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With all the instability in the world today investors can have a hard time knowing if there is safe or not, many look to overseas investment to hedge against economic uncertainty in their home nation.

Foreign investment is vital component of more and more developed countries and emerging markets and is become more and more popular with hordes of investors.

The recent trouble in Qatar saw large numbers of Middle East investors ploughing their money into the London property markets, Australian investors have not seen their stock market grow significantly in the last decade, so it makes perfect sense to look abroad for investment opportunities.

If an investor makes a sizable investment in a foreign country they could be eligible for Citizenship by Investment, also known as economic citizenship.

In simple terms this is the granting of citizenship status to an investor and his or her immediate family members upon a specified and quantifiable investment in the country.

Economic citizenship refers to when an individual completes the legal process to acquire citizenship (called naturalization) or permanent residency in a second country on account of the individual’s financial investment into that country’s economy.

Countries that have such programs are Australia, Belgium, Spain, Singapore, Britain, Portugal as well as the United States.

The citizenship-by-investment (CBI) industry has seen significant growth in recent years, says Nigel Barnes, managing partner for Southern Africa at Henley & Partners, a global residence and citizenship advisory firm.

Citizenship-by-investment does not come cheap and takes considerably investment to be granted, a less expensive option maybe a residency programme.

These Programmes typically offer different range of asset class options with real estate as a redeemable asset the most popular, says Barnes.

Long stay requirement programmes include the UK’s minimum £2m Tier 1 investor programme and the USA’s $500 000 or $1m EB-5 Program.

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