looking increasingly likely that even the most optimistic UK Europhile is going to have to face the facts and accept that Brexit is going to take place. That said, if you are one of the many who voted to remain within the EU, just because Great Britain is leaving Europe, doesn’t mean you have to also.
On March 29 2017, British Prime Minister Theresa May became the first ever leader to activate Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union, therefore beginning the process of the UK’s departure from the EU. The estimated time of departure will be two years, and at that point Britain will sever its ties with the EU for the foreseeable future. Of course in this crazy world we live in, nothing is ever set in stone, and a second EU referendum (possibly dubbed Breturn or even Brenter) is certainly not beyond the realms of possibility. However, unfortunately for now that would seem unlikely, and even the most loyal British Europhile must resign themselves to the fact that they will be further away from mainland Europe than at any time since the late 1960’s.
What Caused Brexit?
How did it come to this? What has made Britain think it’s a good idea to sever ties with the largest single market in the world? The key factors were the sudden surge of millions of migrants from the Middle East, Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan in particular, heading to Europe and much of them targeting the UK as their preferred destination. Great Britain has long been the promised land for migrants because of its policy of benefits and even housing for those migrant families who are accepted and allowed to remain in the country.
When German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced in 2015 that Germany would take one million migrants, expecting similar gestures from the rest of the EU, it led to an almost limitless surge of near-frenzied, desperate people in numbers not seen since the end of World War II. Great Britain, while increasing multiracial and long renowned for its tolerance of minorities, still maintains a hard-core of racism, particularly among its working classes. The thought of hundreds of thousands of Middle Eastern refugees invading the country set off alarm bells among many millions across the UK.
Clever, calculating politicians, none more so than UKIP leader Nigel Farage (pictured) who had long called for Great Britain to turn their back on Western Europe were quick to spot an angle in which to capitalize on the immigration issue, and parlay it into a key reason for finally leaving the EU. Playing on the natural fear and racism of Britain’s working class, Farage and cohorts like Boris Johnson and Michael Gove stated that if halting mass immigration meant leaving the EU, then it would be worth it.
The British prime minister at that time David Cameron was facing a general election and was fearful of a stern challenge from young Labor Party leader Ed Miliband. To curry favor with the British working class, he promised them a referendum to remain in or leave Europe. In the event, Cameron won the election in a canter and the threat posed by Miliband and labour proved to be of no consequence.
While Cameron was a staunch Europhile, he was also a man of his word, and he gave the British public the referendum that he promised them. Cameron was stunned when they subsequently narrowly (51% to 49%) voted to leave the EU. Initially he said he would remain as PM and lead his country into Brexit, but his heart was clearly no longer in it. Just weeks after the Brexit result, Cameron, after six years in office and aged just 49, resigned his position, handing over the reins to current PM Theresa May.
Post Brexit Britain
While May was also a staunch remain campaigner pre-referendum, she has subsequently nailed her colours to the Brexit mast, activated Article 50, and is now set on getting the country the best deal possible before leaving Europe. The worst case scenario is a country shunned by its former EU partners, one that has to scour the rest of the world for business deals, relying on countries like India, China and Donald Trump’s America instead of Germany, France, Italy and Spain.
Speaking of France, Italy and Spain, if the EU wishes to play hardball over visa-free access, British holidaymakers wishing to continue taking their vacations in such massively popular Mediterranean destinations as France, Italy, Spain, Cyprus, Greece and Malta may now have to apply for visas before entering those countries.
How To Get Dual Citizenship And An EU passport
While the picture certainly looks bleak, for many Brits it doesn’t have to be. Whether it be via good fortune or financial fortune, literally hundreds of thousands of people across the UK will be able to gain an EU passport via dual citizenship. Here are the three main reasons how this will work;
1) Check Your Heritage
The quickest way to an EU passport might well be your eligibility for second citizenship to a European Union country. In Great Britain, that is most likely to be the result of Irish heritage, and around 10% of UK population currently has an Irish parent or grandparent. However, there are also many thousands of Brits who have a parent or grandparent who hails from a country like Italy, Spain, Greece, Cyprus, Germany, France, Poland, Hungary or indeed any of the remaining 27 EU member states. If that is the case, they too will be eligible for dual nationality, and that all-important EU passports.
Very few people from Scotland voted for Brexit, and as a result, that country now looks set to go ahead with a second referendum to leave the UK. If Nicola Sturgeon and Alex Salmond get their way this time around, once Scotland had gained its independence it would immediately apply to become an EU member state. There are even more Brits with Scottish ancestry in the UK than there are with Irish, so literally millions would be eligible for Scottish citizenship and that resulting EU passport.
2) Citizenship By Investment
If you are a regular visitor to 2ndPassports.com, you will be more than familiar with the process of Citizenship by Investment (CBI). While many European Union countries offer investor visa programs, there are only three who offer out-and-out pure citizenship by investment programs, and they are Austria, Malta and Cyprus. The difference between a CBI program and a Golden Visa program, or indeed any form of investor visa program is that the CBI program will be significantly more expensive, but the investor will achieve their goal of citizenship and a second passport in on average a year or even less.
By comparison, an investor visa program relies on an individual initially making a cash investment for the right to receive residency to a country for a period of time (normally five years), and on the conclusion of that, the investor can then apply for full citizenship and a passport of that country.
The downside of CBI is that it is considerably more expensive than an investor visa program. CBI programs vary from as much as €10 million for Austrian citizenship, €2 million for a Cyprus passport, down to €1.2 million for Maltese citizenship.
3) Investor Visa Programs
As touched upon in the previous section of this article, the Golden Visa and investor visa programs are on the whole more time-consuming than CBI programs, but will ultimately achieve the same objective. 2ndPassports.com has the necessary connections to significantly speed up the residency process with some programs, reducing the time to a year or even less.
In general, a country like Spain that has a Golden Visa program will require a refundable financial investment of around €500,000, normally in the form of a property purchase which will entitle the investor to residency in that country for five years. After a period ranging from 3 to 5 years, an individual can then apply for permanent residency, and after one year of permanent residency, full citizenship can be applied for.
One of the main benefits of these types of residency packages is that as a Spanish resident, the investor and their family would have visa-free access to the Schengen Area, which would be perfect for holidays and business trips, although residency does not grant the right to live and work without time limit in any EU country as a full citizenship does.
Summing up, while many consider Brexit to be a complete disaster and the worst possible scenario for their economic future, it doesn’t have to be. There are multiple options open for determined people to remain EU citizens, the simplest being cashing in on their long-held Irish heritage, or their Italian, Greek, or Polish etc. ethnicity. For those with the necessary collateral second citizenship can be secured in a matter of months for an outlay of just over €1 million all of which is refundable (bonds) of property. For those who are more patient, it might take a little more time but they should still achieve their goal of an EU passport within a matter of a few years.
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