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Hong Kong Golden Visa Rush “Increasingly Rapidly”: Investment Migration People in the News This Week

Investment migration people in the news this week include:

  • Patricia Casaburi of Global Citizen Solutions
  • João G. Gil Figueira of GFDL Advogados
  • Dominic Volek of Henley & Partners
  • Arthur Sarkisian of Astons
  • Pedro Cortés of Rato, Ling, Lei & Cortés – Lawyers.
  • Jeffrey Ling of Bartra Wealth Advisors
  • Tina Cheng of Midland Immigration Consultancy
  • Ana Vukovic of Collier’s

New York Times: House Hunting in Portugal: A Light-Filled Retreat Near the Atlantic Coast

In the downtown area, homes in the priciest areas — specifically the neighborhoods of Baixa and Chiado — sell for an average of 6,575 euros a square meter ($727 a square foot), said Patricia Casaburi, the CEO of Global Citizen Solutions, an investment migration consulting firm. “Prices are rising fast. Rent prices in this area are also very high, making it an ideal location for investment,” she said.

She also pointed to two “up-and-coming” districts, Marvila and Beato, onetime industrial areas that now have “a number of creative spaces and industries, as well as microbreweries, and can be a good choice when it comes to investing in property in Lisbon.”


Property ownership by foreigners is not restricted in Portugal, said João G. Gil Figueira, a partner with the Lisbon-based law firm GFDL Advogados.

“Legal fees, notary and registration fees for a typical residential property transaction are in the 1 to 2 percent range,” he said. Buyers also pay a stamp duty of 0.8 percent of the purchase price and a property transfer tax, which varies depending on whether the property is a first or second home.

Henley & Partners’ Passport Index featured in a wide range of mainstream outlets this week, including:

The Week: Landmark living: how much do properties cost near famous icons?

“The global property market is wonderfully diverse and allows many investors to build a wide portfolio based on their personal criteria and requirements,” said Astons managing director Arthur Sarkisian. “Of course, investing in the global go-to destinations of Paris, New York and London will come at a considerably higher cost, but even these premier locations will offer a range of investment opportunities at varying price points.” 

BBC: Covid accelerates India’s millionaire exodus

“I think they [clients] are realising they don’t want to wait for the second or third wave of the pandemic. They want to have their papers now that they are sitting at home. We refer to this as the insurance policy or Plan B,” Dominic Volek, Group Head of Private at Henley & Partners told the BBC on a video call from Dubai.

The Portugal News: Golden visas: Asian demand increases with law change

“We have felt in the last few months and also felt last year, until the beginning of the pandemic, a greater demand from investors”, said one of the partners of the firm Rato, Ling, Lei & Cortés – Lawyers.

“This is part of the strategy of having an office in Macau that gives us access to the Chinese market, Hong Kong and the market here in South Asia, and we feel that these markets have a greater appetite to invest in Portugal”, while the office in Portuguese territory has received most of the requests, underlined Pedro Cortés.

SCMP: Some Hongkongers are arbitraging between city’s record home prices and cheaper listings overseas as they head for the exit

Ireland and Portugal, among the most popular destinations for Hong Kong emigrants looking to qualify for residency in the European Union, offer particularly attractive bargains, according to investment advisers. Ireland is popular among parents, professionals and emigrants seeking to fast track their residency, with its offer of a good living environment and low-risk investments, according to consultancy Bartra Wealth Advisors.

“We see strong demand for emigration and it’s likely to continue,” said Bartra’s regional director Jeffrey Ling in Hong Kong. “People in Hong Kong who [are] eager to move abroad with an immediate need or with less than a year’s time frame have strong buying intention towards overseas residential properties.”


“We foresee the immigration policy will have more restrictions in European countries, that’s why the number of Hongkongers using immigration investment programmes through buying property is increasing rapidly” before the gateway closes, said Tina Cheng, associate director of Midland Immigration Consultancy.

Greek Reporter: Greek Real Estate Market Set to Rebound in Post-pandemic Greece

Ana Vukovic, the Managing Director for Collier’s Greece and Serbia, who also covers the markets of Cyprus, FYROM and Montenegro, has successfully led a number of large-scale mixed-use properties and portfolio projects from concept stage to completion.

The stability in the Greek real estate market became evident after a significant increase in investment volumes over the past years, with prices gradually reaching pre-crisis levels and a rise in construction activity in all sectors by the end of 2020. Demand in all real estate sectors resulted in a significant compression of yields for prime investment products, Vukovic tells Greek Reporter.

The post Hong Kong Golden Visa Rush “Increasingly Rapidly”: Investment Migration People in the News This Week appeared first on Investment Migration Insider.

