Over 800,000 Indians have renounced their citizenship since 2016, US top choice

Of note, Canada and Australia after USA:

More than 800,000 Indians have renounced their citizenship to become citizens of other countries, while India granted citizenship to nearly 5,000 foreigners in the last five years.

According to the Indian government’s data, nearly 610,000 Indians became foreign citizens in the five years to December 2021.

The data shows that 42% of the more than six lakh Indians who renounced their citizenship did it to become US citizens, according to a report by The Times of India.

In the first nine months of 2021, more than 50,000 Indians acquired US citizenship.

After the US. Canada was the most favoured country of Indians who renounced their Indian citizenship. As a result, 91,000 Indians became Canadian citizens between 2017 and 2021.

86,933 Indians gave up their Indian citizenship to become Australian citizens, followed by England (66,193) and Italy (23,490). 83,191 Indians have acquired citizenship in one of the 86 other countries worldwide.

The Indian government says 4,844 foreigners were granted Indian citizenship in the last five years.

On Tuesday, India’s Minister of State, Home Affairs, Nityanand Rai, told Lok Sabha that as many as 4,844 foreigners had been granted Indian citizenship under the Citizenship Act 1955 since 2016.

The minister informed that most foreigners (1,773) received Indian citizenship in 2021. As many as 639 foreigners became Indian citizens in 2020, 987 in 2019, 628 in 2018 and 817 in 2017.

People from Pakistan (2,405) were at the top of the table acquiring Indian citizenship between 2016 and 2019, followed by Afghans (431), Bangladeshi (132), Sri Lankans (92) and the US (80).

Union Home Minister of State Rai responded to a question about the total number of foreigners granted Indian citizenship by the Central government during the last five years to clarify reasons for taking it.

“The citizenship to eligible foreigners is granted by registration under section 5, by neutralization under section 6 or by incorporation of territory under section 7 of the Citizenship Act, 1955,” he said in a written reply.

Also, 10,635 applications were pending with the Ministry of Home Affairs as of December 2021. Most of these applications are from Pakistan (7,306), followed by Afghanistan (1,152).

Source: Over 800,000 Indians have renounced their citizenship since 2016, US top choice

In Egypt, some are forced to trade citizenship for freedom

Of note:

On January 8, Egyptian-Palestinian activist Ramy Shaath arrived in Paris after Egyptian authorities released him from prison and deported him after over 900 days in remand detention. He walkedout of Charles de Gaulle Airport with his wife Celine Lebrun-Shaath to a cheering crowd of supporters. Yet the conditions of his release were no cause for celebration — Shaath was forced to renounce his Egyptian citizenship in exchange for his freedom.

In a statement announcing his release, Shaath’s family said: “No one should have to choose between their freedom and their citizenship. Ramy was born Egyptian, raised as an Egyptian, and Egypt has always been and will always be his homeland; no coerced renunciation of citizenship under duress will ever change that.”

Throughout the two and a half years of Shaath’s imprisonment, his wife Celine Lebrun-Shaath, a French national who was deported from Egypt upon his arrest, led a longstanding public campaign for his release. French President Emmanuel Macron also made a direct demand for Shaath to be released during a December 2020 press conference alongside President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, held after bilateral talks at the Elysee Palace in Paris.

Over the last six months, the National Security Agency had been communicating with Shaath’s family to begin the process of his citizenship renunciation, and to arrange for his deportation, according to a source informed of discussions around his release, who spoke to Mada Masr on condition of anonymity. Those procedures came to a head on January 1, when Shaath’s lawyer submitted an official document to the Supreme Administrative Court saying that he would drop his Egyptian citizenship, the source added.

Shaath was released on January 6, according to the family, and handed over to a representative of the Palestinian Authority at Cairo International Airport, where he boarded a flight to the Jordanian capital, Amman. He then traveled on to Paris.

The controversial practice is based on a decree — known as Law 140 — issued by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in November 2014 that allows the repatriation of foreign prisoners to their home countries, at the president’s discretion, to serve their time or be retried there.

