The Super-Rich Are Already Plotting Their Escape From Trumpism – Mother Jones

Numbers are very small but an interesting increase nevertheless:

This is not a time of optimism in America. People are reeling from inflation, gun violence, partisan rancor, race-baiting, a ruthlessly divisive Supreme Court decision, the long tail of a pandemic, and the very real prospect of political violence. A significant majority of the public, polls suggest, thinks the nation is headed in a bad direction. Nearly three-quarters of the people NBC News polled in August said as much, and more than a thirdpredicted that things would get worse over the next five years.

Our societal dysfunction has progressed to the point where many well-heeled Americans are looking for an escape hatch. And David Lesperance’s phone is ringing off the hook.

Lesperance, whom I profiled for Mother Jones in 2017, is a Canada-born lawyer who has specialized in arranging foreign citizenships for extraordinarily wealthy people, from athletes and celebrities to founders, investors, and corporate bigwigs with assets ranging from about $25 million to $20 billion. He calls them “golden geese” because they pay an awful lot in taxes. (They manage to avoid an awful lot, too.)

Over the years, Lesperance—who now lives in Gdynia, Poland—has helped hundreds of ultra-high-net-worth Americans relinquish their US citizenship, usually in order to escape the long arm of the IRS. (The United States is the only country besides Somalia that imposes taxes based on citizenship, not residency.) Other US clients just want a contingency plan—a legal “go bag” containing an extra passport or two—that a family might deploy if the taxman ever gets too aggressive.

But the Trump years were pretty good for America’s richest,and expatriation is expensive. The government charges a steep exit tax: a one-time capital-gains levy of 23.8 percent on the combined net value of a person’s assets. If that’s $1 billion, you’ll have a $238 million tax bill, plus legal fees.

Lesperance and his frequent collaborator, Massachusetts-based attorney Melvin Warshaw, saw interest in their IRS-avoidance services surge in November 2020, after Joe Biden, who pledged to make America’s wealthiest families “finally pay their fair share,” defeated Donald Trump. They saw another spike in January 2021, when Democrats took the Senate, and again in March 2021, when Elizabeth Warren rolled out her Ultra-Millionaire Tax Act.

Also good for their business was Biden’s Build Back Better plan, which aimed to boost taxes on capital gains and corporate income, end the carried interest tax loophole, and kill GRATs—sneaky legal entities that half of America’s richest families now rely upon to pass huge tax-free fortunes to their heirs. That failed Democratic effort was followed by Sen. Ron Wyden’s (similarly doomed) billionaire tax plan and Biden’s short-lived encore—both nixed by Sen. Joe Manchin. Mega-wealth crisis averted!

But the two lawyers more recently began seeing a new trend, Lesperance says. Namely, “clients engaging us not for tax reasons, but rather to have an alternative should the US turn into MAGA America.”

Unlike their tax-obsessed clients, Warshaw explains, the new crowd isn’t looking for a permanent exit: “They’re saying, ‘I want options. I don’t mind paying high income tax, it’s just things are getting real hot in the kitchen and I want the ability to bug out—to go somewhere else for a while, because I don’t know what’s going to happen in the 2022 election. And I have little kids. I want a safe place for them.’”

Recent developments, particularly the Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe v. Wade, have fueled demand for dual citizenship even among the non-wealthy. But securing one is pricey if you don’t have a relative who is a citizen elsewhere. Lesperance’s new “client zero,” he says, dates to early this year, when the Atlantic ran an essay titled, “Trump’s Next Coup Has Already Begun.

Technically, the next attempt to overthrow a national election may not qualify as a coup,” staff writer Barton Gellman began, ominously:

“It will rely on subversion more than violence, although each will have its place. If the plot succeeds, the ballots cast by American voters will not decide the presidency in 2024. Thousands of votes will be thrown away, or millions, to produce the required effect. The winner will be declared the loser. The loser will be certified president-elect.

The prospect of this democratic collapse is not remote. People with the motive to make it happen are manufacturing the means. Given the opportunity, they will act. They are acting already.”

Gellman hit a nerve. Three would-be clients cited the essay in a span of two days, Lesperance says: “There’s a significant fear there. They look at the daily news, they see, ‘Okay, [Supreme Court Justice Samuel] Alito said this [Dobbs decision] only deals with abortion, and [Clarence] Thomas goes on in his dissent to say, no, we’re winding up for this, we’re throwing it back to the states.’ And then they see politicians talking about a nationwide ban on abortion. They see a very legal search done on Mar-a-Lago,” and all of a sudden people are talking about civil war.

When Warshaw returned to work from vacation the week after a draft of the Dobbs decision leaked, nine new inquiries awaited him—one or two per week was the previous norm—from clients sufficiently alarmed to drop $500 on an initial telephone consultation. “That at least showed me that they were ready to put some money on the line,” he says.

“I did three of them today. And two yesterday,” Lesperance adds. For every client interested in expatriating for tax purposes, he estimates, “we now see 10 looking for a bug-out.” Securing a dual citizenship is an unfamiliar experience for most Americans, “so there’s a very big learning curve. The last call I had, the guy kind of panicked and had laid out money for like five different things—of which he only needed one.”

Since June 24, the date of the official Dobbs ruling, he and Warshaw have signed on 23 new clients—of whom only a handful were tax-motivated. Another 36 have completed consultations and received engagement letters, and 14 more are awaiting their consultations. In addition to super-rich clients, the new crop includes some professionals in the $5 million to $10 million range.

They are concerned, roughly in this order, Lesperance says, about the state of American democracy (voter suppression, rejection of election outcomes, MAGA subversion), the outlawing of abortion and what the court may do next, and the specter of domestic terrorism and mass shooting events.They aren’t necessarily liberal. One client, a billionaire hedge-funder who would call himself a Reagan Republican, Lesperance says, just didn’t want his little kids to have to deal with the trauma of active shooter drills at school. He knew they probably wouldn’t ever be victims of a mass shooting, “but he knows that they’re going to be thinking about it every time they go to soccer practice or McDonald’s or SpongeBob’s new movie.” So he’s arranging for his wife and kids to live in a less trigger-happy country, and he’ll fly back and forth to be with them.

The new clients also include “a bunch” of former high-level government officials who served under Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush—“remember, to a MAGA you’re a RINO if you served for W,” Lesperance says. They “really got freaked out, not only by Dobbs but also by Trump’s announcement that he’s gonna get rid of the civil service and replace it with loyal flunkies.”