EB-5’s “Chances of Timely Renewal Are Slim”: Investment Migration People in the News This Week

Investment migration people in the news this week include:

  • André Miranda of Pinto Ribeiro
  • Luis Lima of APEMIP
  • John Hu of John Hu Migration Consulting
  • William Tonnard of OptylonKrea
  • Nirbhay Handa of Henley & Partners
  • Charles Harris of The Get Golden Visa
  • Jean-François Harvey of Harvey Law Group
  • Ryan Rosenberg of Larlee Rosenberg
  • Rohit Kapuria of Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr
  • Mitch Wexler of Fragomen
  • Aaron Grau of IIUSA
  • Preeya Malik of Step Global
  • Nigel Green of deVere Group
  • Chitra Stern of Elegant Group
  • Luiz Felipe Maia of Maia International Properties
  • Arthur Sarkisian of Astons
  • Jason Gillot of GVP Life

SCMP: Hongkongers are still drawn to a new life in Portugal, even with tighter Golden Visa rules

“Many clients from Hong Kong are not only looking to invest, but they are also looking to relocate to Portugal, which they consider to be a harmonious, peaceful and welcoming environment to rebuild their personal and professional lives,” said [André] Miranda, a partner at the Pinto Ribeiro law firm.


Luis Lima, head of the Portuguese Real Estate Agents Association, said the revamped Golden Visa programme might send the wrong message to investors.

“I would understand that there might be a need to introduce adjustments in areas where there is greater real estate pressure, namely Lisbon and Porto … but to remove them from this programme sends a negative sign,” he said.


Hong Kong-based immigration consultant John Hu said he had noticed a decreasing number of queries from Hongkongers about the Portuguese programme due to the Covid-19 pandemic, which made travel and property inspections more difficult, as well as because of the new BN(O) visa scheme.

Hu said his agency was currently processing more than 50 new BN(O) applications and “recruiting more staff to cope with more Hongkongers migrating overseas”.

In Portugal, William Tonnard, president of investment management and real estate development company OptylonKrea, said Hongkongers had become some of his firm’s main clients.

“We have seen a lot of interest since the third quarter of 2019 from Hongkongers, who are now in our top three nationalities,” said Tonnard, who previously worked as a banker in the city. He said his company had received more than 400 direct enquiries from Hongkongers last year alone.

Times of India: Indian Rich Top World in Looking to Leave Country
“We saw a 62.6% increase in the number of enquiries received from Indians in 2020 as compared to 2019. The base for 2019 was over 1,500 enquiries,” Nirbhay Handa, director and head of global South Asia team, Henley & Partners, told TOI.


“Canada and Australia are key contenders, (but) the processing time for these programmes has become long and the investment amounts higher over time, so Indian HNWIs understand limitations,” says Handa.

Washington Post: Want a second passport? Here’s how to get dual citizenship.

Investing in a country, though expensive, is another way to get a second passport or a long-term visa, though not in every country. Services such as Get Golden Visa, which helps people obtain a second passport through investment, have reported strong growth in the last year. Charles Harris, Golden Visa’s director, says applications increased fivefold in 2020.

“The week of the 2020 U.S. elections, we received over a hundred requests from prospective American investors,” Harris says. “Our sales team had an inquiry every 20 to 30 minutes.”

SCMP: Canada’s ‘huge’ and ‘remarkable’ immigration offer to Hongkongers is partly political, partly pragmatic

“I’ve been doing Canada immigration for 29 years and I’ve never seen something so flexible,” said Jean-Francois Harvey, the Hong Kong-based founder and managing partner of the Harvey Law Group.

“A fresh graduate can come in. No language requirement. No minimum funds. It’s an open door,” said Harvey.

In Vancouver, fellow immigration lawyer Ryan Rosenberg was also unprepared for the scheme’s scope, calling it “wild”.

“The closest thing – and it’s not really in the same ballpark – is resettling tens of thousands of Syrian refugees,” he said.

He said open work permits of the type on offer were “coveted”.

“The idea of opening these up to an entire swathe of people because they happen to come from one place, because of their nationality, is pretty remarkable,” Rosenberg said. “Open work permits mean you can take any job. You don’t even need prearranged employment. We’re telling people, ‘you should come’ … it’s extremely generous.”

Times of India: Cash for Green Card: Will the Popular EB-5 Regional Center Programme Survive?

Today, the Damocles’ sword hangs over the heads of investors as the Regional Center programme, that was instituted in 1991, is at risk of expiration. Time is running out and nonone says it better than IIUSA, a dominant EB-5 regional center trade association.

In its message to stakeholders, IIUSA (Invest in the USA) emphatically states: “Be clear about this! If the EB-5 Regional Center programme is not reauthorised before June 30th, it will cease to exist. Its elimination would leave thousands of good-faith investors uncertain as to their status at best and potentially without the immigration benefits they had sought in pursuing an EB-5 investment. Also significant for the future, the EB-5 Regional Center’s elimination would jeopardise funding efforts for economic development projects across the country – just when our country needs it most.”


