IM People in The News

“Trying to Hedge Their Bets Against an Authoritarian Regime[…]”: IM People in the News This Week

Investment migration people in the news this week included:

  • Kristin Surak
  • Henley & Partners
  • Jeff D Opdyke
  • Maria Victoria Luis of Golden Visa Centrale
  • Vasilis Livadas of Green Properties
  • Vangelis Kteniadis of V2 Development
  • Alexandros Risvas of Risvas & Associates
  • Bruce Chen of blackCAPstone Lawyers
  • Jessica Meng of Precision Migration
  • Investment Migration Council

DW – Why are ‘golden visa’ schemes being scrapped?

While many headlines on the issue have focused on EU states, the biggest golden visa and passport schemes are in the Global South — countries like Malaysia, Panama, Thailand and the United Arab Emirates, said Kristin Surak, professor of political sociology at the London School of Economics and Political Science.


“In the vast majority of cases, people are trying to hedge their bets against an authoritarian regime or an uncertain future,” said Surak, citing the Hong Kong pro-democracy protests and the 2016 failed coup against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.


“If you’re going to carry out some sort of criminal activity or money laundering, there are other, cheaper ways than through golden visas,” she added, noting that Poland is currently investigating how 250,000 regular work visas were issued in Africa and Asia over the past three years in exchange for cash.

El Nacional – Interview with Kristin Surak:”A regularized worker contributes more to the Spanish economy than a ‘golden’ investor”

Yes, what angers many people about these passports and visas and what makes them controversial is that they are given for passive investments. You just need money, not even investing in a company or having skills. You simply buy a house. 


For me, as a researcher, this is a central issue, understanding the effects on the real estate market. But I’ve tried to get figures and it’s really difficult. There are countries that have very poor statistical treatment, others that do not give you the data. But in general, the impact should not be very high for a market like Spain, but it can be concentrated in very small countries or in certain neighborhoods. The case of Portugal is curious, because there are only about 2,000 visas per year, but some neighborhoods have complained about this arrival and the effect on housing prices. In any case, the foreigners who invest the most in housing in Portugal are Swedes and French, but of course they are Europeans and do not need this type of visa. 

Gulf Business – BRICS: Dubai ranks 3rd among top 10 wealthiest cities, see full list here

According to a new report by Henley & Partners and New World Wealth, BRICS nations now hold a staggering amount of wealth.


Commenting in the BRICS Wealth Report, leading personal finance and investment expert Jeff D Opdyke says “nations once considered ‘developing’ or ‘emerging’ or the pejorative ‘third world’ are now dynamic economies that are changing the global order. Economically, non-Western nations — with BRICS at the vanguard — are pushing the globe into a new reality: An emerging economic, social, and monetary status quo that is upending what the world has accepted as normal for nearly eight decades.”

Inquirer.Net – More moneyed Pinoys eyeing residency, investments in EU

Maria Victoria Luis, president of Golden Visa Centrale, which specializes in residency by investment services, said she expects “golden visa” applications for Greece, in particular, to number anywhere from 50 to 80 this year.


A message from our partners
Middle East Road Show Ad

“I know a lot of young executives or their parents who are very interested,” Luis told reporters on the sidelines of their official launch of the golden visa service for people interested in Greece.

Ekathimerini – Golden Visa homes rented out

Of course, it is estimated that the total amount is higher, as some investors did not limit themselves to acquiring only one property worth €250,000. On the contrary, as Vasilis Livadas, of housing development company Green Properties, said on Friday, “many of our clients proceeded to purchase other homes as well, as their goal was to secure high returns and income through exploitation.”


About 99% of investors who buy properties in Greece, with the aim of securing a residence permit, rent them out, mainly long-term, noted Vangelis Kteniadis, president of real estate development and management company V2 Development. “Therefore, the Golden Visa is not responsible for the problem of closed properties,” he argued.


Today, 7,596 applications are pending, a development that is certainly due to the overloading of services. As mentioned by Alexandros Risvas, managing partner of the company Risvas & Associates, “we have applications from our office on behalf of our clients, which have a submission date from March 2023, but they have not yet been approved, due to the large volume of requests that have accumulated.”

South China Morning Post – ‘It’s a mess’: migration agents cry foul after Australia clarifies ‘golden visa’ scheme remains active

The current confusion has forced some applicants, including those with innovative start-ups or research plans, to look to other countries, according to investment and migration lawyer Bruce Chen, founder of blackCAPstone Lawyers.


“Those preparing to apply, and those already in the application process, face psychological stress and uncertainty due to policy changes. This situation can significantly affect their long-term plans and aspirations,” Chen said.


One of the loopholes within the wider BIIP is the exploitation of the requirement that holders set up or run a business for at least two years to qualify for its business innovation visa, according to advisory firm Precision Migration’s business migration specialist Jessica Meng.


“To meet the requirements for permanent residency, the applicant needs to demonstrate that the business is successful and ongoing, however some applicants will fund a poorly performing business to obtain permanent residency and close the business down,” she said.

The Economist – What are “golden visas”?

For almost as long as it has been accepted in China that “to get rich is glorious”, it has also been known that to get out can be glorious, too. The urge felt by many newly well-off Chinese citizens to emigrate has been a big reason for the growth of “investment migration” businesses. According to the Investment Migration Council, a lobby for the industry, more than 80 countries, including most of the world’s richer ones, offer schemes in which fast-track residence rights (“golden visas”), or even citizenship (“golden passports”), are available to foreigners who invest large sums. The most popular programme has been America’s, where the waiting-list for Chinese applicants reached some 15 years in 2022. For small countries such as Vanuatu and St Kitts and Nevis citizenship-by-investment schemes are important sources of foreign exchange.

Become an IMI Pro today

For committed professionals
Monthly €99 or €840 per year (30% discount)
  • Get Your IMI Pro profile page in IMI
  • Access to IMI Data Center
  • Access to IMI Private Briefings
  • Unlimited articles
  • IMI Citizenship Catalog
  • IMI Reports included
  • Watch members-only interviews
  • Advance invitation to IMI Events

Explore IMI’s Tools and Resources

>> See all IMI tools and resources