One would hope people who believe in good governance might stay around and fight the good fight. It’s not as though they are giving up, Lesperance says. “They’re sitting there saying, ‘I have a giant target on my back. So, yes, I’m gonna vote. Yes, I’m gonna join organizations and fund organizations to get voter registration. I’ll call that fire prevention,’” he says. “‘But I’m also gonna get fire insurance. And you know, depending on the outcome in the midterms, and what outcome comes in the general, I want to be able to bug out, and I want to take my family.’”

Source: The Super-Rich Are Already Plotting Their Escape From Trumpism – Mother Jones

The Evolving Price of U.S. Citizenship [by investment EB-5]

Useful overview and history of the US citizenship by investment program:

Wealthy foreigners have had special access to U.S. citizenship since 1990. For $900,000, then $1.8 million, and now $1.05 million, the EB-5 Visa program has offered a 2-year path to citizenship. Over the last 14 months, the path has changed, disappeared, and reappeared in different forms.

Uncertainty has stalled visa applications and large commercial projects. But with passage of legislation in March, 2022, and upcoming regulations by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“UCSIS”), much of the path is now clear again. This article provides a short history of the EB-5 program, recounts key events from the last 14 months of chaos, and walks through the rules to know going forward.

The Basics of EB-5

As UCSIS puts it, Congress created the EB-5 path to citizenship to “benefit the U.S. economy by providing an incentive for foreign capital investment that creates or preserves U.S. jobs.” It’s the fifth “employment-based” path to permanent residency after those for (1) priority workers, (2) professionals holding advanced degrees, (3) skilled workers, and (4) “certain special immigrants.” Before 1990, a foreign investor who couldn’t meet those criteria had limited options, even if wealthy.

Those granted an EB-5 visa receive conditional permanent resident status for a 2-year period (i.e., a “green card”). After two years of compliance with the requirements (discussed below), permanent residence is pretty much guaranteed. The same benefits apply for one’s immediate family members.

In 1992, Congress authorized the use of “Regional Centers,” allowing foreign investors to pool investments in a single (though typically larger) enterprise that satisfies the EB-5 requirements for multiple investors. As of the end of 2021, over 632 Regional Centers have been authorized to accept EB-5 investments.

Who and How Many?

The EB-5 program is limited by statute to 10,000 visas annually. In 2019, of the 9,478 EB-5 visas, UCSIS granted 77% of visas to investors from Asia. 96% of visas granted were based on investment in a Regional Center.

Foreigners have invested over $40 billion in U.S. businesses through the EB-5 program. In 2019 alone, EB-5 applicants invested over $5 billion.

A Recent End to Uncertainty

Three events in the last 14 months upended the EB-5 process and community.

On June 22, 2021, a federal district court in California invalidated regulations from 2017 governing the EB-5 program. Among other things, the regulations had doubled the standard investment threshold from $900,000 to $1.8 million. The court held that the regulations were improperly created and effectively revoked them.

One week later, on June 30, 2021, the statutory authorization for Regional Centers expired. This has occurred several times before, and each time creates significant uncertainty for all involved. Without authorization, Regional Centers cannot support new EB-5 visas.

The expiration was partly cured this March with the enactment of the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act of 2022. The law re-authorized use of Regional Centers through 2027, but also surprised many by repealing the previous statutory authorization. As a result, USCIS announced that “regional centers previously designated…are no longer authorized” and must seek redesignation. Business associations focused on the EB–5 program have expressed concerns and at least one regional center has sued.

Evolving Eligibility

Eligibility for an EB-5 visa requires that a foreigner make (1) an at-risk investment of (2) a threshold amount (3) of legally obtained funds in (4) a new U.S. business in which (5) the foreigner actively participates and that (6) creates at least 10 jobs. Requirements 3, 4, and 5 are usually easy to satisfy, and 6 much more so when an investment is made through a Regional Center.

1. At-Risk Investment. The foreigner’s invested capital must be placed at risk. Thus, she must make an equity investment, not a loan, personal guarantee, or promise to pay. While she can place funds in escrow pending visa approval, those funds cannot be kept separate past approval.

Investments in Regional Centers are subjected additional rules. For example, to ensure that funds invested in a Regional Center are creating jobs, they only count toward investment eligibility thresholds if they’re held by the entities closest to the job creation. Thus, funds aren’t counted if held and used by a holding company (e.g., to satisfy start-up and administrative expenses, including attorney fees, administrative fees, and rent).

2. Threshold Amount. The standard threshold investment is $1.05 million, increased from the original threshold of $900,000, and decreased from its height of $1.8 million under regulations invalidated last year.

The threshold investment is reduced for “rural” and “targeted employment areas.” As of this March, the new threshold is $800,000, increased from the original threshold of $500,000, and decreased from its height of $900,000.

3. Legally Obtained Funds. This requirement is self-evident. Notably, USCIS may and often does request evidence to demonstrate the source of funds. Greater burdens of proof apply for funds from Iran and other countries of concern.

4. New Business. In fact, the reference to “new business” is highly misleading. Since 2009, foreigners have been able to invest in existing businesses. That is, unless the existing business was formed before 1990. Even then, investing in an existing business is permitted under common circumstances.

5. Active Involvement. Though not stated by legislation, USCIS rules hold that a “purely passive” investment is insufficient. However, those rules also reference the sufficiency of policy formulation. In fact, according to the USCIS Policy Manual, it’s enough for an investor to have the minimal rights, powers, and duties typical of a limited partner.

6. Job Creation. The target business must create 10 full-time jobs for 2.5 years after the visa is granted. To demonstrate that this will happen, a foreigner’s visa application must include a business plan showing how the job creation requirement will be met (e.g., market analysis, competitor comparisons, financial projections).

This is by far the most difficult hurdle of the program. Says business advisor and tax lawyer Roberto Santos, “The business plan needs to hit all the criteria they’re looking for. Preparing a good application is very much about process.”

Satisfying the job creation requirement is made far easier by investing through a Regional Center. In doing so, investors are permitted to count both direct and indirect jobs. That is, jobs created by a Regional Center’s suppliers and service providers are counted, whether or not they’re in the targeted geographic area. The job creation requirement is also significantly reduced for failing target businesses, though that’s typically far less attractive to immigrating investors.