The decree was issued five months after three Al-Jazeera journalists — Australian Peter Greste, Egyptian-Canadian Mohamed Fahmy and Egyptian Baher Mohamed — were sentenced to between seven and 10 years in prison on terrorism charges in a high profile case that sparked international condemnation and was criticized by human rights groups, Western governments and the United Nations. According to lawyer Negad al-Borai, who represented Fahmy in the case, Law 140 was issued to allow for the release and deportation of Greste to his native Australia. Less than three months after the decree was issued, Greste was indeeddeported.

Around that time, Fahmy renounced his Egyptian citizenship in the hope of being deported to Canada. Fahmy told Mada Masr at the time that senior officials had visited him in detention and told him that renouncing Egyptian citizenship was his “only way out.” Fahmy refused at first, but said he felt pressured and wanted to get out of prison. The move did not work and he was only released, along with Baher Mohamed, after they received presidential pardons in September 2015 following a retrial. Fahmy has since regained his Egyptian citizenship.

Months earlier, in May 2015, Mohamed Soltan, an Egyptian-American activist imprisoned for over 640 days, was forced to relinquish his citizenship in order to be released from prison and deported to the United States after direct appeals from the Obama administration.

Soltan’s case included an additional twist. During a visit to Capitol Hill in July 2021, Egyptian intelligence chief Abbas Kamel insisted to US officials that Washington had promised in 2015 that if Egypt released Soltan he would serve out the rest of his life sentence in a US prison, according to Politico. Kamel even handed congressional staffers what appeared to be a signed agreement between Egyptian and American officials laying out such an arrangement. Sources told Politico that a State Department employee signed the document when it was pushed on them at the airport at the last minute, as U.S. officials were trying to get Soltan out of the country, and that the document was not legally enforceable.

In any case, forcing Egyptians to renounce their citizenship in order to be deported remains a highly controversial, and arguably illegal, practice.

Lawyer Gamal Eid of the Arab Network for Human Rights Information says that Law 140 is unconstitutional, as it creates a privilege for non-Egyptians. “The idea was to cower to foreign governments and polish the regime’s image, but the decree breaches the principle that all are equal before the law, which is a supra-constitutional principle.” Eid says he is not condoning the continued imprisonment of dissidents, rather, he says they should all be released, not just the foreign nationals.

While the decree doesn’t force anyone to drop their nationality, the choice between citizenship and freedom is not really a choice. Hussein Baoumi, an Egypt researcher at Amnesty International told Mada Masr it is more accurate to say that Shaath and Soltan were forced to cede their Egyptian citizenship, which he says is unconstitutional.

“This practice we are now seeing in Egypt of trading citizenship for freedom is against the constitution and the citizenship law, and is also a blatant breach of the stipulations of international law about rescinding one’s citizenship. It circumvents the provisions of the law regulating such a measure,” Baoumi says.

The 1975 citizenship law stipulates that a number of conditions be met before the state can rescind citizenship from an Egyptian national. Yet, this law does not apply in Shaath or Soltan’s case because they technically relinquished their citizenship themselves. However, both Soltan and Shaath contend they had no choice in the matter.

Following Shaath’s release, Soltan tweeted: “To be given a choice between your freedom and your citizenship is easy, for freedom always and forever comes first, and this doesn’t take away from your belonging to your country because that is in the heart. As for a regime that conditions enjoying your most basic citizenship rights of freedom and life upon your dropping your nationality, it is a regime that is reinforcing its repressive philosophy: to be a citizen necessarily means not to be free.”

Source: In Egypt, some are forced to trade citizenship for freedom

Mass exodus: India sees rise in number of people surrendering citizenship

Would use the term mass but nevertheless of note:

More than 60,000 Indians have given up their citizenship in the last five years, while in the same period just over 4,000 people became Indian. Analysts and surveys indicate a variety of reasons for the exodus.

