The topic of citizenship and its fluidity has found itself thrust into the spotlight on more than one occasion over the past 12 months. Last summer, the shock Brexit decision saw many UK citizens seeking to leverage their family heritage and apply for second passports.
Fast forward to 2017 and Donald Trump’s recent executive order has meant that many individuals, including those in the public eye, such as Sir Mo Farah, have had their travel plans ground to an immediate halt. Sir Mo was born in Somalia, one of the seven countries on Donald Trumps ‘banned list’, but has resided in the UK since 1991, was able to use his British passport to travel back to his home in Portland, Oregon.
However, despite the recent public and media interest in citizenship, exploring its boundaries and opportunities is not an entirely new concept.
In 2016, the BBC World Service conducted a poll that uncovered the fact that an increasing number of individuals are choosing to identify as a ‘global’ citizens. While this term is becoming more widely used, it is one that has been embraced by future-thinking high net worth individuals for many years – with almost 50% of the worlds high net worth individuals having lived in more than one country.
This isn’t to say that a person’s identity is defined only by their nationality, it’s fair to say that it can mean limitations. Being a citizen of the world simply means that these people are embracing their connection to the entire world, and refuse to obey the outdated view of being tied to national borders.
When the decision was made for Britain to leave the EU last summer, there was an epidemic of people choosing to transcend their national identity and embrace other avenues that were open to them due to legalities and family heritage. While the decision had largely negative connotations, the silver lining is that the opportunity to build on our already ‘connected’ world.
Applying for foreign citizenship isn’t about shedding nationality, it’s about embarking on a world-wide movement and making headway in global solutions. Our team at CS Global Partners is multi-cultural; we have team members from all corners of the globe and speak a variety of languages and many of us understand first-hand the benefit of dual nationality.
Along with the practical elements, there are an array of other benefits that the diversification of citizenship can offer. Dual citizenship adds another dimension to the connected world that we live in today, and this leads us to encounter all manner of cultures on a daily basis. Cultural awareness in any setting is a positive attribute, but within a business, it can increase client engagement because our level of understanding is expanded.
Communication is a fundamental element of business, and cultural awareness enables us to identify values, influences, and behaviours from cultures all over the world. If you are part of a firm that deals with international stakeholders, employees, or clients, then cultural awareness is going to increase your chance of success. By simply remaining ignorant to the cultural sensitivity of a country, you risk alienating clients and employees – leading to limited opportunities and revenue.
The expansion of the digital world has meant that the talent pool has widened and many businesses now outsource work or recruit global professionals; by failing to appreciate any cultural differences such as traditions, or even something that appears so basic as language can prevent employees from carrying out their job – to their highest potential, or in some cases, at all.
Immersing yourself in new cultures and countries can be an enlightening experience in many ways. By exposing yourself to new perspectives, new thought processes, and previously unexplored business customs, you are able to expand your horizons. Ultimately this means that citizens of the world have a large number of personal ‘tools’ to call upon when it comes to the completion of work and an open, flexible approach to challenges. Undoubtedly, these are ideal skills in any employee.
Accompanying the professional reasons for being a citizen of more than one nation, is an avalanche of personal reasons.
Every parent has a natural instinct to want to protect their children and to provide for them in the best possible way. This includes the finest educational choices as a family grows as well as ensuring that children experience the global ‘education in life’ that citizenship of the world can afford. Nobody wants their children to be in any way limited by the nationality that they were born into. Today, a variety of citizenship by investment programmes, many of which have provisions for children and descent, mean that the next generation never have to experience this restriction.
Financial security is of the utmost importance in today’s economic landscape. An investment in global citizenship allows families to create connections to countries that will provide an abundance of business opportunities and peace of mind when it comes to safeguarding a worldwide income.
We now live in a society with an almost unquenchable thirst for knowledge. The millennial generation are one of the most education but have fuelled a global epidemic to continue to learn; mature students also make up around 30% of the student population. Through applying for dual citizenship, you also open the avenues of world-class education. This could be a benefit of the citizenship, or the reason for it. Because of the political and economic challenges that many countries are facing, world-class education simply isn’t an option in everyone’s home nation. As a result, many high-net worth individuals are taking a closer look at residency and citizenship by investment programmes in order to provide greater education opportunities for both themselves and their loved ones.
Since 1945, the United Nations has been pushing for a global, intercultural world. Better transport and technology have paved the way for this to happen in the 21st century. It is now up to society to embrace the true meaning of the word ‘global citizen’ and all of the benefits it can offer. Even though events like Brexit have shown us that it is hard to predict the extent and speed to which integration will come about, it is essential to remember that change is important. That shift, whether it is good or bad, can align you with opportunities. At the end of the day, change is good, and citizenship is a new dawn.
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[This article is published in collaboration with BrandIQ by the CEOWORLD magazine. The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and not the CEOWORLD magazine. Image: Aegean Luxury Yachting – Luxury Yacht Charters in Greece.]