Looking Forward

The last 14 months created great uncertainty for EB-5 applicants and would-be Regional Centers. But after the legislation passed in March, and with upcoming regulations, we now have significant clarity on the critical eligibility requirements of the program. No doubt we’ll see more and more immigrants interested in using this path to citizenship.

Notably, a leading immigration treatise observes that the U.S. tax structure is the “main disincentive” to use of the program. This separate article discusses how some foreign investors mitigate the impact of becoming subject to worldwide taxation.

Source: The Evolving Price of U.S. Citizenship

How a Canadian lawyer is helping the growing number of ultra-rich looking to exit China

Interesting profile of Canadian immigration lawyer David Lesperance who specializes in business immigration.
Remain unconvinced that governments can design investor immigration or citizenship programs for the ultra-rich that provide meaningful benefits to Canada and Canadians as both the previous federal program, Quebec’s current program and programs of other countries largely demonstrate:
When a Chinese-Canadian billionaire faced a closed-door trial last month, four years after being snatched from Hong Kong, the event did not go unnoticed among China’s wealthy entrepreneurs.
It was the latest sign that they could be next as Beijing pushes down on the country’s most affluent business people, says a Canadian lawyer whose unique practice focuses on building back-up plans for “ultra-high-net-worth” individuals.
That nervousness is fueling a growing and urgent interest in leaving mainland China or Hong Kong, says David Lesperance.

The number of very-rich business people based in the region contacting him for help in getting out has tripled in the last couple of years, he says, as President Xi Jinping consolidates power, eliminates opponents and tightens his grip on once-free-wheeling Hong Kong.

And they tend to be wealthier, often worth billions, people who had been entrenched where they were until recently.

“These are clients who realize the chances of getting caught have increased dramatically — to not a will but a when question,” said Lesperance. “That group has now for the first time really contemplated ‘I’m going to have to leave some day. There is definitely a wildfire.’”

“We’ve been very busy since the beginning of the year.”

The resulting flight of “golden geese” could be an economic boon for the countries where they land. Canada is definitely among the mix of possible destinations but governments here should do more to attract the rich fleeing China — and their fortunes, said the lawyer

But luring such migrants is not without controversy. Ottawa’s investor immigrant program was actually cancelled in 2014 because of what the then-Conservative government said were an array of problems. Those immigrants had to fork out a relatively tiny investment, paid less taxes here, on average, than nannies, spent little time in Canada, and often learned neither English or French, critics said.

So far, China has not seen a major exodus of its richest citizens. It’s still home to 626 billionaires, second only to the United States’ 724, according to Forbes.

But Lesperance is not the only advisor noticing a growing trend among China’s wealthy to move at least their money out of the country.

Increasing numbers are parking assets in Singapore via the city state’s “family office” system, according to a survey in March by CNBC. Jenga, one of the firms that handles such transfers, told the news outlet it had seen demand double in just the previous 12 months.

Lesperance seems to come by the work honestly, having been raised in an almost borderless environment himself. A native of Windsor, Ont., his father worked in the auto industry across the river in Detroit and two of his siblings were born in a hospital there, giving them instant dual citizenship

He says his practice — which combines immigration and taxation advice — is divided about equally between clients in China/Hong Kong, the Middle East and the United States. He’s now based in Poland, where he can fit clients from multiple time zones into his daily schedule.

Many of Saudi Arabia’s wealthy are worried about Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman rising to the throne when his father, the king, dies. In the U.S., clients looking to decamp are divided between those who fear Democrats will boost taxes on the wealthy, and others who worry about a sharp shift to the right if the Republicans regain power nationally.

But the case of China highlights the dramatic changes Xi has wrought since coming to power in 2012, and the shifting role of business tycoons in the nominally Communist country.

Anxieties began with the 2019 proposal of an extradition treaty from Hong Kong to China, said Lesperance. It has increased as Beijing tightened the screws on Hong Kong, introducing a widely criticized National Security Law, imprisoning dissidents including media mogul Jimmy Lai and curbing the limited amount of democracy in the city’s government.

And there have been further scares on the mainland. Beijing recently quashed the thriving private-education industry and applied new pressure on the high-tech sector. Jack Ma, billionaire head of the Alibaba technology conglomerate, disappeared for months in 2020 and 2021 after he publicly criticized Chinese regulators, as an IPO for his Ant Group was suddenly axed.

Other moguls have also disappeared mysteriously. Xi’s announcement of a “common prosperity” program to more evenly spread wealth across the Chinese population has further put the very rich under pressure. Many China experts speculate that such campaigns are also about eliminating rivals to the Party’s — and Xi’s — power and control.

And then there is Xiao Jianhua, the Chinese born-and-bred Canadian citizen who was taken from his home in a Hong Kong hotel in 2017, surfacing just recently for a hasty, secretly held trial in China on unclear charges. His family in Toronto is still waiting to hear the verdict.

The case is “often cited” by clients who fear they could similarly run afoul of the government, said Lesperance. His bottom-line advice is that they prepare in advance for just that happening, rather than wait and see if things turn bad.

“You want to prevent the problem and avoid the wildfire, as opposed to trying to put it out after your house is on fire.”

Lesperance tells clients they must focus on moving both “ass and assets” — finding a place for their money and themselves and their family. That means deciding on a new home that works both “at the board table and the breakfast table,” somewhere the children can get a good education and the entrepreneur can keep running his or her business.

Popular destinations include Australia, New Zealand, the U.K., the U.S. and this country.

To get into Canada, those wealthy migrants can set up a subsidiary of their business here and obtain work permits as corporate transfers. Provincial “nominee” programs provide a pathway to permanent residence but they’re a “dog’s breakfast,” said Lesperance.

He recommends Ottawa revive the investor immigrant class, with reforms to address past issues. That could include requiring the person to provide a clear financial benefit to Canada, a system to weed out money launderers and other “undesirables,” strict application of tax laws, and imposing a large fee to cover the cost of processing those and other applications, the lawyer said. With all of it done in a clear, timely way.

“The thing to remember is that Canada is in competition for these Golden Geese and must present an opportunity which is competitive with all the other countries which are also trying to get this group.”