Though the reason for a large number of Indians surrendering their citizenship was not stated by the junior home minister Nityanand Rai in parliament this week, quality of life, employment opportunities, social structure, financial and social security, development and gender equality have been suggested.

About 40 percent of the citizenship renunciation requests come from the United States, followed by Australia and Canada, which amount to a chunk of around 30 percent of such requests.

This year saw the steepest spike in Indians giving up their citizenship as worldwide travel and outdoor restrictions started to ease because of the pandemic.

Since 2016, when India announced a sudden move to demonetise its high denomination currency notes, there has been a dramatic fall in economic growth, with a large number of mid-level companies losing business.

“India is seeing an exodus of talent like never before in history. Economic blunders such as demonetisation and the bulldozing of democratic rights by the Narendra Modi government have led to this,” Congress national spokesperson Shama Mohamed said.

Flight of millionnaires

Statistics from the Global Wealth Migration Review show that 2 percent of India’s millionaires already flocked overseas in 2020.

While China topped the migration list with a total of 16,000 High Net worth Individuals (HNWI) exits, India came in second at 7,000 exits and Russia 5,500 exits.

Another study by AfrAsia Bank covered only individuals with a net worth of  between 1 million and 9.9 million dollars, who took up residency in a new country and spent at least half of the year there.

According to the report, work, opportunities, tax and financial concerns were among the reasons HNWI were deciding to make the move.

In October, West Bengal Finance Minister Amit Mitra cited three different studies to claim that 35,000 Indian entrepreneurs of high net worth left the country between 2014 and 2020 during the tenure of the Narendra Modi government.

He wondered whether this was due to “fear psychosis”, and demanded that Modi must acknowledge in parliament the “massive flight of Indian entrepreneurs during his regime”.

“I also hear tales of tax terrorism and demands being faced by the industry on various counts. Put together, many of them are relocating,” Mitra said.

Higher passport index

India does not offer dual citizenship yet, and people seeking citizenship in other countries must give up their Indian passport as per law.

A majority of Indians surrender their passports because of the privileges they get using the passports of other countries. India stands at the 69th number on the passport power rank according to the world passport index.

When comparing it with other countries – the rank of Australia is 3rd, USA is 5th, Singapore is 6th and Canada is 7th. At the top are UAE on number 1 and New Zealand on number 2.

“The higher the passport index ranking, the better access they get to travel visa-free to many countries,” said passport index findings.

“They are also exempted from bureaucratic delays in the immigration process which is beneficial for traders and businessmen.”

Modi and his ministers and supporters have repeatedly emphasised the incumbent government had increased India’s stature in the world.

A number of measures have been initiated by the Indian government to stop the brain drain such as prioritising skill development through its National Skill Development Mission that aims to train approximately 400 million people across the country by 2022.

Source: Mass exodus: India sees rise in number of people surrendering citizenship

Analysis | U.S. Expats Can’t Renounce Their Citizenship Fast Enough

The most in-depth article and analysis of the data regarding Americans renouncing their citizenship:

The swearing in of new citizens often makes news in the U.S., especially if it happens in unusual circumstances such as one party’s national convention. Much less reported are the many citizenship renunciations by Americans, and the travails leading up to these life decisions. Almost all those giving up their U.S. nationality are expats. And for each renouncer going through the ordeal, there are countless others thinking about it. Why?

One recent press release in particular has caused quite a stir. It suggested that, after “a steep decline” in recent years, renunciations in the first half of this year soared to 5,816, more than twice as many as gave up their passport in all of 2019. The implication, as reported breathlessly in the American media, was that expats, already fed up with President Donald Trump, finally despaired over his mishandling of Covid-19 and quit. Other factors were cited as merely secondary.

But these renunciation numbers are notoriously flawed. They’re based on a list of names of renouncers published every quarter by the Internal Revenue Service — experts call this a form of “doxxing.” That list lags in time and jumbles data. In reality, most embassies and consulates stopped making renunciation appointments this spring, owing to the pandemic. And the dip in prior years, according to experts, was due to backlogs and underreporting.

