Investment migration people in the news this week include:
- David Regueiro of RIF Trust
- Tony Ebraheem of 111 Immigration
- Preeya Malik of Step Global
- Imran Farooq of AAA Associates Immigration
- Sadir Al Kherdaji, of Al Kherdaji International Legal Consultants
- Tiago Camara of PTGoldenVisa
- Kristin Surak
- Maryam Djafarpour of Savory & Partners
- Christian Kälin, Jürg Steffen, and Stuart Wakeling of Henley & Partners
- Armand Arton of Arton Capital
- David Lesperance of Lesperance & Associates
- Jason Porter of Blevins Franks
- John Hanafin of Huriya Private
- Arthur Sarkisian of Astons
“The pandemic has meant that even more wealthy people have felt hemmed in by borders and are likely to hedge the risk in the future by ensuring they can move smoothly across them and spend time in desirable locales,” says professor Kristin Surak from the London School of Economics in her recent research on the uptake of residence by investment programmes in the European Union.
Maryam Djafarpour, International Business Development Manager, Savory and Partners, echoes the same, as she says, “Over the past decade, we have learned that you can never be too prudent to forecast the future. Investment migration is a constantly evolving industry. However, the lockdowns and grounding of flights have made everyone yearn for mobility. This emphasises how we take mobility and freedom for granted. Such disruptions of a global magnitude have created instability within regions leading to an increased demand in the sector.”
A recent study published by residence and citizenship advisory firm Henley & Partners also points to an accelerated growth of investment migration amid Covid-19, which has now become a standard consideration for international HNWIs who are looking to hedge volatility, create short-term value as well as long-term yield through enhanced global mobility.
The firm has recorded a 25 per cent increase in the number of HNWIs enquiring about citizenship by investment (CBI) as opposed to residence by investment (RBI) programmes since the outbreak of the virus, indicating that wealthy international investors are considering a more permanent change. “Investment migration has matured from being a luxury lifestyle product to become a sophisticated investment choice, and the Covid-19 fallout has put a spotlight on the many benefits of strategic residence and citizenship planning,” says Dr Juerg Steffen, CEO, Henley & Partners, in a press statement.
“The sector is currently benefiting from all the instability we are living worldwide at the moment — pandemic, conflicts and wars, travel bans, unemployment and bankruptcy, among others,” says Tiago Camara, Partner, PTGoldenVisa, which specialises in investment migration in Portugal.
“Demand for Caribbean citizenship has been incredibly high as the pandemic has shown us yet another reason why it is so important to diversify one’s citizenship and not be reliant on a single country,” says David Regueiro, COO, RIF Trust.
In real estate investments, more than 75 per cent of the total cost of the programme are invested in one of the approved projects in the country and the initially invested amount must be maintained for a minimum period, usually for five years before the investor can sell it, explains Tony Ebraheem, Founder and Lawyer, 111 Immigration. “Obtaining second citizenship through investments in real estate in Turkey is one of the most popular options. Demand for real estate investments for a passport is strong in Portugal, Grenada, and Dominica as well,” he adds.
“The current investment amount for the EB-5 programme is $500,000 within certain geographical areas in the US,” says Preeya Malik, Managing Director, Step Global.
“The pandemic has taught us many lessons. One of them is the importance of having an alternative citizenship or a strong second passport, preferably of a country, which allows worldwide freedom of travel in times when circumstances are not in one’s favour, such as Covid-19-related travel restrictions imposed by some countries,” says Imran Farooq, CEO, AAA Associate Immigration Services.
“Migrant entrepreneurs often face a range of legal challenges, from establishing and maintaining their businesses, meeting the start-up visa requirements and complying with the host country laws, to dealing with capital transfer restrictions as regulated by the investor’s own country as well as the host state,” explains Dr Sadir Al Kherdaji, Managing Director, Al Kherdaji International Legal Consultants.
As is the custom when the firm releases updates to its passport index, Henley & Partners featured in a wide range of well-known publications this week. Some of the more notable mentions:
- CNN: The world’s most powerful passports for 2021
- Fortune: U.S. passport is only as good as Rwanda’s amid COVID restrictions
- Bloomberg: U.K. Passport Is as Good as Uzbek One, New Ranking Shows
Arton Capital’s Passport Index also received a number of mentions this week, particularly in the MENA region:
- Arabian Business: Passport Ranking 2021: UAE ranked 3rd global strongest passport, same as US
- Gulf News: Passport Ranking 2021: UAE ranked 3rd global strongest passport, same as US
Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA) has announced a high-impact investment programme that aims to position the emirate as one of the most preferred tourism destinations in affordable luxury.
Endorsed by the government of Ras Al Khaimah, the new initiative, SelectRAK, is rolled out in partnership with Arton Capital, a government advisory company that focuses on promoting public-private partnerships that energise economies around the world.
“There is immense potential in Ras Al Khaimah, and we look forward to contributing over two centuries of collective team experience to this exciting initiative. SelectRAK will showcase the benefits of investing in the Emirate on the global stage,” said Armand Arton, founder and president of Arton Capital.
International Adviser: Can golden visas help UK expats rescue EU retirement dreams?
Jason Porter, director at Blevins Franks, said that golden visas can offer an alternative to the restrictions, but there is, indeed, a catch, “as the freedom only exists between the UK and the EU member state you are applying to”.
Both Stuart Wakeling, head of London office at Henley & Partners, and John Hanafin, chief executive of Huriya Private, said there has been an increasing number of applications for golden visas from UK nationals.
Hanafin said: “Since the British became non-Europeans in January this year, EU golden visa programmes have officially allowed British citizens to start applying. In fact, the biggest uplift in both Portugal and Greek programmes have been British and Americans.”
Wakeling added: “Henley & Partners has seen a nearly 60% increase in enquiries relating to investment migration programme options from UK nationals since 2019.”
Arthur Sarkisian, managing director of Astons, said golden visas have been proving very popular as the application process is quite quick and “straightforward”.
“Many British expats now face tougher restrictions with regard to the time spent living within the EU. This will most certainly require a period of adjustment although the route of citizenship or residency via investment could provide a far easier path to life outside of the UK.
David Lesperance, managing partner of Lesperance & Associates, said that businesspeople who fall out of government favor in China “do not have a history of longevity for their freedom.”
“One half of the coin is escaping the wrath of Chinese authorities,” he said, “the other is finding a safe haven for your family and your business. “
Lesperance said Bitcoin miners need a back-up plan to protect themselves and their families from a personal backlash from the Chinese government.
They also need the ability to set up operations in a location which has low price energy; rule of law to protect their business; and a supply of trained local staff to operate their facilities.
“The crypto-exchange clients also need a personal Backup Plan for themselves and their families,” Lesperance said. “However, their business needs are different. They need to establish their exchange in a location which will allow them to operate and thrive in a legal environment which will allow them to meet the incoming regulation of the US, UK, EU and others.”