Investment migration people in the news this week included:
- Philippe May of EC Holdings
- Katie “the Russian” Ananina of Plan B Passports
- Christian H. Kälin of Henley & Partners
- Vincent Fong of MM2H Club
- Anthony Liew of MM2H Consultant Association
- Evan Betzer of Greater NY Regional Center
- Sam Silverman EB5AN
- Ziphozihle Ntlanganiso of Fragomen
- Ravi Singhal of GCL
- Ravi Singh of Share India
- Suresh Rajan of LCR Capital Partners
WeltWoche – Lunch With Philippe May
Our interlocutor meets us in the “Kronenhalle” in a well-groomed summer look. Tall, radiating friendliness and trust, with a broad Eastern Swiss dialect. Philippe May orders a sour Moscht ith his veal liver. Since the establishment does not have such, they switch to sweet cider.
His visits to his old homeland are rather rare. “We don’t give priority to working on the Swiss market.” Today, we are the company EC Holdings, which May founded together with two other partners a year ago. It is active in the area of investment migration: many countries offer investors a residence permit or even citizenship with a passport. Before he became self-employed in this area, Philippe May worked for Arton Capital for five years as the number two in the industry at the time.
The reasons for the growth of the industry are numerous. “Traditionally, visa-free travel was the priority. This aspect is still important, but today many clients also want a plan B for their lives and their assets.» Geopolitical uncertainties, repressive or confiscatory governments ensured increasing demand. “Even in Western Europe, which used to be stable, there are people who don’t want to expose themselves to a single passport from a left-wing, high-tax country.”
“But nobody knows me by my last name,” Ananina said. “Everybody knows me as ‘Katie the Russian.’”
“We’ve seen a huge spike when the first  election took place, because half the country’s unhappy with the results,” Ananina said. “Then, when COVID hit, a lot of people realized they don’t have as much freedom as they wish they had. So they decided to hedge against the government again.”
“In order for you to be able to get out, you need an exit strategy,” Ananina said. “And again, that’s where a second passport is the ultimate hedge.”
Yahoo Finance – Major Shake-Up in World’s Passport Power Ranking
Dr. Christian H. Kaelin, Chairman of Henley & Partners, says only eight countries worldwide have less visa-free access today than they did a decade ago, while others have been more successful in securing greater travel freedom for their citizens. “The UAE has added an impressive 107 destinations to its visa-free score since 2013, resulting in a massive leap of 44 places in the ranking over the past 10 years from 56th to 12th position. Of the countries sitting in the Top 10, the US has seen the smallest increase in its score, securing just 12 additional destinations. Singapore, by comparison, has increased its score by 25, pushing it up five places over the past 10 years to number one.”
South China Morning Post – Will Malaysia’s 90-day visa prompt Hongkongers to seek ‘much cheaper’ medical treatment?
Vincent Fong, founder of the Hong Kong-based MM2H club that supports Hongkongers looking to relocate to Malaysia, said the reaction among his clients was generally “very positive”.
“The lengthened three-month social visit pass will now align Hong Kong with other major Commonwealth countries such as the UK, Australia, and Canada, of which passport holders have always enjoyed extended 90 days stay in Malaysia,” he said.
The extension might also spark interest in medical tourism and business investment opportunities, said Anthony Liew, president of the MM2H Consultant Association agency in Malaysia.
“For people from Hong Kong, it is also a much cheaper option,” said Liew. “So for those who travel to Malaysia for short-term stays and medical check-ups, this [90-day visa] will be convenient.”
The Wall Street Journal – Chinese Investors Warm to Sweetened U.S. Cash-for-Visa Program
“There is now resounding, overwhelming interest bubbling up” from Chinese investors, said Evan Betzer, a partner at Greater NY Regional Center, which arranges the financing for a real-estate project in Hudson, N.Y. The former diplomat travels to China to promote the project to investors.
While the Hudson project is still in the fundraising stage, the Hoschton development has already received EB-5 funding, with about half of such funds in the $650 million project coming from Chinese investors, according to Sam Silverman, founder of EB5AN, which helped finance the residential project in Hoschton, about 40 miles northeast of Atlanta.
For Chinese investors, “once they understand there’s no [waiting] line in it, that’s very compelling,” Silverman said.
South China Morning Post – Like it or not, migrants both rich and poor will shape our economic futures
A private wealth study by Henley and Partners identifies Australia as the most consistent beneficiary of “moneybags” activity, combining safety, excellent healthcare and education, a high quality of life, use of the English language and no estate duty. It says the government has attracted 82,000 high-net-worth investors over the past 20 years, with 5,200 more expected this year.
As The Migration Agency notes, “migrants contribute disproportionately to new business formation, innovation, and job creation”. And, as many communities, particularly in the rich, developed world, begin to age rapidly, migration is likely to be the only way to replenish populations.
According to Ziphozihle Ntlanganiso, Fragomen’s senior private client consultant, travel restrictions emanating from the Covid-19 pandemic and geopolitical tensions witnessed recently in countries like Ukraine and Russia have shown the importance of dual citizenship.
“In some cases, the decision to invest in citizenship by investment programmes is purely a wealth management strategy, depending on which countries the applicant will have visa-free access to,” said Ntlanganiso.
“These programmes offer a gateway to new markets and a plethora of business, career, educational, healthcare, tax, and lifestyle benefits on a global scale for both present and future generations,” Ravi Singhal, CEO, GCL told Republic.
“A Golden Visa is an immigration programme that allows investors and their families to secure legal residency in a foreign country, often leading to the possibility of citizenship after fulfilling certain requirements. Many countries are now offering these attractive programmes, attracting Indian investors who wish to explore opportunities beyond their homeland,” Singhal explained.
“Golden Visa programmes present unprecedented opportunities for Indian investors and their families to diversify their assets, expand their horizons, and secure their financial future in a volatile world. As these programmes continue to gain popularity, the dream of global mobility becomes an attainable reality for those with the means to invest,” said Ravi Singh, VP and research head, Share India.
Suresh Rajan, founder of LCR Capital Partners, contributes an article to MINT arguing that the Golden Visa remains a relevant program.
It is clear that Costa is under public pressure due to high housing prices in Lisbon and Porto cities. Since the beginning, the proposed draft of the law included the possibility that investors could apply for the golden visa by investing under the cultural heritage contribution option, but the preservation of several other investment options is a positive development. Industry stakeholders have worked hard to continue with this programme so as not to hurt investors by the changing rules. Yet, once the new law comes into effect, new applications must be completed in accordance with the new regulations.
According to statistics issued by the Portuguese Immigration and Borders Service (SEF), between the creation of the golden visa program in October 2012 and the latest figures from May, Portugal has issued a total of 12,217 golden visas. The top five nationalities receiving the golden visa include 5,349 investors from China, 1,212 from Brazil, 666 from the US, 571 from Turkey, and 525 from South Africa. Another 3,894 visas went to investors from other countries, including India. Since its start, the programme has invested over €7 billion in Portugal’s economy.