By the best estimates (see chart), renunciations have been rising since 2010, when the Obama administration passed the notorious Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), inflicting misery on U.S. expats everywhere. In 2014, the government raised the renunciation fee from $450 to $2,350. Undeterred, expats kept at it. The American bureaucracy then indirectly slowed the pace with red tape in the first three Trump years. But we’re back on trend in 2020.

Now, it may be true that most expats aren’t crazy about Trump. Americans abroad tend to be cosmopolitan professionals, often married to foreigners or following international career paths. Watching their home country in their host nation’s news, or talking about it at local dinner parties, has stopped being fun. The images occasionally evoke a banana republic succumbing to pestilence while arming for civil war.

But that’s clearly not the reason why so many expats have been trying to drop their nationality for the past decade. Instead, as I described last year, it’s the nightmare of American tax and financial reporting, in which any accounts or assets deemed in Washington, D.C. to be “foreign” are automatically suspect, requiring extra disclosures that can be ruinous in time, expense and peace of mind.

The U.S. is almost unique in the world in taxing based on citizenship rather than residency. It’s also uniquely parochial in being unable or unwilling to distinguish between, say, a rich American living stateside and stashing money offshore and, for example, a middle-class American married to a German and teaching elementary school in Berlin. The hell starts with that conflation.

Before 2010 America’s citizen-based taxation didn’t necessarily disrupt the lives of expats like this school teacher. That’s because few expats even knew about the horrendously complex reporting rules or bothered with them. But FATCA required them to make new and redundant disclosures or face the prospect of tens of thousands of dollars in fines or even prison. It also required their foreign banks, brokers and insurers to report on them to the IRS, or face draconian sanctions.

Unsurprisingly, many foreign banks and brokers therefore stopped taking “U.S. persons” or green-card holders as customers. So American expats have increasingly been locked out of retail finance in their host countries.

Worse, the European Union then started passing laws with bureaucratically sublime names such as MiFID II and PRIIPs that imposed new rules on everything from mutual funds to life insurance. This scared the U.S. banks and brokers of American expats living in Europe, so they also started kicking out their customers with foreign addresses. Many Americans overseas are financially marooned.

In their desperation, several have been taking their struggle to the courts. Fabien Lehagre, a French citizen who is also an “accidental American” because he was born in California, wants to invoke the EU’s data-privacy laws to have FATCA declared illegal in Europe. A U.S.-British dual citizen calling herself “Jenny” is trying to crowdfund a legal odyssey to do something similar in the U.K. Another challenge is underway in Canada. Occasionally, there are even small victories.

But on the whole, Americans abroad feel ostracized by their own country. Like their fellow citizens back home, they’re caught up in the tribal clash between Republicans and Democrats. But when it comes to acknowledging the hardship of expats, the Democrats have mostly refused to listen. The GOP has since 2016 called for the abolition of FATCA and citizenship-based taxation in its platform. But the few Republicans who’ve tried to effect change have so far failed.

If the estimated 9 million Americans living abroad were recognized as a political geography, they would rank ahead of 40 states by population. Their ill treatment by the U.S. tax and compliance regime would be headline news, and probably solved in a bipartisan tweak of common sense. But they’re not a bloc. Like much about American democracy, this discrimination seems unfair. And yet, these millions of voices must be heard.

Americans Giving Up Citizenship Faster Than Ever Before Reports Bambridge Accountants New York

Significant increase.

As for the Canadian angle, ApCPC leader Andrew Scheer has not yet renounced his American citizenship (Stephen Lautens on Twitter: “Still no sign of Still no sign of Andrew Scheer in the US’s Quarterly Publication of Individuals Who Have Chosen To Expatriate (lose United States citizenship) …twitter.com › stephenlautens › status).:

Americans are renouncing their citizenship at the highest levels on record, according to research by the Enrolled Agents and accountants Bambridge Accountants New York.