Source: How a Canadian lawyer is helping the growing number of ultra-rich looking to exit China

New Zealand launches new immigration visa category, opens from September | Mint

Higher threshold than most, along with focus on active not passive investment:

To attract experienced, high-value investors to invest in domestic businesses, the New Zealand government has created a new investor migrant visa category. The new Active Investor Plus visa category will replace the existing Investor 1 and Investor 2 visa categories. Eligibility criteria for New Zealand’s Active Investor Plus visa category includes a minimum $5 million investment and only 50% of that can be invested in listed equities.

“We have so many fantastic businesses in New Zealand that are making a real name for themselves in the global marketplace. Our Government has a goal to support these businesses to grow into even more successful global brands, and updating our investor visa settings is a key part of our strategy to attract high-value investors,” Economic and Regional Development Minister Stuart Nash said.

Source: New Zealand launches new immigration visa category, opens from September | Mint

Citizenship-by-Investment: Henley Global Citizens Report 2022 Q2 Press Release

Always interesting to see where the money is going. Canada is on the list for the start-up visa program, which is distinct from most of the other programs listed in terms of being based more on actual investment than just residence (but look forward to an eventual IRCC evaluation to see how effective it is):

“A tsunami of private capital has left Russia and Ukraine, the UK has lost its wealth hub crown, and the US is fading fast as a magnet for the world’s wealthy, with the UAE expected to overtake it by attracting the largest net inflows of millionaires globally in 2022, according to the latest Henley Global Citizens Report, which tracks private wealth and investment migration trends worldwide.

The Q2 report released today by international residence and citizenship by investment advisory firm Henley & Partners exclusively features the latest projected 2022 net inflows and outflows of US dollar millionaires (namely, the difference between the number of HNWIs who relocate to and the number who emigrate from a country) forecast by New World Wealth. The firm is the only known independent wealth research company systematically tracking international private wealth migration trends over the past decade. The HNWI migration figures focus only on people with wealth of USD 1 million or more and who have truly moved — namely, those who stay in their new country more than half of the year.

As expected, Russia has suffered the biggest emigration of millionaires over the past six months, with forecast net outflows of 15,000 by the end of 2022 — a massive 15% of its HNWI population and 9,500 more than in 2019, pre-pandemic. Russia’s invasion is in turn driving a steep spike in outgoing HNWIs from Ukraine, which is predicted to suffer its highest net loss in the country’s history — 2,800 millionaires (42% of its HNWI population) and a net loss of 2,400 more than 2019. No country-specific figures are available for 2020 and 2021 owing to Covid-related lockdowns and travel restrictions.

Top 10 countries gaining and losing millionaires in 2022

Forecast figures in the Henley Global Citizens Report show the top 10 countries in terms of net inflows of HNWIs in 2022 will be the UAE, Australia, Singapore, Israel, Switzerland, the US, Portugal, Greece, Canada, and New Zealand. Large numbers of millionaires are also expected to move to ‘the three Ms’: Malta, Mauritius, and Monaco. On the flip side, the 10 countries where the highest net outflows of HNWIs are predicted are Russia, China, India, Hong Kong, Ukraine, Brazil, the UK, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, and Indonesia.

Dr. Juerg Steffen, CEO of Henley & Partners, says HNWI migration was a rising trend over the past decade until, understandably, it dipped in 2020 and 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. ‘The 2022 forecast reflects an extremely volatile environment worldwide. By the end of the year, 88,000 millionaires are expected to have relocated to new countries, 22,000 fewer than in 2019 when 110,000 moved. Next year, the largest millionaire migration flows on record are predicted — 125,000 — as affluent investors and their families earnestly prepare for the new post-Covid world, with an as yet-to-be revealed rearrangement of the global order, and the ever-present threat of climate change as a constant backdrop.’

Andrew Amoils, Head of Research at New World Wealth says HNWI migration figures are an excellent barometer for the health of an economy. ‘Affluent individuals are extremely mobile, and their movements can provide an early warning signal into future country trends. Countries that draw wealthy individuals and families to migrate to their shores tend to be robust, with low crime rates, competitive tax rates, and attractive business opportunities.’

UK and USA – the mighty are falling

According to the latest data, destinations that traditionally attracted wealthy investors are losing their luster. The UK, once touted as the world’s financial center, continues to see a steady loss of millionaires, with net outflows of 1,500 predicted for 2022. This trend began five years ago when the Brexit vote and rising taxes saw more HNWIs leaving the country than entering for the first time. The UK has suffered a total net loss of approximately 12,000 millionaires since 2017.

The appeal of another financial giant, the US, is also dwindling fast. America is notably less popular among migrating millionaires today than pre-Covid, perhaps owing in part to the threat of higher taxes. The country still attracts more HNWIs than it loses to emigration, with a net inflow of 1,500 projected for 2022, although this is a staggering 86% drop from 2019 levels, which saw a net inflow of 10,800 millionaires.

Commenting on the geopolitics of millionaire migration in the Henley Global Citizens Report, award-winning journalist Misha Glenny says private wealth growth is bound to remain anemic in the US this year as political unpredictability looms. ‘In November, the mid-term elections are likely to return a Republican House and possibly the Senate, too. With culture wars between Democrats and Republicans mounting once more with the leaked decision of the Supreme Court to overturn the Roe vs. Wade ruling on abortions, some fear we are entering another period of dramatic instability such as that which characterized the Trump years. As a consequence, some high-net-worth investors will doubtless think twice before committing their wealth to the Americas.’

The UAE’s stellar ascent as a wealth hub

By contrast, the UAE has become the focus of intense interest among affluent investors and is expected to see the highest net influx of HNWIs globally in 2022, with 4,000 forecast — a dramatic increase of 208% versus 2019’s net inflow of 1,300 and one of its largest on record. This mirrors the country’s remarkable rise in the Henley Passport Index rankings over the past decade as it focused on attracting tourism and trade by implementing a succession of mutually reciprocated visa waivers. The UAE is now doing the same with its competitive, agile approach to adapting immigration regulations to attract private wealth, capital, and talent.

Glenny says affluent Russians seeking to escape the impact of the devastating Western sanctions on their country have started to move to the UAE and Israel in large numbers. ‘An underlying pattern was already detectable in advance of the invasion of Ukraine. Well before the imposition of sanctions on the Russian banking system, there was a tsunami of capital leaving the country, largely prompted by the increasingly capricious governing style of President Vladimir Putin and his demands of loyalty made on middle-class and wealthy Russians. They have now come under further pressure from many Western countries, such as Britain, where they had previously made their homes.’

