IM People in The News

“A War for Talent”: Investment Migration People in the News This Week

Investment migration people in the news this week included:

  • Feruza Djamalova of Sobirovs
  • Philippe Amarante of Henley & Partners
  • Juwai IQI
  • Denny Ko
  • Peter Luo of Express Immigration
  • Jeffrey Henseler of Passport Legacy
  • David Lesperance of Lesperance & Associates
  • Bettino Zanini
  • João Massano
  • Shai Zamanian of the American Legal Center
  • Preeya Malik of STEP Global
  • Sebastian Michael of Uno Capital
  • Mimoun Assraoui of RIF Trust and Latitude
  • Lizzie Edwards of La Vida Golden Visa
  • Hrant Boghossian of Arton Capital

Bloomberg – Exodus of Wealthy Chinese Accelerates With End of Covid Zero

Canadian immigration law firm Sobirovs is seeing a growing urgency from Chinese clients seeking to migrate to the North American country. “I would say the past six months people really got fed up. And so we see a spike on consultation bookings,” said Feruza Djamalova, a senior lawyer at Sobirovs. “Now our clients from China, they’re willing to do relocation and they want to as soon as possible.”


The departures among the wealthy already began last year. About 10,800 rich Chinese migrated in 2022, the most since 2019, and the second most after Russia, according to New World Wealth, a global data intelligence partner of investment migration consultant Henley & Partners.


Juwai IQI, a real-estate firm that helps sell international property to customers in Asia, said the number of mainland Chinese buyer inquiries dropped 26% in 2021 and fell 11% in 2022, but it’s gone up 55% in 2023 so far and stayed at that level.

Denny Ko, an immigration lawyer in Hong Kong who advises wealthy Chinese clients, said that the truly rich have had contingency plans in place for years, and the people who are now looking for options tend to be further down the wealth scale, including the upper middle class, entrepreneurs and senior-level executives.


That isn’t stopping those who want to leave. Peter Luo, the principal consultant at Express Immigration, a New Zealand immigration advisory, said the requests from Chinese clients keep pouring in, with most coming from the business community. “The notable thing is that they are very urgent, with the request that applications are approved immediately if possible,” he said.

Al Arabiya – Investment interest in second passports surges as many seek to escape visa woes

Investment interest in second passports is surging as many seek to escape visa application complications, a Dubai-based passport advisory told Al Arabiya English.

“Approximately 70 percent of the world’s population holds a “weak” passport that does not give them access to key business nodes such as the EU Schengen area, the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, and Singapore,” said Jeffrey Henseler, Passport Legacy’s founder, and managing partner. “Therefore, the desire for a stronger passport from a qualified CBI [Citizenship by Investment] program remains strong.”

“People have accordingly become more willing to invest $130,000 for a second passport because many are tired of meetings via online portals, and they wish to eliminate the need for lengthy visa application processes so that they can more easily meet their business partners, family, friends, and loved ones in person,” he explained, adding that such factors have been a major driving force for the thriving industry which is helping to “open borders” for people across the world.

David Lesperance made a number of media appearances also this week, including in:

  • Crypto.News – DeFi might have bright future in 2023 while NFTs need to prove their value, experts say:
    “2021 was a boom year for crypto, DeFi, and NFTs. 2022 was a bummer year. 2023 will be the year that the market and regulators clear out the riffraff,” said David Lesperance, an attorney with 30 years of experience and managing director at Lesperance & Associates.
  • The Street – Crypto Price Check: Analysts Say ‘Proceed With Caution’:
    On the enforcement side, David Lesperance, managing partner of immigration and tax adviser with Lesperance & Associates, said the FBI has announced that North Korean hackers used crypto mixer alternative Railgun to launder more than $60 million stolen from Harmony’s Horizon Bridge.

CNN Portugal – Golden visas: Delays lead foreign investors to sue the State to get a simple appointment at the SEF – and win

One of the cases won against the MAI/SEF is that of the lawyer Bettino Zanini, who in recent years has accompanied several foreign clients who invested thousands of euros in Portugal to apply for golden visas . Faced with the desperation of some customers, who after investing thousands of euros could not get a simple appointment at the SEF, it decided to take the MAI, on which it (SEF) is dependent, to court. The lawyer assured CNN Portugal that he has already won four lawsuits and is awaiting the decision of another five.