  • 2,909 Americans gave up their citizenship in the first 3 months of 2020
  • Showing a 1,104% increase on the prior 3 months to December 2019where only 261 cases were recorded
  • 2,072 Americans gave up their citizenship in 2019 in total
  • This is the highest quarter on record, the previous record was 2,365 cases for the fourth quarter of 2016
  • It seems that the pandemic has motivated U.S. expats to cut ties and avoid the onerous tax reporting

Americans must pay a $2,350 government fee to renounce their citizenship, and those based overseas must do so in person at the U.S. Embassy in their country.

There are an estimated 9 million U.S. expats. The trend has been that there has been a steep decline over the last few years for U.S. citizens expatriating – the first 3 months of 2020 is a huge increase in the number of Americans renouncing their citizenship.

Under the IRS rules (section 6039g), every three months the U.S. Government publishes the names of all Americans who give up their citizenship. The first 3 months for 2020 had 2,909 Americans renouncing their citizenship, far more than the total of the four quarters for 2019 (2,072 Americans renounced).

Alistair Bambridge, partner at Bambridge Accountants New York, explains: “There has been a huge turnaround of U.S. expats renouncing, where the figures have been in steep decline since 2017.”

“The surge in U.S. expats renouncing from our experience is that the current pandemic has allowed individuals to get their affairs in order and deal with an issue they may have been putting off for a while.”

“For U.S. citizens living abroad, they are still required to file U.S. tax returns, potentially pay U.S. tax and report all their foreign bank accounts, investments and pensions held outside the U.S. For many Americans this intrusion is too much and they make the serious step of renouncing their citizenship as they do not plan to return to live in the U.S.”

“There has been a silver lining for U.S. expats that they have been able to claim the Economic Impact Payment of $1,200, but for some this is too little, too late.”

Source: Americans Giving Up Citizenship Faster Than Ever Before Reports Bambridge Accountants New York

When U.S. Citizenship Starts Looking Like a Bad Deal

Of note:

When Donald J. Trump was elected president in 2016, some people, many of them Democrats, talked about renouncing their United States citizenship and moving abroad as a political protest. But now, a different group of Americans say they are considering leaving — people of both parties who would be hit by the wealth tax proposed by two senators seeking to oppose Mr. Trump in his race for re-election, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders.

Wealthy Americans often leave high-tax states like New York and California for lower-tax ones like Florida and Texas. But renouncing citizenship is a far more permanent, costly and complicated proposition.

Many who do so to save on taxes and free themselves from American financial regulations and filing requirements are also making a larger statement.

“America’s the most attractive destination for capital, entrepreneurs and people wanting to get a great education,” said Reaz H. Jafri, a partner and head of the immigration practice at Withers, an international law firm. “But in today’s world, when you have other economic centers of excellence — like Singapore, Switzerland and London — people don’t view the U.S. as the only place to be.”

According to the United States Treasury, which publishes figures on expatriation, 231 Americans renounced their citizenship in 2008; the next year, 742 did. By 2016, the number hit 5,411, up 26 percent from 2015. It was roughly the same in 2017 before dropping to 3,983 last year.

Immigration lawyers said the numbers would be higher if embassies had the staff to accommodate the volume of requests. David Lesperance, a Canadian immigration lawyer living in Poland who specializes in helping American citizens expatriate, said many embassies around the world had backlogs in making appointments.

“The current reality is that an American who wants to renounce needs to first book an appointment in a processing system that has reached capacity — as evidenced by the significant backlogs in the granting of interview slots,” Mr. Lesperance said in an email. “In fact, the backlogs have grown so bad (up to and sometimes over a year) that most of the U.S. missions no longer publish the appointment date information online and haven’t been doing so since the system appeared to reach capacity a few years ago.”

Once that appointment is secured, the process seems to have sped up. Mr. Jafri said he had clients who waited over a year for the letter confirming they were no longer American citizens. Now, he said, that letter can come in two weeks.

