At the beginning of the pandemic, we asked whether the crisis would ultimately harm or boost the investment migration market would. That question, judging by the amount of publicity the industry’s been getting in the last several months and the anecdotes service providers are sharing with the international media, appears to be decisively settled in the industry’s favor, once more supporting the argument that investment migration is an antifragile business.
Investment migration people in the news this week include:
- Harvey Law Group
- Andrew Lo of Anlex
- Gregor Nassief of Secret Bay
- Jennifer Harding-Marlin
- Paddy Blewer, Dominic Volek, and Juerg Steffen of Henley & Partners
- Les Khan of the Saint Kitts & Nevis Citizenship by Investment Unit
- Armand Arton of Arton Capital
- Nuri Katz of Apex Capital Partners
- Patricia Casaburi of Global Citizen Solutions
Harvey Law Group, a law firm, had to double the size of its team to meet demand. Andrew Lo’s firm, Anlex, normally receives ten inquiries a day. Since May, it has had 200 a day. He has had to deter bankers from reinventing themselves as butchers for Canada’s rural-immigration programme.
Paddy Blewer, Director of Henley and Partners UK, told the Sun Online: “All clients, if they contacted us today would have to wait four or five months, up to six months, to gain citizenship. This is not a jump the queue type services but because of the extreme challenge of COVID our clients are looking for optionality. We have seen a significant jump in interest, our client engagement has risen by 40% between January and April. […]”
And in July, as many regional hotels began to reopen their doors amid uncertain circumstances, Dominica’s Secret Bay Hotel was named the No. 1 Resort Hotel in the Caribbean, Bermuda, and the Bahamas in Travel + Leisure World’s Best Awards. This is a success that proprietor, Gregor Nassief credits to the Green Globe Certified hotel’s unwavering commitment to responsible luxury and sustainability.
“People really want the insurance policy of an alternative citizenship, which gives them a Plan B,” Dominic Volek, Head of Asia for global citizenship and residence advisory firm Henley & Partners, tells CNN Travel.
“They are also concerned about healthcare and pandemic preparedness because, of course, this may not be the only pandemic in our lifetime. Wealthy people don’t plan for five to 10 years — they plan more than 100 years in advance, in terms of wealth and well being.”
“The talk so far is that the smaller countries are able to handle and manage the pandemic easier,” Nuri Katz, founder of international financial advisory firm Apex Capital Partners, tells CNN Travel. “So like the United States, it’s just totally out of control. But smaller countries haven’t been hit as hard. For example, in Caribbean countries like Dominica, Antigua and Barbuda, or St Kitts, there are very few Covid cases.”
CEO Armand Arton advocates linking medical data to passports–it would help control the spread of disease, it could flag immunization status, enable the tracking and tracing of Covid-19 in real-time and allow for immediate restrictions. It could bring about the end of paper passports, using technology to provide a solution for governments who need to reopen international travel and business.
Arton states, “it is no longer solely within the realm of science fiction to imagine a world of digital verification, health data checking and fraud prevention when it comes to travel documentation.”
“The lockdown period for us was abnormally busy,” says Patricia Casaburi, CEO of Global Citizen Solutions, which advises on investor visa programs around the world. She cites the Portuguese government’s quick response to the crises and a relatively low number of cases as reasons for its popularity.
While many acquire a second citizenship for visa free travel or to diversify their investments, an increasing number are looking at residency as well. It gives people the “option to relocate if they need too,” says Juerg Steffen, CEO of Henley & Partners, a citizenship and residency advisory firm.
Usually, revenue from wealthy foreigners shelling out hundreds of thousands of dollars for a second passport from the island accounts for 30% of the GDP gap in the government’s budget, according to the CBI program head Les Khan. This year, he says, that could be much higher.
“Now that tourism is at a standstill,” he said in an interview, “we expect that the CBI program will be a main driver for the next six months.”
Business Insider: How to get a second passport in the Caribbean
Jennifer Harding-Marlin, an attorney and citizenship-by-investment expert based in St. Kitts and Nevis, told Business Insider that since the beginning of the pandemic, she has seen has an increase in interest from US citizens exploring second citizenship options.
“There’s recently been an increase in applicants that are applying, particularly because they lowered the price for a family of four, and many of the citizenship programs have made changes to their programs that are more beneficial to applicants,” Malin told Business Insider. The amount was reduced to $150,000 from almost $200,000 in July 2020.
Paddy Blewer, Public Relations Director with Henley & Partners, told Business Insider that one of the first steps in obtaining a passport via a citizenship-by-investment program in the Caribbean is proving that you have the capital to make that investment. Applicants will also have to go through a rigorous background check.
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.