Rohit Kapuria, partner at Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr, a law firm, explains: “The EB-5 programme (meaning, the direct EB-5) is permanent and is not at risk. It is the Regional Center (pilot) programme, which was instituted in 1991, that is at risk of expiration. This programme has been subject to multiple extensions over the last few years. Previously, the extensions were lengthier, but in the last 6 years, it has been subject to several short extensions that were tied to the government’s budget appropriations process.”


“The fate of pending and approved I-526 petitions, that were predicated on regional center investments, is entirely up to USCIS,” states Mitch Wexler, partner at Fragomen, a global immigration law firm.


IIUSA appears to be optimistic:

“Given the recent transition in the US administration and its completely opposite disposition toward immigration, it is more likely than not that there will be no termination and if for some reason there is, grandfathering is just as likely,” says Aaron Grau, executive director at this trade association.

Arabian Business: Why the US immigrant investor programme is making headlines again

Managing Director of Dubai-based Step Global, Preeya Malik, pens an op-ed for Arabian Business in which she considers the future of the EB5 regional center program.

“While the industry is hopeful that the stand alone EB-5 legislation will pass by the end of June, the fact remains that with the recent change in administration, an impeachment hearing, and many other pressing matters currently sitting in Congress, the chances of timely renewal are slim.”

Forbes: Will The Golden Visa Boom Continue In 2021?

London-based Henley & Partners says it has seen a 25 percent increase in inquiries from high-net-worth individuals asking about residence-by-investment programs. Most of these people are coming from emerging markets, as has traditionally been the case. India, Pakistan, Nigeria, and South Africa filled out four of Henley’s top five countries for 2020.


Financial advisory firm deVere Group says it saw inquiries grow by 50 percent from similar countries, as well as Russia and countries in the Middle East and East Asia.

What does this surge tell consultants? Henley and deVere both say it indicates that second passports have become more of a practicality for investors than an optional luxury item.

“Whether it be for personal reasons, such as to remain with loved ones overseas or be able to visit them, or for business reasons, a growing number of people are seeking ways to secure their freedom of movement as they have faced travel restrictions which are, typically, based on citizenship,” Nigel Green, deVere CEO said in December 2020.

SCMP: Portugal Golden Visa: Hong Kong buyers likely to take advantage of property investment extension in Lisbon, Porto

“When the Portuguese government introduced the deadline of July 2021, Hong Kong buyers were hesitant to commit as they felt they may not have enough time to do the transaction and then fly to Portugal to complete the necessary biometrics,” said Chitra Stern, founder and owner of Elegant Group, developer of Martinhal Hotels & Resorts and Martinhal Residences, a branded residence project in Lisbon. “The extension removes this barrier and we expect to have more enquiries now.”


“Investors will now have more confidence [regarding] their application as ten and a half months is a very comfortable time frame,” said Luiz Felipe Maia, managing director at Lisbon-based Maia International Properties, which has an office in Hong Kong.

International Adviser: Demand for UK golden visa set to rise

The UK Tier 1 investor visa is expected attract more attention this year, according to research by citizenship-by-investment firm Astons.

If the estimates are correct, this would see an inversion in the current trend as the number of applications has significantly declined since 2018.

According to Astons, the Brexit referendum lifted demand for golden visas. Total applications increased by 61.3% in 2017 compared with the previous year, and investment nearly doubled at £700m ($960m, €792m), from the £434m of 2016.

But the surge slowed in 2018, with a 7.4% rise in applications leading to the issuance of 376 such visas and £752m in total investment value.

Since then, demand has been “in freefall”, Astons said.


Arthur Sarkisian, Astons’ managing director, said: “There has been a rather drastic decline in demand for UK Tier 1 visas in recent years and this is a trend that has continued during the last year, no doubt intensified by the restrictions caused by the pandemic.

Financial Times: Should I give away my assets before the Budget?

Jason Gillott, co-founder of GVP Life, which specialises in helping people obtain “golden visas” in Portugal, says you have three options. The D7 Passive Income Visa is the most accessible route. If you can demonstrate that you have a stable, passive income — such as from renting property or investment dividends — in your current country of residence of at least €7,980 a year, then you can live anywhere you want in Portugal without having to buy property locally.

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Portugal GV Changes a “Terrible Mistake”: Investment Migration People in the News This Week

Investment migration people in the news this week include:

  • Bruno L’ecuyer of the Investment Migration Council
  • Tina Cheng of Midland Immigration
  • Mohammed Asaria of Range Developments
  • Farzin Yazdi of Shard Capital
  • Andrés Gutierrez of CSB Group
  • Kate Everett-Allen of Knight Frank
  • Alejandra Vanoli of VIVA Sotheby’s International Realty
  • Niko Laković of Montenegro Sotheby’s International Realty
  • James O’Brien of International Realty Group Ltd.
  • Arthur Sarkisian of Astons
  • Luís Lima of APEMIP

Cyprus Mail: Cyprus: “Legal case against passports for investment is weak” – Expert

The Geneva, Switzerland-based Investment Migration Council has reacted strongly against the European Commission attempt to put an end to citizenship schemes.