Israel, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore among the big winners 

As Glenny points out, net HNWI inflows are on the rise in Israel, with a figure of 2,500 forecast for 2022 — a significant increase of 79% since 2019.

Long-term high performer Australia consistently attracts large numbers of HNWIs. New World Wealth estimates that over 80,000 US dollar millionaires have moved to the country over the past 20 years. In 2022, the net inflow is expected to be 3,500 — the second-highest globally. Neighboring New Zealand is expected to receive a net inflow of 800 HNWIs in 2022, and Asia’s prime hub of affluence, Singapore, continues to attract millionaires, with net inflows of 2,800 expected — a prolific 87% increase compared to 2019’s figure of 1,500.

Commenting in the Henley Global Citizens Report, FutureMap founder and international bestselling author Dr. Parag Khanna says, ‘Globalization is not dead — and certainly not from the perspective of Asia, where inward capital flows are rising on the back of a post-Covid reopening and genuine investments across the region in productive capacity. With multiple factory floors, multi-trillion-dollar economies, rapid urbanization, a rising middle class, and surging technological penetration, Asia’s continued ascent remains the major economic story of our age.’

China, Hong Kong (SAR China), India, Brazil among the biggest losers 

Wealth emigration is beginning to hurt in China, with net outflows of 10,000 HNWIs expected in 2022. Amoils says, ‘General wealth growth in the country has been slowing over the past few years. As such, recent outflows of HNWIs may be more damaging than in the past. China’s deteriorating relationships with Australia and the US are also a major long-term concern.’

In Hong Kong (SAR China) HNWI departures continue albeit at a slower pace, with projected net millionaire outflows of 3,000 in 2022 (a 29% drop compared to 2019). Brazil’s millionaire exodus is intensifying with net outflows of 2,500 HNWIs predicted — up 79% compared to 2019. India is expected to suffer a net loss of approximately 8,000 HNWIs in 2022, up 14% since 2019 when the net loss was 7,000. However, India produces far more new millionaires than it loses to migration each year.

Commenting on wealth growth projections in the Henley Global Citizens Report, Prof. Trevor Williams, former Chief Economist at Lloyds Bank Commercial, says emerging economies are forecast to boom in the next decade. ‘As the world economy grows, economies in Africa, Latin America, and elsewhere in the Global South are catching up with high-income economies. And as this report shows, they will see a more significant number of millionaires and billionaires in the next decade. For example, the number of HNWIs in Sri Lanka is forecast to increase by 90% by 2031, while India and Mauritius’s millionaire growth is forecast at 80%, and China’s at 50%, compared to 20% in the USA and 10% in France, Germany, Italy, and the UK.’

Relentless uncertainty fuels demand for investment migration 

Henley & Partners received the highest number of investment migration program enquiries on record in the first quarter of 2022 — an increase of 55% compared to the previous quarter, which was itself record-breaking. The top four nationalities currently driving demand are Russians, Indians, Americans, and Brits, and for the first time ever, Ukrainians are in the top 10 globally.

The Portugal Golden Residence Permit Program remains the most popular program in 2022, followed by the St. Kitts and Nevis Citizenship by Investment Program. Next is Canada, with the Canada Start-Up Visa Program the fastest way for entrepreneurs and wealthy individuals to access Canadian residence and the North American market. Rising in popularity this year is the Greece Golden Visa Program, and last in the top five is the Antigua and Barbuda Citizenship by Investment Program.

Dominic Volek, Group Head of Private Clients at Henley & Partners, says historically, many wealthy individuals acquired residence rights or citizenship without moving to those countries. ‘Recent turmoil is causing this to shift — more investors are considering relocating their families to other countries for a range of reasons, from safety and security, to education and healthcare, to climate resilience and even crypto-friendliness. It is important to note that nine of the top ten countries for forecast net HNWI inflows in 2022 host formal investment migration programs, which encourage foreign direct investment in return for the right to reside or citizenship. Investors can now see the value of diversifying their domicile portfolios as the ultimate hedge against both regional and global volatility.’

The Henley Global Citizens Report also features regional insights by investment migration industry leaders representing seven key markets: the AmericasEurope and the UKAfrica, the Middle EastSouth AsiaEast Asia, and Southeast Asia and Oceania alongside expert commentaries by notable private wealth industry leaders such as Albert S. Yeo, President of BDO Private Bank Inc. (Philippines), Bijal Ajinkya, Partner in the Direct Tax, Private Client and Investment Funds Practices of Khaitan & Co (India), Yannick Archambault, Partner and National Leader of the KPMG Family Office in Canada, Matthias Ribback, who manages multi-asset portfolios for US clients of Vontobel Swiss Wealth Advisors AG, Murray Sarelius and Michelle Zhou from KPMG China, Ladi Runsewe, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of UR Family Office (UFO) in Nigeria, Ayuli Jemide, founder of DETAIL Commercial Solicitors (Nigeria), Tim Searle, Chairman of Globaleye (Dubai), and Giles Maynard, Senior Financial Advisor and Regional Manager at Carrick Wealth in South Africa.”

Source: Henley Global Citizens Report 2022 Q2

Turkish Bar Associations Union takes citizenship through investment to top court

Pushback on citizenship-by-investment program given negative impacts:

The Turkish Union of Bar Associations (TBB) has applied to the country’s top court for the reversal of a regulation allowing foreigners to gain Turkish citizenship through investment, Diken news site reported on Monday.

“The current regulation, which came into effect in 2013, is both in violation of the Constitution and lacking any legal foundation,” it cited the TBB as saying in the application submitted to the Council of State.

Turkey’s “Citizenship by Investment Programme,” which allows citizenship through the sale of housing to foreigners, came into effect almost a decade ago. The programme initially allowed foreigners who owned property in Turkey equivalent to $1 million to become citizens. This amount was reduced to 250,000 in 2018, sparking a rapid hike in foreigners seeking to own a home in the country.

The figure was increased to $400,000 on Monday, according to a decree published in the Official Gazette signed off by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

The latest change was prompted by a spike in the price of new and existing homes of almost 100 percent annually, which has made it effectively impossible for citizens to purchase homes. Builders in the country are charging more for new homes after the raw material costs jumped, partly due to a slump in the value of the lira, which lost 44 percent of its value against the dollar in 2021 and around 25 percent this year.