“Somewhere in the system, the decision has been made to issue these more quickly,” he said. “We haven’t seen any slowdown in renouncing.”

Historically, the bulk of expatriates fell into two categories: older, wealthy people hoping to save on taxes and the “accidental Americans,” who were born in the United States but lived and worked abroad or who were born abroad but lived in the United States long enough to come under the Internal Revenue Service’s taxing authority.

Now many inquiries are also coming from younger entrepreneurs upset about the political situation in the United States and from people who want to operate their businesses overseas and not be subject to American financial reporting requirements.

“That younger person is also thinking of it as impact citizenship, like impact investing,” Mr. Jafri said. “They don’t want to be American. They’re not happy with how we’re perceived overseas.”

Mr. Jafri said he had been hearing of several other reasons, too. There are people motivated by fear. “We have people who are totally spooked about the prospect of a Warren presidency and a wealth tax,” he said. “And there are people who are equally spooked about a Trump re-election.”

There are also businesspeople who either don’t want to be subject to I.R.S. scrutiny or believe that the annual Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts has become too time-consuming or costly.

“I’ve never seen this before,” Mr. Jafri said. “People used to say, ‘If so-and-so becomes president, I’m moving to Canada.’ Well, no one did.”

But now, the price may be right to leave. While the cost of expatriating varies depending on a person’s assets, the wealthiest are betting that if a Democrat wins next year, leaving now means a lower exit tax.

For anyone with assets below $2 million or an average salary over five years of about $165,000, there is no exit tax. For everyone else, the exit is calculated on a person’s assets, as if they were sold on the day of expatriation. Someone with a portfolio of appreciated stock, for example, would be taxed at the capital gains rate.

Where it gets tricky is when people own private businesses that have to be valued. Even if they’re not selling the business, they have to come up with tax money to pay the I.R.S. But as with the tax on estates, there are ways to reduce the value of the business, including the argument that a closely held family business lacks marketability.

Mr. Jafri said he had a client who just paid a $58 million exit tax, though it had been 40 percent higher before a valuation company took various deductions.

The wealthy who are considering renouncing their citizenship fear a wealth tax less than the possibility that the tax on capital gains could be raised to the ordinary income tax rate, effectively doubling what a wealthy person would pay, Mr. Lesperance said.

“I have a client, a relatively young guy, who made a lot of money as a founder and is just not bullish on the U.S. long term, but the thing that is getting him to lock in and renounce now is he did the numbers,” he said. “He said if the least of the Democratic plans come in — taxing capital gains like ordinary income — it makes sense to renounce now.”

Regardless of wealth, anyone looking to give up their American citizenship needs to have fully complied with all tax forms for the past five years. That is one of the main stumbling blocks, said Jerald David August, chairman of the international taxation and wealth planning groups at the law firm Fox Rothschild.

“The prototype is a U.S. citizen living overseas who is tired of paying worldwide tax twice,” Mr. August said. “The specter of this five-year look back and the awareness there wasn’t total compliance can be intimidating. I’ve had situations where clients, after they’ve been fully advised, have decided not to push forward with an expatriation.”

Had they done so, without having spotless tax returns, they could have been forced to amend tax returns or, worse, be audited for tax evasion.

Even if their returns are compliant, any money they leave to their children who are still citizens will be subject to a 40 percent inheritance tax.

“If someone never stepped foot in the U.S. and died and left $100 million to someone’s children who moved to the U.S., the children wouldn’t pay the tax,” Mr. August said. “But if they left with $10 million, the U.S. retains jurisdiction to tax the person who migrated.”

Those who leave also need to consider their reputations since the Treasury Department publishes a list of people who are expatriating.

When Eduardo Saverin, a founder of Facebook who was born in Brazil but educated in America, renounced his United States citizenship shortly before the social network went public, he was criticized for avoiding taxes. But his spokesman said he had been living in Singapore for several years. Either way, several estimates said that renouncing his citizenship before Facebook went public saved him $700 million in taxes.

