Just like a luxury good, European Union (EU) citizenship and residency rights can be bought. There are many buyers, and there is no shortage of suppliers, which explains why investment migration is a growing, multibillion-euro industry.
The rules of the game in this diverse market are shaped, on the one hand, by government officials who have effectively demonstrated their preference for quick gains over longer-term impacts, and, on the other hand, by profit-driven private sector players. However, the selling of passports and permits is not without risks. The response from the EU has been limited thus far, and Member States have been making use of their wide discretionary powers when it comes to issues of citizenship and residency.
This report highlights the corruption risks posed by the sale of citizenship and residency and how these schemes threaten the integrity of the EU.