“The Turkish Republic’s constitution urges that the conditions for attaining citizenship should be regulated through the law,” the TBB said. “There is no regulation in the (related) law, which states that …. Turkish citizenship can be obtained through investment made in foreign currency.”

The citizenship programme also provides a Turkish passport to foreigners who invest  $500,000 in government bonds, companies, investment funds or a local bank account.

Erdoğan’s government has come under criticism for offering investment incentives to foreign nationals as citizens continue to feel the squeeze of soaring inflation on their wallets.

Last month, Erdoğan said his government would help alleviate the cost of higher property prices by offering zero interest rate mortgages to low income families. He also said the government would provide financing for unfinished housing projects provided the developers froze prices for a year.

Source: Turkish Bar Associations Union takes citizenship through investment to top court

Commodification of EU citizenship: Will the EU ban ‘golden passports’?

More on EU debates and tightening:

Europe is not quite the same since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. European reaction to the war is in many ways strengthening the old seams of the EU project and, since its outbreak, one of the moral contradictions facing EU member states in recent years, the sale of citizenship, is now being tackled with much greater consensus.

Following the 2008 financial crisis, which hit southern European economies particularly hard, a number of countries, such as Portugal in 2012 and Spain in 2013, decided to set up schemes to enable the purchase of residence visas for “international investors”, that is, third-country nationals with sufficient purchasing power to secure the right to reside in the EU against payment, providing them with the key to full European citizenship within just a few years. Greece, Ireland, Italy, Malta and Cyprus soon went down the same route. They were followed not long after by the Netherlands, Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia and even Luxembourg.

In countries such as Bulgaria, Malta and Cyprus, these ‘golden visa’ programmes, technically known as ‘residence by investment’ schemes (RBI), were accompanied by the so-called ‘golden passport’ programmes, which speed up the whole process and offer direct access to ‘citizenship by investment’ (CBI). After years of pressure from Brussels, Bulgaria and Cyprus have committed to ending CBI. Malta, however, has not, so it is still possible to buy an EU passport within a matter of a year.

“The main beneficiaries of both systems have been Chinese oligarchs and Russian oligarchs,” Spanish MEP and former justice minister Juan Fernando López Aguilar, who chairs the European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs, tells Equal Times. In many cases, he insists, “they are mafiosi and corrupt individuals who launder the wealth, illicitly acquired in their countries of origin, by buying the privilege of residing in Europe and acquiring property in Europe, which has nothing to do with investment, and much less with creating jobs – all they have to do is buy mansions, yachts and real estate, which is what they do.”

RBI programmes were defended at the time as a way of attracting investments into countries such as Spain and Portugal.

“In both cases they were adopted at the time of conservative governments, which [against a backdrop of economic crisis] introduced legislative measures to, in practice, make money from granting residence rights, even though they are not linked to any actual investment and there are no checks on that investment. So we are clearly faced with issues that impact on European money laundering legislation,” the MEP summarises.

In October 2020, at the request of the European Parliament, the European Commission referred Malta and Cyprus to the European Court of Justice, alleging that their CBI programmes violated several fundamental articles of EU law.

The European Parliament also called on the Commission in March 2022 to prepare legislation banning ‘golden passports’ (CBI) across the EU and to set very strict conditions on ‘golden visa’ (RBI) schemes, with “stringent background checks” on applicants. And, adds López Aguilar, “with mandatory checks against all the databases shared by the EU-LISA agency, which reports regularly to the committee I chair, so that not only people who acquire this residence permit, but also all their direct first-degree relatives can be examined, and with the express obligation to consult and notify all member states, so that they can raise objections [on a case-by-case basis] to any person seeking residence in another member state.”

Investment migration and due diligence

These schemes are not, however, a European invention. There is a whole network of companies specialising in advising wealthy individuals interested in paying for a visa or residence permit in the 30 or so countries around the world that offer them, from small island nations in the Caribbean to economic giants such as the US, the UK and Canada, where the first such programmes were launched in 1986.

It is from Canada that Eric Major, the ‘father’ of the Malta Individual Investor Programme originally hails. Now a founding member and CEO of one of these firms – Latitude RCBI Consultancy – he assured Equal Times that these CBI schemes are a very useful tool for small or economically distressed countries, and that it would be senseless to disregard that.

Major defends the Maltese CBI scheme as an example of how best to regulate so-called “migration by investment”, a global market that generated 21.4 billion euros between 2011 and 2019 through CBI and RBI schemes.

“The US is still the country that approves the most ‘golden visas’ at around 10,000 people a year, while Portugal approved about 1,500 last year, Spain about 1,000,” says Major. “Depending on the size of the family being considered, the cost (of Maltese citizenship) will typically range between €900,000 at the low end, and €1.2 to €1.3 million.” It is “an injection to the National Development and Social Fund,” he adds, which finances “schools, roads and hospitals”. Malta, he explains, receives some 400 applications a year, of which around 250 are approved. “That is around 250 families; that means less than 1,000 people a year. And in the grand scheme of things, that’s 1,000 people who give on average a million euros each. So, you have an island nation that receives €200 million a year with this programme and that is particularly transformative for a small country, and all the more so in a post-Covid world.”

For Major, whose views are fairly representative of those of the Investment Migration Council, what MEPs are raising “are absolutely acceptable issues and need to be addressed”, as “some countries are doing better than others”. He argues that Malta offers an example of what could be satisfactory controls, which were inspired by practices in the banking sector. He refers to this as “four-tier due diligence”, whereby the state has to verify the good moral character of the applicants and the provenance of the funds provided through recourse to international banking databases, the law enforcement agencies of the countries in which they have resided and reports from firms specialising in data verification and risk analysis – all paid for by each applicant as part of the conditions of the programme.

For the European Parliament, however, this is not enough. “Malta and Cyprus keep in place these tools that are supposed to attract foreign investment but [they] have inevitably led to corruption and the laundering of illicitly obtained capital, without the slightest doubt,” says López Aguilar, who hopes that the ECJ will ultimately invalidate these programmes “based on their incompatibility with European law.”