Growing number of migrants renouncing Canadian immigrant status | Vancouver Sun

Solid rationale for many of these permanent residents doing so, but does beg the broader question of how this benefits Canada, beyond more pressure on the housing market and increased school and university enrolment.

To give context, the total number of Permanent Residents for the period 2006-15 is:

  • India: 323,785
  • China: 290,933
  • South Korea: 53,785

Thousands of permanent residents are renouncing their opportunity to immigrate to Canada — for reasons ranging from a dislike of the cold to a desire to avoid Canadian taxes.

More than 21,000 people with permanent resident cards who had the opportunity to become Canadian citizens have turned their back on the quest in the past two years. The highest number of  “renunciations” are from citizens of China, India and South Korea.

People who renounce their permanent resident status no longer have to prove they’re spending significant time in Canada when they cross the borders or fly into an airport, say immigration lawyers in Vancouver.

Nor do Canadian immigration process dropouts have to give up the passport of their homelands, where many continue to work or run businesses. And they are not expected to declare their foreign assets to Canada Revenue Agency.

“Renunciations are growing in number and will likely remain high,” says an internal report from Canada’s immigration office in Shanghai, China, the largest source country for immigrants to B.C.

“Many people are renouncing five years after landing (in Canada), rather than renewing their permanent cards, as they are working in China and do not meet residency requirements,” says the internal report, published in the Vancouver newsletter Lexbase.

“Their children often remain in Canada to complete school and to begin their careers.”

According to three Vancouver immigration lawyers, many people who renounce their permanent resident cards continue to return to gateway cities such as Vancouver and Toronto to visit their families as temporary visitors, especially on the increasingly popular 10-year visas.

“They were getting picked off at Vancouver airport for failure to meet residency requirements. This way they can avoid that problem and still come here,” said B.C. immigration lawyer Sam Hyman, noting the strong majority of migrants to Metro Vancouver are from Asia.

People with permanent resident status in Canada are required to spend two years out of every five in the country.

Vancouver immigration lawyer Jeffrey Lowe said many people who renounce their permanent status are breadwinners who cannot meet Canada’s two-year-residency requirement because they hold down jobs elsewhere, typically earning more money in their homeland than they believe they could in Canada.

A large number of these are so-called astronaut parents, who work offshore while their spouses and school-attending children remain in Canada, usually in urban centres, and own residential property, say the immigration lawyers.
The rapid rise in renunciations began in 2015 after then-immigration minister Chris Alexander, of the Conservatives, changed the rules to make it easier to voluntarily withdraw from the immigration process.

In the two years up to September of 2016, Citizenship and Immigration Canada figures show there were 5,407 renunciations by citizens of China, 2,431 by citizens of India, 1,681 by South Koreans, 1,416 by Britons and 1,129 by Taiwanese.

“A lot of people with permanent resident status have wanted to get their family and wealth transferred into Canada,” said Hyman.

“Some have bought multiple properties. By renouncing their permanent resident status they can stay below the radar and avoid Canadian taxes,” he said.

“They can visit Canada whenever they want on a 10-year visa. Why would they want anything else?”

Another reason foreigners renounce the Canadian immigration process, according to Hyman, is so family breadwinners won’t have to give up their passport and citizenship privileges in economically vibrant homelands like China and South Korea.

China and India do not allow their citizens to hold two passports, and South Korea only in rare cases.

Lowe says he expects renunciations to jump even more since the federal government in November began requiring a new customs document for some travellers, called ETA, or electronic travel authorization.

Foreign nationals from certain countries can’t obtain an ETA if they are a permanent resident or if they are non-compliant with the terms of their residency card, Lowe said. As a result they’re not allowed to board a plane to come to Canada.

Given that problem, Lowe said many would-be immigrants choose to renounce their residency status and instead simply apply for temporary visas to Canada.

