net-worth individuals to consider moving westward towards European markets, contributing considerably to the development of so-called 'rich immigration'.
As such, the government of Montenegro has been working on an attractive citizenship-by-investment programme that is expected to provide a significant boost to the economy by allowing the expansion of various forms of business from abroad. For three years, starting from October 2018, the government of this NATO-member country will grant citizenship by naturalisation to 2,000 qualifying entrepreneurs from non-EU countries.
Per the scheme, foreign investors will be considered eligible for naturalisation by exception if they meet one of the following investment criteria:
- Invest €250,000 ($292,000) in projects in non-developed areas of Montenegro (mainly located in the north of the country), provided that these projects have prior government approval; or
- Invest €450,000 in projects in developed areas of Montenegro (the southern region), again with prior government approval.
An additional €100,000 (government fund donation) will be required by the government for each submitted application. This amount will be used for regions under development in Montenegro.
The government has stated that the application procedure will be speedy, allowing for permanent residence status within three weeks and subsequently citizenship being granted within six months.
We advise non-EU nationals thinking about investing in Europe to consider seriously the option of investing in strategically-located Montenegro, which is expected to be a full EU member by 2025. Coupled with the skilled workforce, stable tax system and general safety and stability, the new naturalisation incentives make this small coastal country a very attractive European investment destination.