For citizenship scholar Dimitry Kochenov, professor at the Institute of Democracy at the Central European University (CEU) in Budapest, the possibility of such a ruling is not so clear. As he explains to Equal Times, in Europe “citizenship has always been regulated, by default, at the national level, and there is no legal basis for regulating it at the supranational level”, so he does not believe that CBI programmes could be banned. “With residence, it is different, because there is a legitimate legal basis in the treaties by which the EU can legislate to harmonise residence rules and laws in the member states.”

Kochenov, himself a Dutch citizen of Russian origin, fears that the European Parliament’s measures against Russian beneficiaries of these programmes may be counterproductive. “The majority of the oligarchs on the sanctions list did not receive their European passports by investment, because there are plenty of other fully lawful ways,” he explains, as seen with Roman Abramovich, who became Portuguese based on his descent from the Sephardic diaspora. And then there are those who “have acquired citizenship in Europe, or the Caribbean, or elsewhere, because they wanted to escape Putin’s regime rather than support it,” such as Pavel Durov, the creator of the messaging app Telegram, who after refusing to collaborate with the FSB was able to flee Russia by buying citizenship of the Caribbean micro-state of Saint Kitts & Nevis. In 2021, he also acquired Emirati and French citizenship.

“To say that every person who comes from Russia and naturalises in the EU is potentially suspect ignores the simple fact that Russia is not a democracy” and that “many of the people who flee the country need to naturalise elsewhere because there is simply no other way”, so “naturalisation precisely enables their fight with the regime and their opposition to the war in Ukraine”, insists Kochenov.

López Aguilar believes that “this has to be filtered on a case-by-case basis, with all the guarantees required,” so that no one can make wrongful claims. The European Parliament’s intention is not to act against legitimate migration, but to close the door to international criminals and corrupt individuals who have been exploiting these schemes in the EU. And the war is acting as “an accelerant” in this regard, prompting the European Commission to strongly defend and adopt the EP’s proposals to strictly regulate ‘migration by investment’. “If we want to hurt Putin, we have to hurt the Russian oligarchs,” he concludes. “And if we want to hurt the Russian oligarchs, we have to put an end to this.”

Source: Commodification of EU citizenship: Will the EU ban ‘golden passports’?

US billionaires’ demand for ‘golden passport’ schemes rockets by 337% in three years

Yet more demand by Americans, with interesting reasons stated by consultants (suggesting a mix of right and left leaning ultra wealthy):

Soaring numbers of wealthy Americans are buying ‘golden passports’ that grant them citizenship to New Zealand, Portugal and other ‘safe’ countries over fears of impending civil war in their home country.

Henley & Partners, a firm that helps the wealthy shop around for citizenship across the globe, said sales to American nationals worth between $50 million and $20 billion have shot up more than 337 percent since 2019, Business Insider reported.

Countries involved – including Portugal, Malta, New Zealand and Austria offer citizenship or visas that lead to citizenship in return for heavy investment in the host national, and a visit of just a few days there each year.

Latitude Residency & Citizenship and Dasein Advisors, two other citizenship firms, said they too have seen more inquiries from American clients over the past three years than in the previous 20 combined.

‘We’ve all lived through the past two and a half years,’ Reaz Jafri told Insider, referencing the pandemic and the civil unrest that followed.

‘It all just reminded us how vulnerable and frail we are, and people who have means are accepting that it will happen again — and they don’t want to be caught off guard.’

Other issues said to have seen the demand for foreign passports spike include the likely end of Roe V Wade, which legalized abortion across the US, Florida’s Parental Rights in Education Bill – better known as the Don’t Say Gay Bill, as well as fears for the future of America’s democracy following the Black Lives Matter and January 6 riots.

Dominic Volek, head of private clients at Henley & Partners, said clients were worried over the ‘four Cs: COVID-19, climate change, cryptocurrency and conflict.’

Volek told Insider his firm saw an uptick in clients during the Trump administration, and once the pandemic hit, wealthy Americans were hit by the realities of their country’s COVID restrictions.

‘In the very strict lockdowns there was a point where if you only had an American passport, you could not enter Europe,’ Volek said. ‘I think that made a lot of particularly ultra-high net worth individuals realize that they’re potentially a little bit more fragile than they thought.’

Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt was one of the rich elites seeking a ‘golden passport’ in 2020 as he applied for European citizenship in 2020 through Cyprus’s now defunct program.

Along with fears of another pandemic, worsening storms fueled by climate change and worries over an economic collapse, the billionaires are also afraid of civil unrest from a divided nation that only seems to be getting worse everyday.

In the past three years, America saw nationwide protests over pandemic restrictions, the Black Lives Matter movement, laws restricting abortion which have gained new steam as the Supreme Court is poised to overturn Roe V. Wade, voting rights and Critical Race Theory in schools.

The country also received a shock on January 6, 2021, when supporters of former President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol in a deadly riot to attempt to stop the certification of Joe Biden’s victory.

In 2022, Americans continue to be divided over these issues as well as Florida’s so-called ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill and nationwide police reform efforts, where liberal cities that embraced the new laws are experiencing surges in violent crime.

Jafri said the issues plaguing America have caused billionaires to share a single concern, a fear about the future of American society.

Among the most popular countries billionaires are seeking citizenship for is Portugal, which offers a five-year residency permit that allows visa-free travel to 26 countries in the European Union.

Portugal’s program requires a minimum investment of $200,000 in real estate and an average stay of just seven days a year in the country. After the permit expires, individuals can apply for full-time citizenship, which takes an additional three years.

New Zealand, another popular country for ‘golden passports,’ grants permanent residency status to those investing in residential or commercial property, as well as high growth investments and government bonds.

The country’s Investor 1 visa asks for about $6.5 million in investments over three years and requires applicants to stay in the country for 88 days over that timespan.

The Investor 2 visa asks for about $2 million in investments over four years and requires applicants to be 66 or older and to stay in the country for 438 days over four years.

New Zealand golden passport holders include PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, who’s worth an estimated $5 billion.

Malta offers European citizenship to those who contribute more than $740,000 to the national development fund, more than $860,000 into real estate investment, more than $12,000 to charity, and provide proof of at least 36 months of residency in the country.

The nation also offers an expedited process that only calls for proof of 12 months of residency so long as the applicant contributes more than $925,000 to the national development fund.

Austria provides ‘golden passports’ through investment directly, asking foreign applications to invest more than $12.3 million into a business or make a $3.7 million contribution to the government development fund.