Richard Kurland, author of the Lexbase newsletter, said it’s become common for breadwinners to bring their entire family to B.C. as permanent residents and then to decide “either it’s too cold or there’s no way I’m going to file an income tax return and report my global interests and property and pay taxes in Canada on that. I’m returning to my country of origin.”

In many cases, Kurland said, just the spouse and children who physically stay in Canada for five years end up being the ones who become Canadian citizens.

Source: Growing number of migrants renouncing Canadian immigrant status | Vancouver Sun

A potentially historic number of people are giving up their U.S. citizenship – The Washington Post

More on the increasing number of American expats renouncing citizenship for tax reasons (FATCA), not Trump. Again, while the increase is dramatic, still small in relation to the number of expatriates (State department estimates between three and eight million):

It can be difficult to become a U.S. citizen. A lot of people put a large amount of time, effort and money into the process of gaining an American passport or, failing that, the right to permanent residency.

But to some people, U.S. citizenship can apparently be a burden. And it’s a burden that people seem to be shaking off in increasing numbers. This week, the Treasury Department released its quarterly list of individuals who had chosen to “expatriate” — i.e., renounced their U.S. citizenship or gave up their rights to permanent residence.

The list is notable for a couple of reasons. First off, Britain’s Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson is on it. This means that Johnson, a dual-national who was born in New York City, has finally renounced his citizenship (as he had long promised he would). Secondly — and far more importantly in the grand scheme of things — the list shows that Johnson is just one of a total 5,411 individuals to expatriate in 2016.

The number of people giving up their U.S. citizenship may in fact be higher. Ryan Dunn, a lawyer with Andrew Mitchel LLC, explained via email that his firm has suspicions that the lists released by Treasury are incomplete. However, this would not change the trend. America is seeing what is likely a historically high level of expatriation. And it seems only likely to rise further.

“Given that we’ve seen year-over-year increases in expatriation since 2012, we speculate that the trend will continue,” Dunn explained.

But why would anyone renounce their citizenship to the United States? Dunn said that in his firm’s experience, it wasn’t usually political. “We have not been contacted by anyone saying that they wanted to give up their citizenship because Trump won the election,” he said. Instead the motivation was simpler: money.

The United States is one of the only countries in the world that requires its citizens and permanent residents to file taxes even when they live abroad. Eritrea is the only other country to have a similar policy. This unusual policy a relic of the Civil War and the Revenue Act of 1862, which called for the taxing of U.S. citizens abroad — in part to punish men who fled the country to avoid joining the Union army.

This is no new policy — Americans abroad have always been covered by federal tax laws. However, things changed in 2010, when the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) was enacted. This law essentially requires foreign financial institutions to check whether an account holder is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. In some cases, Dunn said, they would ask for proof that the account holder is not a U.S. citizen.

The end result here is that whereas in the past a U.S. citizen abroad might be able to get away with not filing their U.S. taxes, that has become vastly less likely under these new circumstances. In some cases, this can be extremely costly: Johnson was known to have racked up a large U.S. tax bill for the sale of his home in London, even though he had not lived in Britain since he was a small child.

But even for those without Johnson’s wealth, it can be tricky. “FATCA is a dirty word to Americans abroad,” Peter Spiro, a Temple University law professor and the author of “At Home in Two Countries: The Past and Future of Dual Citizenship,” explained. “Think lots of extra forms that have to be filed even by citizens who aren’t wealthy by any standard. Americans abroad used to be able to do their taxes just like Americans at home. Now they have to hire expensive accountants.”

Giving up your citizenship isn’t necessarily cheap either. It can take a long time to get an appointment in some places, and the processing fee is around $2,350. More important, Dunn said, was the “exit tax” that some high-earning or high-net-worth individuals have to pay — and also some people who forget to file their forms correctly too. But evidently, for some people it’s worth it. (Green-card holders have a simpler and cheaper process.)

Source: A potentially historic number of people are giving up their U.S. citizenship – The Washington Post