Investment migration people in the news this week included
- Christian Kälin of Henley & Partners
- Armand Arton of Arton Capital
- Niamh Walsh of TDL Horizons
- James Hartshorn of Bartra Wealth Advisors
- David Lesperance of Lesperance & Associates
- Lorenzo Jooris of Creative Zone
- Diogo Capela of Lamares, Capela & Associados
The quarterly release of Henley & Partners’ Passport Index occasioned extensive mainstream news coverage, including (but not limited to):
- CNN Travel – The world’s most powerful passport for 2023 revealed
Henley & Partners‘ list is one of several indexes created by financial firms to rank global passports according to the access they provide to their citizens.
The Henley Passport Index ranks 199 passports according to the number of destinations their holders can access without a prior visa. It’s updated in real time throughout the year, as and when visa policy changes come into effect.
Arton Capital‘s Passport Index takes into consideration the passports of 193 United Nations member countries and six territories — ROC Taiwan, Macau (SAR China), Hong Kong (SAR China), Kosovo, Palestinian Territory and the Vatican. Territories annexed to other countries are excluded.
It’s also updated in real time throughout the year, but its data is gathered by close monitoring of individual governments’ portals. It’s a tool “for people who travel, to provide accurate, simple-to-acess information for their travel needs,” Arton Capital’s founder Armand Arton told CNN in December.
- Fortune – Japan tops the U.S. and the rest of the world for the best passport for travelers in 2023
- Bloomberg – These Are the Best Passports for Travelers to Hold in 2023
- Euronews – Revealed: These are the world’s most (and least) powerful passports in 2023
- The Star – Singapore passport remains second-most powerful in the world
One [investment migration firm], Henley & Partners, is especially influential. So much so that Chris Kälin, its founder and chairman, has become known as the Passport King.
“You know, this term ‘Passport King’ is actually an invention of Bloomberg’s.”
Kälin is a hugely controversial figure because he’s undeniably influential in having shaped the idea of selling citizenship. But his interest wasn’t originally sparked by a keen eye for a profit margin. Quite the opposite.
“There was a big famine in Ethiopia, the biggest thing ever, and I wondered, you know, what it would be like if I’d been born somewhere else with a different passport. I started to realize that, obviously, the citizenship you’re given at birth determines a lot in your life. And over the years, this evolved into a keen interest in the subject of immigration, also the humanitarian aspect. There is a lot of displaced people in the world, obviously, but also specifically concerning citizenships and passports, because it’s quite an important factor in your life. I would say, even more important than who your parents are.”
“We built what is widely regarded as the best program in the world and then handed it over to the government. This was also very significant for Malta. Now, Malta has the fastest-growing economy in Europe, the lowest unemployment rate, almost every factor you take, Malta is top, and that’s to a large degree thanks to the program.”
“We’ve seen a huge jump [in IIP investments in Ireland] since 2017,” said Niamh Walsh, who runs TDL Horizons, which focuses on hotel and tourism property sales, in County Donegal, and who has worked with IIP clients. “My gut is that this is because of Brexit.”
Nearly three years of harsh coronavirus curbs — only relaxed in December — were another factor in wealthy Chinese seeking overseas residency. “You can definitely draw a correlation there,” said James Hartshorn, chief executive and co-founder of Bartra Wealth Advisors, a leading IIP fund, whose portfolio includes social housing and nursing homes.
Many countries have schemes offering residency or even passports in exchange for investment, but Ireland’s success has been to make IIP investment “a tool to channel investment into areas of the economy that really need it”, said Hartshorn.
“Because of the cost of capital, interest rate rises and the cost of goods going up [which could slow investment in those sectors] . . . the programme is more important now than it was,” he said.
“As frequently promised, Gary Gensler’s SEC is following up on their enforcement of the ICO market by going after crypto asset lending programs such as Gemini Earn,” said David Lesperance, managing partner of immigration and tax adviser with Lesperance & Associates. This is not unexpected when one analyses these offerings under the Howey Test, which defines securities.”
Lesperance said the Howey Test states that an offering is a security if there is an “investment of money in a common enterprise with a reasonable expectation of profits to be derived from the efforts of others.”
“Whether ICOs, lending programs or various new DeFi offerings,” he said, “this latest enforcement effort means that those operating in the crypto space always need to keep a weather eye on securities compliance.”
Lorenzo Jooris, CEO of CreativeZone, pens an oped for one of the gulf region’s biggest English-language dailies:
In addition, the “Golden Visa” scheme has been broadened to cover skilled professionals earning more than $8,000 per month. Previous rules governing the maximum duration permissible outside the UAE have been removed, and the long-term Golden Visa means that foreign nationals can now live, work and study in Abu Dhabi without the requirement for a national sponsor, whilst retaining 100 percent business ownership on the UAE’s mainland.
Observador – Golden Visas: Has the Government Failed?
Diogo Capela of Lamares, Capela & Associados laments that the Portuguese government makes it so hard for international business – especially that which could enter through the golden visa – to succeed in Portugal.
We need investment, but a decade after the creation of the Golden Visa, the State does not make life easier for a foreigner to set up a company, “offering” one of the highest tax burdens in Europe.