“We defend the sovereign and societal value creation of Investment Migration Programmes, “ insists Bruno L’ecuyer, CEO of the Investment Migration Council (IMC).

“The two-month deadline set by the European Commission for the governments of Cyprus and Malta to reply to the letters of formal notice regarding their citizenship-by-investment pathways is approaching. In advance of this date, the Investment Migration Council (IMC) wishes to engage with all relevant stakeholders and remind them of a number of salient points,” L’ecuyer told the Cyprus Mail in an interview.

South China Morning Post: Easy path to citizenship makes UK top choice for Hongkongers fleeing political upheaval, says Midland Immigration Consultancy

“The number of Hongkongers who liked the UK showed the largest increase because the threshold for Britain is the lowest among [choices like] Australia, Canada,” said Tina Cheng, senior strategy director at Midland. “Hong Kong people simply holding BN(O) can apply to move to England, with almost no other requirement than living there for a period of time.”

Arabian Business: How Covid-19 has impacted the citizenship by investment industry

Head of Range Developments, Mohammed Asaria, pens an opinion piece for Arabian Business in which he outlines the blows dealt and victories granted to the investment migration industry in 2020.

After almost a decade of being involved in the citizenship by investment industry, helping people find an investment that also provides freedom to travel and the ability to live in pastures greener, I have never seen a year quite like this one.

International Adviser: How to advise HNW clients with UK investor visas

Farzin Yazdi, Head of Investor Visa at London-based Shard Capital, opines in International Adviser.

Some have called for the UK’s financial services regulator to create a separate client classification for Investor Visa applicants given the systems and controls required to be able to meet not only financial but immigration regulatory obligations. The next time you see a potential Investor Visa applicant, do think of the risks involved and call upon those who have stood the test of time.

Mansion Global: With New Limits on ‘Golden Visas’ in Portugal, Buyers May Look to Other Markets

n spite of safety concerns and travel restrictions, the market for so-called “golden visas”—programs that grant citizenship or residency to foreign nationals who make significant investments in a country, often in real estate—has thrived during the Covid-19 pandemic, with high-net-worth global buyers eagerly seeking out both physical and financial safe havens.

“Clients are diversifying,” said Andres Gutierrez, an investment immigration consultant with CSB Group in Malta. “In a pandemic, clients have realized that [citizenship by investment regulations] give an edge against geopolitical risk and volatility. They want investment stability, they want options for their children.”


“Portugal’s appeal and why it’s done so well is partly lifestyle and culture that’s particularly appealing, and values in Lisbon were pretty competitive compared to other European markets,” said Kate Everett-Allen, the head of international residential research at Knight Frank. “In terms of other markets, it’s quite striking how many there are.”


“Outside of Lisbon and Porto, we’re talking about small cities with not very good [transportation] connections,” said Alejandra Vanoli of VIVA Sotheby’s International Realty in Spain. “In Spain, you have excellent connections flying to Madrid, or on the coast, Levante, Seville or Andalucia.”


“Life costs are much cheaper here than in the European Union, and you’re getting a lifetime citizenship,” said Niko Laković of Montenegro Sotheby’s International Realty. “It’s a very beautiful lifestyle and we’re a maximum two-hour flight from major European cities. And you’re getting an actual passport three months after starting the process.”


“There’s no restriction at all to foreign ownership of land here, whereas there is some in European nations,” said James O’Brien of International Realty Group Ltd., an affiliate of Luxury Portfolio International in the Cayman Islands. “And obviously there’s no direct taxation at all, whether that’s property taxes, personal income, inheritance. It’s very difficult to find any jurisdiction that ticks all the boxes that the Cayman Islands does.”

The Express: Passports: Best ‘golden visa’ citizenships to beat Brexit travel restrictions

“A number of EU nations do provide the option to obtain residency within one month, however, in these instances, you must have lived in the country for a specified number of years, usually around five,” said Arthur Sarkisian, managing director of Astons.

Portugal Resident: “Terrible mistake”: Portugal’s golden visa changes ‘kill the Golden Goose’

Said Luís Lima of APEMIP (the association of real estate professionals): “The way I see it, there couldn’t be a worse time to introduce these changes. It was already a mistake when they were announced in the 2020 State Budget, but the decision has become all the more incomprehensible within the context of the pandemic we are living through…”

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The post Portugal GV Changes a “Terrible Mistake”: Investment Migration People in the News This Week appeared first on Investment Migration Insider.