Marco Mazzeschi is the founder of Mazzeschi S.R.L, one of the leading business immigration and citizenship law firm in Italy. He has more than 30 years of experience in corporate immigration and commercial law.
The global pandemic has only delayed the projects for most of the people interested in obtaining a second residency or passport, he said.
“However, as soon as the situation calms and returns to normality, the industry will come back even stronger than before the pandemic,” he said. “I am optimistic and I believe that the future of the RCBI industry shall be of growth. Many countries are implementing stricter and more protectionist immigration policies. The building of immigration “barriers” will make international travelling more difficult, which will inevitably increase the demand for any legal ways to overcome any such restrictions.”
What is it like working in this industry?
The pandemic has changed our habits. Until the beginning of Covid 19 crisis, life was hectic. For our sector, attendance to conferences and networking is vital. This means a lot of international travelling, meeting many different people and breaking many cultural barriers. This may sound tiring but if you love it, this lifestyle was extremely exciting and rewarding.
What are some current trends you are seeing in the RCBI industry globally?
The travel restrictions induced by the pandemic have stressed the importance of having a second passport or residency. Many people have realized the benefits and freedom of movement that this can bring. In my opinion the RCBI industry will be even stronger when the pandemic is over.
What are some current trends you are seeing with Italy’s program and its investors?
The Italian Investor visa has recently become more attractive and is generating a lot of interest. The government has reduced the threshold for investing in shares of a company from 1 million euros to 500,000 euros and has also approved additional benefits, such as a very favorable flat tax regime for new residents. This scheme is also attracting many EU citizens. An interesting option for young entrepreneurs is also the Start-up Visa, for which it is sufficient to submit a business plan for an innovative project and to show availability of just 50,000 euros to invest.
Has there been any recent changes to Italy’s program?
Italy has approved some very interesting modifications to the Investor’s visa program: The application for the Italy Investor Visa Clearance (“Nulla Osta”) can also be filed using a company controlled by the applicant; Investor permit holders are exempted from the Integration Agreement obligations, i.e. language test etc.; and Investor permit holders are no longer required to spend a minimum amount of time in Italy.
What are your thoughts on vaccine passports?
The EU states will need to find an agreement on common criteria under which this passport can be issued, so that it is accepted by all EU authorities. There are also some scientific concerns, namely how long does the immunity last and will these vaccines actually protect us against new variants. Legal and ethical issues will also need to be solved: will these “passes” be given only to those who have been vaccinated? What would happen to those ones who cannot be vaccinated because they are too young or due to health or religious reasons? Wouldn’t this scheme cause discrimination? On the other hand, it is also true that this could be a great idea to ensure the EU citizens’ freedom of movement, as lately this freedom has been limited. It will be interesting to see how this project will be further developed.
What is your take on the importance of cryptocurrency in this industry?
Cryptocurrencies are not the future, but already a reality. Until now their use has been stigmatized and has raised concerns amongst governments and regulatory authorities because transactions are immune to monitoring and therefore vulnerable to illegal activities and volatile trading prices. But there are technological features that, if added, can overcome these issues and make its legitimization possible in the RCBI market, which can be subject to money laundering activities. China is already experimenting with its sovereign digital currency, the so-called Digital Currency Electronic Payment (DCEP). DCEP is a centralized cryptocurrency and regulatory authorities shall be able to track and monitor how money is used by its users. Also, Facebook’s Libra is likely to become popular after it has changed its initial goals and has proposed to create multiple units tied to existing currencies such as the US dollar or the euro, which can blend much easier in domestic monetary, financial, and regulatory frameworks. Therefore, it should not pose direct threats to monetary autonomy and more importantly, will assure the traceability of all transactions.
Why do you think global mobility is important these days?
In my opinion global mobility is here to stay and it is irreversible. The pandemic and the digital transformation will change people’s habits and way of working, but people will still need and want to travel. The ability of having a wider freedom to travel and be subject to fewer restrictions will make the possession of a second residency card or passport even more valuable. The shortage of highly skilled workers is causing a “war for talents” amongst countries and companies and workers who have the possibility of by-passing any visa limitations will be favored.
Why did you decide to join our Uglobal verified community and what has it done for your business?
UGlobal Community is very lively and all members have a high reputation and they are all very professional. I joined the community because I was interested to share and discuss the developments of the RCBI market, better understand clients’ requirements and expectations and give my contribution to on-going discussions. Joining UGlobal has increased my visibility and has consolidated my reputation.
What is your favorite quote and why?
“I want my lawyer to tell me how to do what I want to do”, attributed to JP Morgan. Most information has become easily accessible on the web. The role of lawyers has changed, clients expect from us not to know what is in the law and what they cannot do, they expect counsels to be proactive and creative.
What is the favorite book you have read recently? Why?
The Birthright Lottery of Ayelet Shachar. I find the author’s view very interesting, especially that birth right citizenship is a form of property inheritance and an arbitrary criteria to grant citizenship. I agree with the author’s view that nations need to expand their membership boundaries beyond outdated notions of blood-and-soil. If well managed and strictly controlled, citizenship by investment can be a way of contributing to the common good of a political community and should therefore not be summarily dismissed as a legitimate reason for acquiring citizenship.
What are your top destinations in the world and why?
My life is between Italy (I have a country home in Tuscany) and Taipei. Life in Taipei is fantastic, even though I do not speak Mandarin I feel at home and everyone is so friendly. My favorite countries to visit are China and Japan. Their cultures, lifestyle and habits are so different from Italy, but unique and fascinating and, last but not least, I love all sort of Asian food!
Any places with special memories or adventures that you have experienced?
I have visited several countries in the world but one of the things that makes my heartbeat, deeply thrills me (and gives me such an adrenaline rush) is attending the Palio, the thunderous, lawless, bareback, medieval-style horse race held in Siena which is my hometown in Tuscany. It takes place twice during the summer months. The race has been held since 1656 in front of tens of thousands of spectators on a track of packed clay, laid down in the city’s medieval square, which is considered one of the most beautiful in Italy.
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