IM People in The News

“At The Moment, Yes, We Have a Problem”: Investment Migration People in The News This Week

 Investment migration people in the news this week included:

  • Armand Arton of Arton Capital
  • “Katie The Russian” of Plan B Passport
  • Dominic Volek of Henley & Partners
  • Paulo Lopes of Casaibéria Real Estate/Luxury Portfolio
  • Virgolino Gomes of Sotheby’s Vilamoura 
  • Mariana Carp of ILYA
  • Sara Rebolo of Prime Legal and PAIIR
  • Anthony Liew of MM2H Consultants Association
  • Jeffrey Henseler and Jose Charo of Passport Legacy
  • Ziad Karkaji of Global Pass
  • Kai Dai of Huawen Foundation
  • Dr. Kristin Surak

Insider – The ‘Robinhood of passports’ says it’s a mistake to ban golden visas — make them fund affordable housing and refugee programs instead

Portugal and Ireland recently announced they are shutting down their “golden visa” programs. 

Armand Arton, CEO of Arton Capital, thinks it’s a wasted financial opportunity. 


“The rich will anyways get from point A to point B,” he says, beginning his pitch. “So removing the price they have to pay, it’s a lost financial opportunity.”


“Portugal should have stopped and said, listen, real estate doesn’t work for us anymore. Let’s find something else that the country needs,” he told Insider. 

Dr. Kristin Surak, an Associate Professor of Political Sociology at the London School of Economics and author of “The Golden Passport: Global Mobility for Millionaires,” says that while firms like Arton’s obviously have a financial interest in the programs continuing, the founder does make some fair points.

According to Surak, there aren’t enough golden visa recipients to destabilize the entire country’s housing market. Since the program’s inception in 2012, Portugal has issued 11,628 investor visas, equating to approximately 0.1% of the national population.

“I think there’s a little bit of racism, to be quite honest, in terms of the way these programs get blamed for different things,” she said, noting that most foreign property owners in Portugal are from EU countries like France and Sweden. Meanwhile, Chinese and Brazilian nationals make up the majority of the country’s golden visa recipients.

Bitcoin Magazine – Leading The Bitcoin Revolution, El Salvador Should Launch A Citizenship By Investment Program

“Katie The Russian” of Plan B Passport contributed an editorial to Bitcoin magazine making a case for El Salvador’s Citizenship by Investment Program.

El Salvador stands to lead the way in a new era of citizen-government relationships, where citizens are treated as customers and governments are treated as service providers. And, luckily for El Salvador, this isn’t the first time a CBI program has been done. For instance, some Caribbean islands that are leading the CBI industry provide insightful data.


While a CBI program could be a productive move for El Salvador, it is not without risks. However, with a powerful passport, favorable tax policies, a positive reputation and support from Bitcoin enthusiasts, El Salvador is well positioned to attract foreign investment and talent. If done correctly, a CBI program could be the next step in its transformation, bringing power back to the individual and changing the way we think about citizenship and national identity.

Mansion Global – Portugal Will Weather the End of Its Golden Visa Program Just Fine

“Unfortunately, it’s still not entirely clear what exactly it all means,” Dominic Volek, group head of private clients at Henley & Partners, told Mansion Global. “They made this announcement and didn’t release any actual wording or a legal notice. So everyone interpreted it as what they thought it meant, which, of course, always causes a bit of panic.”


No specifics were given when the end of the program was announced, and that lack of clarity has definitely shaken some potential investors. 

“That is not very good in terms of investor confidence,” Mr. Volek said. “There’s been quite a lot of uneasiness amongst clients who are two to three years into the process, clients that are just getting started and clients that are considering getting started.”


Portugal has become a hot spot for buyers outside of the European Union because of its safety, natural beauty and favorable tax regime. But the golden visa program is only one way to start a new life in the country, and those who are interested in living there full-time should not be deterred, according to agent Paulo Lopes with Casaibéria Real Estate/Luxury Portfolio International in Lagoa, Portugal.


“At the moment, yes, we have a problem with this because there’s a lot of uncertainty in the market,” he said. “But it is not the end of the world because we have several other visa programs, which, in my point of view, adapt better to the needs of an expat who wants to live in Portugal for a longer term.”


