Figures Reveal Sharp Drop in Number of Chinese Investor Migrants Since 2019

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It doesn’t merely seem as though Chinese investor migrants are becoming fewer; data covering 2020 and YTD 2021 confirm it.

Earlier this month, we published an article that asked (and attempted to answer) the question: Where Are All the Chinese Applicants? The 3 Factors Killing the Mainland IM Market

We’ve since reviewed the data to gain a more complete understanding of the application and approval volume trends among Chinese investor migrants in 2020 and 2021. The numbers paint a picture of a precipitous decline in applications from the country.

This is in sharp contrast to American investor migrants, who have quickly become a sizeable contingent in the market and are likely to set new records this year.

Among the preponderance of investment migration programs for which we have reliable data, the number of approved applicants of Chinese nationality contracted markedly between 2019 and 2020 and, based on (limited) preliminary data, looks to sink even further in 2021.

Among the 12 programs for which complete 2019 and 2020 data is retrievable, only three showed an increase in Chinese investment in 2020 compared to the preceding year; South Korea saw the number of Chinese applicants for its investor visa more than double during the period, the UK's Startup/Innovator visas approved 44% more Chines in 2020 than in 2019 (starting from a low base as 2019 was that program's launch-year), while Saint Lucia's CIP saw a 20% uptick during the fiscal year that ended on June 30th, 2020.

The sharpest drop-off appears to have been observed for the Canadian Startup Visa program, although these data must be taken with a pinch of salt as we only have data for the first half of 2020 for this program.

The Spanish and Greek golden visas, as well as Australia's BIIP (which includes the SIV) lost about half their Chinese volume during the period, while the US EB-5 program and the UK Investor Visa lost some two-thirds.

We have only very limited data for 2021 so far. Programs for which we have no 2021 data whatsoever include the CIPs of Antigua & Barbuda, Saint Lucia, and Vanuatu, as well as the residence programs of Australia BIIP, US EB-5, and US E2 (though China is not a treaty country, a handful Chinese nationals are listed as receiving these visas each year).

Among the programs for which preliminary 2021 data are available, we've plotted the trajectory to forecast figures through the end of this year and compared these to 2020-numbers. Again, most programs - with notable exceptions - can expect a further decline in Chinese investor migrant approvals also for 2021.

Portugal Golden Visa

Chinese main applicant approvals

  • in 2019: 394
  • in 2020: 296
  • in 2021 (year to October 31st): 237

Annualized projection for full-year 2021: 284 (-4% compared to 2020)

Greece Golden Visa

Chinese main applicant approvals

  • in 2019: 2,752
  • in 2020: 1,213
  • in 2021 (year to October 31st): 397

Annualized projection for full-year 2021: 476 (-61% compared to 2020)

UK Investor Visa

Chinese main applicant approvals

  • in 2019: 147
  • in 2020: 47
  • in 2021 (year to September 30th): 51

Annualized projection for full-year 2021: 68 (+45% compared to 2020)

UK Startup/Innovator Visas

Chinese main applicant approvals

  • in 2019: 41
  • in 2020: 59
  • in 2021 (year to September 30th): 92

Annualized projection for full-year 2021: 110 (+86% compared to 2020)

Spain golden visa

Chinese main applicant approvals

  • in 2019: 489
  • in 2020: 270
  • in 2021 (year to June 30th): 74

Annualized projection for full-year 2021: 148 (-45% compared to 2020)

South Korea Investor Visa

Chinese main applicant approvals

  • in 2019: 102
  • in 2020: 229
  • in 2021 (year to May 31st): 113

Annualized projection for full-year 2021: 271 (+18% compared to 2020)

If you like data-driven articles like this one, you'll love the IMI Data Center, the world's largest collection of investment migration statistics.

More Intel & Data

While contours of a recovery from 2020's drop in Chinese IM program participation are becoming apparent, the market remains in the doldrums.
The program's applicant nationality profile is decidedly Western: Among the top 10 source countries are the US, Germany, France, and the UK.
American applicants and fund investments reach record highs while Chinese participation and per-applicant average investment hit record lows.


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Christian Henrik Nesheim AdministratorKeymaster

Christian Henrik Nesheim is the founder and editor of Investment Migration Insider, the #1 magazine - online or offline - for residency and citizenship by investment. He is an internationally recognized expert, speaker, documentary producer, and writer on the subject of investment migration, whose work is cited in the Economist, Bloomberg, Fortune, Forbes, Newsweek, and Business Insider. Norwegian by birth, Christian has spent the last 16 years in the United States, China, Spain, and Portugal.

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