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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Legal firm to help elite gain dual citizenship

Legal firm to help elite gain dual citizenship

A new international law firm is preparing to set up shop to provide foreign citizenship or residency services to Cambodia’s wealthy elite by helping to facilitate large overseas investments as well as business expansion plans.

Harvey Law Group (HLG), an international law firm that started in Canada in the early 1990s, announced yesterday that it was looking to set up an office in Cambodia to provide legal guidance for the country’s wealthiest citizens that are looking to obtain a second citizenship.

Guillaume Matz, senior associate at HLG, said that countries around the world offer citizenship through large-scale investment schemes.

“All countries worldwide have set up streams in order for you to invest for immigration, [but] the type of investment varies according to the country of destination,” he said. “We help Southeast Asian people to set up abroad, to relocate their business, to find new options on a worldwide scale, and to send their kids to others countries for education purposes through investments.”

Matz noted that for Southeast Asia, the primary destinations for citizenships through investments are Canada, Australia and the US. The specifics of how the investment needs to be made and whether it requires an active or passive participation from the investor vary for each destination, he explained, but individuals can expect to pay $500,000 dollars to obtain citizenship in the US, $230,000 in Canada and over $1 million for Australia.

“These investments are going to lead you to one specific aspect,” he said. “You are going to have the right to live, without any terms, in one country or you are going to have the right to become a citizen of one country, which means you will have the right to have a passport from that country.”

Bastien Trelcat, managing partner of HLG, said that the next challenge for the company was to make their services known to high-profile Cambodian individuals, most of whom are unaware of these types of investment perks.

“Most Cambodian high net worth individuals don’t know what we do, or don’t know that this programme exists, so I would say our highest challenge is actually to educate the market about what is there for them,” he said.

“Roughly, we are talking about a couple of thousand people who can afford these types of investments.”

The target market for the law firm’s clients in Cambodia is individuals with a net worth of $3 million to $5 million, he added.

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