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Virgolino Gomes, office director of Sotheby’s Vilamoura in the coastal Algarve region, agreed, but added that Portugal will remain a popular option. “There are always people who need to feel 200% confident to make a decision,” he said. “Others need only 100%. … But I usually say as long as these fundamentals keep as strong as they are—the climate, the weather; the security; we have good infrastructure, good healthcare, good education, good internet access—investment will continue in a very natural way.”


But the lack of clarity on the golden visa program has already halted some large residential hotel developments, according to Mariana Carp, a partner and tax adviser at ILYA, a tax advisory firm based in Lisbon. 

For example, in Comporta, a hot beach spot for the “rich and famous” that’s about 75 miles south of Lisbon, there were some “huge projects” being funded through the golden visa project and by Canadian companies, she said. 

“Now, with the golden visa announcement, some of them were already canceled,” Ms. Carp explained. “So the main impact of the announcement of the end of the golden visa—and I’m talking about the announcement because let’s see what the approved law says—but the announcement of the Golden Visa has already made investors stop, and the housing prices did not change a cent.”


It’s also not the first time the program has been altered—about two years ago, Portuguese authorities banned real estate investment in its two biggest cities, Lisbon and Porto, as well as in the popular Algarve region, according to Nuri Katz, founder and president of Apex Capital Partners.


“[Buyers] will still have the option of getting the golden visa, but the investments they are going to be making will be investments in other kinds of financial instruments,” Mr. Katz said. 

SOL – End Of Golden Visas Will Take State To Court

There are already a number of investors suspending their projects due to the Government’s proposal to end the Golden Visas, “which will represent a colossal loss for the country”, reveals to Nascer do SOL, Sara Rebolo, lawyer and partner at Prime Legal and president of the Portuguese Association for Immigration, Investment and Relocation (PAIIR). This was one of the measures presented by the Government in the Mais Habitação program, which aims to respond to housing challenges. 


The lawyer and also president of PAIIR admits that in the face of these restrictions, the type of investment also became more targeted, for example, towards investment funds, “not least because, during the pandemic, it was much more accessible for investors to choose a fund than investing in real estate due to mobility difficulties”, which leads her to believe that this program is being used “as a scapegoat for housing problems, since the residential theme has been going on for almost a year and a half which is not included in the scope of the Golden Visas, because they were not even eligible in the coastal zone.”

Free Malaysia Today – Mm2h Damage Done, Trust Is Gone, Say Foreign Residents

MM2H Consultants Association president Anthony Liew said the new requirements were among the major reasons for the drop, as neighbouring countries did not set such conditions.

ICI Beyrouth – The lucrative business of foreign passports

Jose Charo and Jeffrey Henseler of Passport Legacy and Ziad Karkaji of Global Pass feature in ICI Beyrouth’s examination of the investment migration industry in Lebanon. 

In the land of Cedar, a handful of companies offer this type of service. The market is dominated by Passport Legacy, a multinational with an office in Beirut, the only one of its kind to be authorized by the government to display its advertisements in the streets. Other smaller local companies share the rest of the cake.

Irish Times – Insolvent ‘golden visa’ company transferred €66m to related firms

The director of an insolvent cash-for-visa business listed a golf clubhouse as his address on company documents and has not yet furnished the firm’s books and records to its liquidator despite being directed to do so by a judge.

More than €66 million has been transferred out of the company over its lifetime to other connected entities, including in excess of €1 million to Chinese businessman Kai Dai himself, the court heard on Monday before it confirmed the appointment of insolvency practitioner Declan DeLacy as liquidator to Huawen.

Both Huawen and another entity, Nuremore Hotel Management — the entity behind the hotel and country club of the same name in Monaghan, which failed to reopen after closing before Christmas for renovation leaving staff without wages for a number of months — are controlled by Mr Kai, the court heard.

Through Huawen, Mr Kai helped foreign citizens to obtain Irish visas through Ireland’s Immigration Investor Programme before it was terminated by the Government earlier this month.

Ahmad Abbas AdministratorAuthorSubscriberParticipant
Director of Content Services , Investment Migration Insider

Ahmad Abbas is Director of Content Services at Investment Migration Insider and an 8-year veteran of the investment migration industry.

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