IM People in The News

“Lawsuits Against Promoters Who Took Commissions Likely to Happen”: Investment Migration People in the News This Week

Investment migration people in the news this week included:

  • Benny Cheung Ka-hei of Goldmax Immigration
  • Janine Miu of UK Immigration Specialist
  • Richie Lenehan of Bartra Wealth Advisors
  • Cian Moriarty of Philip Lee Law
  • David Lesperance of Lesperance & Associates
  • Gerard McGrath of McGrath & McGrane
  • Nirbhay Handa of Henley & Partners
  • John Hanafin of Huriya Private
  • Murat Coskun of Get Golden Visa
  • Hugo Santos Ferreira of APPII
  • Varun Singh of Xiphias Immigration

SCMP – Hongkongers rush to get Portuguese residency before ‘golden visa’ scheme axed

Benny Cheung Ka-hei, a director at Goldmax Immigration, predicted the golden visas would become a thing of the past inside two years.

He said about 40 people applied for visas under the Portuguese programme through his firm each year.

But Cheung added the small pool was largely made up of wealthy businessmen and expatriates who wanted easy entry without a major time commitment.

“Many countries impose strict rules for those who want to gain residency, and they have to spend a certain amount of time there in person,” Cheung said. “Those European countries offering golden visas are very lenient in that aspect, but Hongkongers could soon lose that convenient choice.”


SCMP – Wealthy Chinese scramble for ‘golden’ visas as Ireland’s invest-to-immigrate scheme abruptly ends, but risks abound

Since Dublin abruptly announced the end of its decade-old golden visa programme on February 14, Janine Miu has been swamped with inquiries from wealthy Hongkongers and mainland Chinese keen to gain Irish residency by investment before the door closes.

“I’ve received dozens of inquiries within two weeks,” said Miu, founder of UK Immigration Specialist, a consultancy. “They no longer ask about their eligibility for the programme, but very specific questions about the projects, to help them decide which ones to invest in.”

A family of four, she said, had been mulling the move for a year. When they heard about the termination of the residency programme, the parents leapt into action.

[…]

Bartra Wealth Advisors also received “more than 100 inquiries the next morning” after the news of the program’s termination, said Richie Lenehan, the firm’s sales associate.

“They all had similar questions about whether or not they could still invest in IIP projects and be eligible for receiving the visa or permanent-residency approvals to get a final chance to come to Ireland,” he said.

[…]

“Currently, lawsuits arising out of IIP investments are not very common but are starting to emerge more frequently,” said Cian Moriarty, senior associate at Irish law firm Philip Lee.

“The reason for a delay in cases is likely to be partly due to the IIP becoming far more popular in recent years and the fact that enterprise investments must stay in place for a number of years,” he said.

“As such, investors will only begin to seek the return of their investment after the investment period has expired.”

[…]

Lawsuits against “promoters who took commissions” can happen, said David Lesperance, managing partner of law firm Lesperance & Associates.

“This is the group who may have already taken fees from the client and commissions from the funds that have been sold, and the application has not yet been filed or finalised,” he said. “Rightly speaking, the clients will ask for return of fees and the funds will ask for return of commission.”

He added that often these promoters or consultants are “fly by night” operations. “By the time someone tries to sue them, they have disappeared,” he said.

There were “bad players” in the market, said Gerard McGrath, founding partner of law firm McGrath McGrane.

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His law firm has a case in the Irish against Huawen Foundation, which is the subject of at least three other cases, he said.

“Those are cases where the investors have not been able to recover their investments,” said McGrath. “Any lawsuits will relate to poor investments or dishonesty on the part of promoters.”


Bloomberg – Singapore Wealth Firm Sees Rapid Growth Catering to Rich Families

“We’re seeing more first-generation entrepreneurs than ever before and I would say that’s more prevalent in a place like India,” said Nirbhay Handa, head of private clients in Asia at Henley & Partners, which helps wealthy customers set up residency and investments around the world. “When wealth increases, generally you see an uptick of a lot of families looking at a place like Singapore to set up their wealth structuring outfits.”

Handa said interest among wealthy entrepreneurs of Indian origin to move assets or relocate to Singapore remains high, even though it hasn’t increased at the same rate as that of Chinese peers.


Arabian Business – The value of golden visa programmes and who they benefit

Huriya Private CEO John Hanafin pens an op-ed for Arabian Business in which he extolls the utility of holding multiple citizenships and residencies:

The assumption that one’s residency or citizenship is tied to just one country is outdated and limiting. While it’s true you don’t decide where you are born, you can decide where you’re from. Residence and citizenship is now a legal choice and one that opens up a world of possibilities.


Fortune – Golden visas are ‘the tip of the iceberg’ as digital nomads and the ultra-wealthy flock to other countries

As the popularity of second passports grew, they went from status symbol for the elite to something more accessible to the upper middle class, Murat Coskun, managing partner of Get Golden Visa, told Fortune.


Euronews – Portugal will no longer issue ‘golden’ EU visas

Hugo Santos Ferreira, the president of the Portuguese Association of Real Estate Developers and Investors, is not at all happy about the proposal to end the golden residence permits. “It’s an attack on all foreign investors who want to invest their money in Portugal,” he said. “Portugal will lose its credibility and its good reputation as an investment-friendly country.”

Santos Ferreira said Portugal needed international investors to strengthen its economy and couldn’t afford to do without an important instrument that brings in over €600 million per year. “On top of that, the program has created thousands of jobs in the construction and property sector,” he said.

[…]

Santos Ferreira said all transactions in Portugal were strictly controlled. He acknowledged that there are bad actors everywhere, but he doesn’t consider that a reason to abolish the golden visas. “No one’s talking about closing down the banks,” he said, “although it’s well-known that money can be laundered there, too.”


Quartz – Citizenship-by-investment programs are on the rise in Africa

African economies looking to attract fresh investments are turning to innovative programs that offer residence and dual citizenship opportunities to investors with deep pockets.

Migration investment programs allow people to purchase citizenship or residency in exchange for an investment in a country.

Namibia and Henley & Partners, the global leader in residence and citizenship planning, have unveiled a Residence by Investment Program to attract foreign investment and boost the country’s economic growth.


Times of India – Outlook of EB-5 visa and immigration in 2023

Varun Singh, Managing Director of Xiphias Immigration, contributes an article to India’s largest English-language daily in which he outlines what investors can expect from the US EB-5 program this year:

The outlook for the EB-5 programme in 2023 will also be influenced by the U.S. economy’s sustained expansion. The Covid-19 epidemic and political unrest were among of the recent hurdles, but the U.S. economy has persevered and is anticipated to develop even more in the years to come. For EB-5 investors, this is encouraging news since it means that there will be numerous options for them to invest in American companies and real estate ventures that have the potential to yield high profits.