Speaking to CNN Portugal, the president of the Lisbon Regional Council of the Bar Association, João Massano, clarifies that “after the investment, it is necessary to gather the requested documentation and make the ‘instruction’ of the process on the SEF portal, in the account of investor”. From then on, the SEF would have 10 days to verify the documentation and to decide “whether or not the process can go ahead” and, if so, “indicate the available dates”. Then the law provides for 60 working days. That is, 90 days in a row.

Gulf News – More investors seek second passports, UAE Golden Visas amid global headwinds

For example, many Americans who visited Dubai either for Expo 2020, to expand business propositions, or to flee restrictive COVID-19 measures are now giving more significant consideration to building a base in the UAE, said Shai Zamanian, US-licensed lawyer, EB-5 expert and director of the American Legal Center in Dubai.

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Preeya Malik, the Director at STEP Global, said: “For CBI (citizenship by investment) programmes, interest has been rising in these over the last seven to eight years at approximately 30 per cent annually. Some years less and some years show more interest, depending on immigration policy.”

She added, “2021 was one of our best years in terms of application rates. However, globally there was only a slight uptick (maybe 15 per cent) from 2020, which was lower than the typical increase we have seen year to year in other years. In 2019 the application numbers for EB-5 were so high from Indian nationals it has now caused a backlog in processing time which is currently being cleared.”


The increase in interest in Golden Visas and CBI programmes came from market disruption brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. The programmes are even growing in popularity among individuals in the mid to high-income brackets, said Sebastian Michael, Director of Uno Capital.


“The investment migration industry has grown globally from $2.9 billion in 2011 to $21.4 billion in 2022, and we are happy to receive more inquiries year-on-year,” said Mimoun A. Assraoui, RIF Trust’s CEO and Latitude Group’s Vice Chairman.


Lizzie Edwards, Marketing Manager of La Vida Golden Visa, said: “The UAE has always been a large market for us, but our clients from UAE have doubled since 2019. We typically see an increase in demand for Golden Visas when geopolitical issues arise, as uncertainty increases the requirement/desire for a ‘plan B’ residency or passport.” She added, “UAE residents are becoming far more conversant with dealing with companies virtually outside the emirates.”


Nations with citizenship programmes want to bring more talent into their countries with the help of these opportunities. Philippe Amarante, Managing Partner and Head of Henley and Partners Private Clients in Dubai and Pakistan, said, “More and more countries are also launching their programmes to welcome talent into their nations.”

Amarante said that post-pandemic countries faced a lack of revenue for fiscal policies and state budgets. “These programmes boost the economy. It has become something of a war for talent,” he added.

Bloomberg – Millionaires Continued to Flee Post-Brexit Britain in 2022

A new report from the citizenship advisory firm Henley & Partners found there was a net outflow of 1,400 people with a wealth of $1 million or more from the UK in 2022. That compares to 2,200 in 2019, 2,800 in 2018 and 4,200 in 2017.

Condé Nast Traveler – The World’s Most Powerful Passports in 2023

Henley & Partners have announced the world’s most powerful passports and least powerful passports for 2023. After analyzing exclusive data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA), they developed the index based on the number of destinations passport holders can access without a prior visa.

Economic Times – New passport rankings show that the world is opening up – but not for everyone

Today, global mobility is on the rise. According to The Passport Index, an interactive ranking tool created by the investment firm Arton Capital, the “World Openness Score” reached an all-time high at the end of 2022. And the score has only continued to increase.


In 2022, Arton Capital co-founder Hrant Boghossian commented that “the rise in passport power that we have seen this year brings great cause for optimism.” This is surely true.

“The world has surpassed the benchmark of ‘openness’ set prior to the pandemic,” Boghossian continued, “and there are strong indicators that this upward trend is here to stay.” He finds particular encouragement in the fact that this has happened during a time of increased economic tumult and political tension, as well as lingering concerns regarding homeland security and mass migration.