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Surak, Kristin (2021) 'Millionaire Mobility and the Sale of Citizenship.' Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 47 (1). pp. 166-189.

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Why do wealthy people purchase citizenship in peripheral countries? This article investigates the demand for citizenship by investment programmes, which enable naturalisation based on a donation or financial investment. Extending research on long-distance naturalisation among the middle class and on residence by investment programmes, I examine the motives of the wealthy using citizenship by investment options. Based on over one hundred interviews with rich naturalisers and intermediaries in the citizenship industry, I find that mobility, both in the present and as a future hedge, is a strong driver, followed by business advantages. Often it is privileges in third countries – not the place granting the citizenship – that are sought. In contrast to middle-class strategic naturalisers, quality of life, education options, and job prospects were not important, though navigating geopolitical barriers and risks were. Many naturalisers were not compensating for the failures of their citizenship at birth, but manoeuvering within a world of state competition. Finally, some individuals inverted the citizenship hierarchy and downgraded from ‘first tier’ memberships when, after years of living abroad, their nationality became a liability. The conclusion elaborates on the duplex structure of intra-state and inter-state inequality that channels demand, and the implications for citizenship more broadly.

Item Type: Journal Article
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > Department of Politics & International Studies
ISSN: 1369183X
Copyright Statement: © 2020 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies on 24 May 2020, available online:
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 30 Apr 2020 13:59
Funders: Leverhulme Trust

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