In June 2016 Gibraltar voted overwhelming to remain within the EU, only to see their wishes quashed by the UK’s closely fought decision to leave. However a separate deal could yet see Gibraltar remain operating within the European Union, making them an attractive second-residency option for Brits who didn’t vote Brexit.
Affectionately known simply as “The Rock”, Gibraltar is a British territory of 2.6 square miles and 33,000 inhabitants situated on the southern tip of the Iberian peninsular, and bordering Spain. More than seven million tourists flock there all year round, to travel to the top of “the Rock” and see the community of wild Barbary apes, explore the prehistoric caves, and take advantage of the duty-free rates for cigarettes and alcohol, and the discount prices for jewelry, sun glasses, clothes and electrical goods.
To many of the half-million expat Brits that live on the nearby Costa del Sol, Gibraltar is simply a place to go to each month in order to stock up on booze, fags, and British food from the territory’s Morrison’s supermarket.
The Charm Of “The Rock”
However, one has to visit first hand to truly appreciate what a unique place Gibraltar is. Some say it’s like a scaled down version of London, but that’s not 100% true. Others will tell you it’s like England was back in the 1970s, but that’s only half the picture. Parts of Gibraltar are indeed stuck in a time warp, with some buildings, shops and pubs that could easily have been the backdrop to early episodes of eternal UK TV soap-opera Coronation Street. However, other areas are as modern and vibrant as those of any prosperous city.
Its strategic importance is evident by the constant reminders that since the 17th century, Gibraltar has been a British Naval base, and there are antique cannons and memorials to the fallen from various military campaigns over the centuries on virtually every street corner.
But the real charm of Gibraltar is its warmth, and the way everyone just seems to get along, whether they be the ethnic Gibraltarians, the ex-pat Brits, the long-established orthodox Jews and Moroccan Muslims, they all greet each other with a warm smile, often speaking to each other in a unique mix of Spanish and English (which seems to be Spanish, studded with English expletives!)
Gibraltar’s New Improved Economy
Largely neglected by the British government for decades, in recent years Gibraltar has taken its affairs into its own hands. Once a stronghold of the offshore banking world, Gibraltar was forced to get into line with the rest of Europe, and while its banks have lost much of their veil of privacy and secrecy, they still maintain far better taxation rates.
Instead, Gibraltar has turned itself into a gambling and gaming powerhouse, with many of the world’s largest online sportsbooks and casinos now registered and based in Gibraltar. The reclaimed and man-made land area known as Ocean Village is the site of the towering glass-fronted office block that is Waterport Place, home to bet365, William Hill, and 32red among others. Near it is moored the colossal Sunborn Yacht Hotel, a floating five-star hotel/casino complex. This industry has attracted a new generation of young, wealthy tech-based residents with cash to spend, and spend it they do; the newly created strip full of plush bars and restaurants known as the Waterfront is seemingly always full of revelers from late afternoon until deep into the early hours.
Gibraltar is enjoying an economic boom-period that is unmatched anywhere in Europe with 8-10% GDP growth, and while Brexit shouldn’t harm its gambling/gaming industry, the territory relies on thousands of Spanish workers who cross the border each morning and leave each evening, to maintain its remarkably complex infrastructure.
Gibraltar’s Separate Brexit Agreement
Gibraltar is actively seeking a Brexit deal that preserves access to the European Union’s single market, as well as the rights of thousands of mainly Spanish workers to move freely across its border each day. Gibraltar’s Chief Minister (the territory’s highest political office) Fabian Picardo recently stated that he was looking to safeguard the territory’s financial-services industry against what he described as “œan existential threat to Gibraltar’s current economic model.” In a recent interview given in England, Picardo said:
“œGibraltar is saying we want access to the single market and we fully accept the free movement of people going forward. Those are the essential ingredients. If we were to lose access to the single European market in services, we would have to ensure that those who are in Gibraltar seeking that service are able somehow to access the rest of the European Union from Gibraltar in some way. But that does not mean that Gibraltar will not be able to reposition its economy and continue to be very successful, very prosperous indeed with a different economic model.”
Gibraltar voted overwhelmingly against leaving the European Union in June, and significantly, the territory isn’t classed as an integral part of the United Kingdom. This means it already enjoys a different relationship with the 27 remaining nations of the EU than the UK, and is likely to maintain those differences if Brexit happens. The EU views Gibraltar as very much a part of the team, and even if Spain attempt to veto any special arrangements with the territory, they are likely to be voted down by their counterparts.
As Picardo himself said:Â “œThere are the ingredients there for Gibraltar to do a good deal Â with the remaining 27 as long as Spain doesn’t play games.”
How To Gain Gibraltar Residency
Wealthy high net-worth UK citizens left perplexed and concerned after Brexit have been weighing up their options since the shattering result of June’s referendum. For many, it is integral that they are free to move and trade within the boundaries of the European Union, but they are now faced with the fact that their British citizenship could count against them doing just that.
Those who have Irish heritage are applying for an Eire passport, as Ireland are an EU member state and intent to remain so. Others are looking at dual citizenship with EU member states like Malta who have Citizenship by Investment programs, enabling individuals to acquire a Maltese passport in return for a specific financial investment.
Another option is the acquisition of Gibraltar residency. Wealthy investors, their interest sparked by the territory’s recession-proof economy, and strong ties to the EU, are using Gibraltar as an asset haven, and an opportunity to gain a Euro-friendly second residence.
- Investors with £2 million in assets qualify for Category 2 immigration status. They can travel to Gibraltar and Europe freely, and pay a maximum capped tax of £29,880 per annum on income.
- As a Category 2 resident, one can claim indefinite permanent residence in Gibraltar, while subject to no stay requirements in the territory.
- Qualification of Category 2 residency can be achieved by the purchase or rent of an “œapproved” house in the territory for private use (not for rentals)
- Category 2 status can be used to operate an offshore business, with tax on revenue capped at the aforementioned £29,880 per annum
- As a Gibraltar Category 2 resident, you will enjoy the freedom to travel and work without limits within the boundaries of the European Union
- Gibraltar has no capital gains tax, inheritance tax, wealth tax or sales tax
As long as you maintain your investment in the territory, you will be entitled to your Gibraltar residency, and all of the benefits that go with it. If you eventually choose to sell any purchased property, you will surely profit handsomely on the deal, as real estate on The Rock is among the most desirable “and most expensive” to be found anywhere in Western Europe.
If you are interested in more information regarding the Gibraltar Residency Program, or if you wish to know more about the CBI programs featured on the 2ndPassports.com homepage, both in Europe and the Caribbean, feel free to contact us for more information.
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