Alternatively, applicants can make a nearly $50,000 contribution to the government fund for residency approval and then apply for full citizenship after 10 years.

Source: US billionaires’ demand for ‘golden passport’ schemes rockets by 337% in three years

Antigua and Barbuda maintaining defense of Citizenship by Investment program

Unlikely to be successful:

Antigua and Barbuda has stepped up its efforts to stave off efforts by the European Union (EU) to derail the controversial Citizenship by Investment Program (CBI), with Prime Minister Gaston Browne indicating that he has sent a letter to the EU on the issue.

“I have taken the opportunity to write to them, to let them know the impact that they are about to inflict on our CBI programs and the impact on our economies,” said Browne.  Last week Browne called on member countries of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) to provide a united front on the issue.

He said the letter will provide evidence that Antigua and Barbuda probably has the most robust due diligence process before citizenship can be granted.

“Citizens from these countries who are trying to access citizenship under the program would have to get clearance from Interpol, a review of their financial background, and a police report from their country of residence,” Browne added.

Under the CBI, foreign investors are afforded citizenship of a country in return for making a significant investment in the socio-economic development of the particular country. Several Caribbean countries have instituted CBI programs.

The United States has moved to decline visas to holders of passports obtained by the CBI, and the European Union has passed a law giving countries three years to phase out the program or face visa requirements for all its passport holders.

The EU Parliament has called for an EU “levy of a meaningful percentage on the investments made – until ‘golden passports’ are phased out, and indefinitely for ‘golden visas’” within the block.

According to its website, “It also asks the Commission to put pressure on countries that benefit from visa-free travel to the EU to follow suit,”

The resolution passed by the parliament with 595 votes to 12, and 74 abstentions, says golden passports should be phased out fully.

Foreign Affairs Minister, E.P Chet Greene has promised that St. John’s will be robust in its defense of the CBI telling reporters while a final decision has not been made as yet by Europe, scraping the CBI will not be an option.

“We won’t preempt losing this fight, we will fight it to the end. We understand the importance of this program to us, we are operating a program that is really above and beyond reproach. Our books can be pulled at any time and our reports are tabled in Parliament,” Greene said.

“We won’t be quick to disband these programs, but rather we will continue to show the virtue, value, and management of these programs, and hope that common sense will prevail,” he added.

Prime Minister Browne said the CBI does not represent any risks to Europe, adding “as far as we are concerned, we are now collateral damage.”

Browne said about 10 per cent of the country’s revenue comes from the CBI while in other countries, their economies are almost absolutely reliant on their own CBI.

“If they are successful in undermining our CBI, it will create problems for the OECS currency union countries. You can imagine the impact on these countries,” Browne added.

Apart from Antigua and Barbuda, the other OECS countries with a CBI program are St. Lucia, Grenada, Dominica, and St. Kitts-Nevis.

Source: Antigua and Barbuda maintaining defense of Citizenship by Investment program

Some passports are better than others. Here’s a list of the most powerful ones

Like so many of these passport or citizenship indexes, this is largely a promotion to attract new clients to a firm, in this case, Nomad Capitalist, whose tagline is “We offer holistic strategies to help successful entrepreneurs and investors legally reduce their tax bill, create a Plan B, and grow their wealth globally.”

Unfortunately, the detailed methodology and full report was not on their website at time of posting. However, one factor that impacted Canada along with Australia and other countries was the degree to which they had relatively stricter COVID travel restrictions:

A new index ranks Luxembourg as the top passport in the world for aspiring global citizens.

The small European country ranked No. 1 out of 199 places in the “Nomad Passport Index 2022” published by the tax and immigration consultancy Nomad Capitalist.

While many passport rankings focus solely on visa-free travel, this index adds taxation, global perception, ability to obtain dual citizenship and personal freedoms into its scoring.

“I don’t think visa-free travel is all that matters,” said CEO Andrew Henderson.

For example, U.S. and Canadian passports are similar in terms of travel strength, he said. However, “if you’re an American, you’re subject to taxes … no matter where you live, and so those two passports should not be ranked next to each other.”

Five factors

Here is the index’s methodology:

Regarding tax policies, 10 points were assigned to places with worldwide taxation (United States) and 50 points for those with no tax (United Arab Emirates). Those that placed other tax restrictions on passport holders scored somewhere in between.

The list

Here’s the top 50 list:

The top 10 rankings remained unchanged from last year, with the half-point difference between No. 1 Luxembourg and No. 2 Sweden coming down to “one extra country visa,” said Henderson.

Taxes are high in both countries, “but if you want to leave, it’s relatively flexible,” he said. Both countries are perceived well globally and rank highly for personal freedom, said Henderson, noting Sweden demonstrated the latter with its hands-off approach to the pandemic.

The complete list can be viewed at Nomad Capitalist’s website.

What changed in the past year?

Nearly 85% of the places in the top 30 list are in Europe.

What’s notable, said Henderson, is that countries like Malta, Iceland and Slovakia — places “that people don’t often talk about” in terms of passport strength — hold their own against powerhouses such as Italy and Germany. They also score above countries such as the United Kingdom, Australia and United States.

Vanuatu slipped from tied for 69th place in 2021 to 85th this year, after the Council of the European Union partially suspended its visa waiver agreement with the island nation earlier this month. The decision was prompted by concerns that Vanuatu’s investor citizenship schemes — which allow people to obtain citizenship in exchange for $130,000 investments in the islands — posed a security threat to the EU, according to the Council’s website.

Citizenship was granted to people on the Interpol database and rejection rates were “extremely low,” according to the website.

A ‘passport portfolio’

It’s not necessarily the case that the higher a country’s passport ranking, the more suitable it is for someone looking to obtain a second or third citizenship there, said Henderson.

People generally build a “passport portfolio” for one of two reasons: to reduce their taxes or to have a back-up residency plan. A Luxembourg citizenship likely won’t serve either of these groups, he said.

But citizenship in Portugal, the Caribbean or Malta may — especially for people in the second group.

The index also demonstrates that some countries’ passports are stronger than people realize.

“There are passports that people don’t realize are actually pretty good,” he said. “Malaysia barely beats out the United States, which is very interesting … Everyone I’ve ever met from Central America doesn’t like their passport … [but] Central American passports are actually pretty good quality.”

Source: Some passports are better than others. Here’s a list of the most powerful ones