IM People in The News

With “Enough Money And The Right Connections,” Citizenship is Negotiable: Investment Migration People in the News This Week

Investment migration people in the news this week included:

  • Juerg Steffen, Dominic Volek, and Tess Wilkinson of Henley & Partners
  • David Lesperance of Lesperance & Associates
  • Alpha Lau of InvestHK
  • Iñigo De Luna of Citizenship Invest
  • Carel van der Merwe of EB5 Coast to Coast
  • Alex Ingrim of Chase Buchanan
  • Kristin Surak

Henley & Partners and their staff were mentioned in numerous media outlets quoting the firm’s 2024 Global Citizenship Program Index.

Bloomberg – These Are the World’s Best Golden Visas

“European residence-by-investment programs continue to dominate the top spots of most sought-after investment migration programs in the world,” said Henley & Partners Chief Executive Officer Juerg Steffen. “Those programs allow participation in some of the world’s leading economies and are a way to lower exposure to country-specific volatility.”


Faced with a housing crisis that has been blamed, at least in part, on wealthy foreigners, Portugal has moved to end tax breaks for expats. Yet, despite that, global wealth advisers say the country continues to attract foreign investors. Other countries, such as the United Arab Emirates and Hungary, have recently launched their own residence-by-investment policies.

Business Standard – Looking for a golden visa? Most popular investment migration programmes in 2024

Residence and citizenship by investment programs in sought-after countries such as Cyprus, Greece, Malta, Mauritius, Spain, and the UAE and in the Caribbean offer real estate options. “Real estate-linked investment migration provides a unique opportunity to acquire two desirable assets — access to multiple jurisdictions and international real estate — in just one transaction. Investing in real estate to gain residence rights or citizenship of another country affords investors the benefits of owning real estate, and more since they are more than likely to break even and could turn a profit after just five years. Furthermore, owners can live in their properties, use them as vacation homes, or rent them out to create an additional income stream,” said Dr. Juerg Steffen, FIMC, is the Chief Executive Officer of Henley & Partners.

Business Insider Africa – Africa’s most important countries in 2024 for the rich to invest in

Africa has been steadily evolving into a promising destination for residence by investment in recent years. The continent for some time now has been drawing in people looking for new opportunities, diverse cultures, and a good quality of life. Among the various options available the Henley Residence by Investment Index stands out.


As defined by Henley and Partners, “Residence by investment programs, also known as golden visa programs, provide high-net-worth individuals with the option to relocate and the right to live, work, study, and receive healthcare in their new countries of residence.”

Financial Express – Indians relocating to Switzerland through the Swiss Residence Program have an ‘Opportunity Advantage’

Dominic Volek, Group Head of Private Clients at Henley & Partners, says both education and investment migration are ‘inter-generational enablers’ and this is the first study of its kind that attempts to measure the comparative advantage of this potent combination. “Successfully balancing wealth generation and opportunity creation are key characteristics of ascendant economies and vibrant societies.


Our index helps guide families on tailored investment migration strategies to clear pathways for their children and heirs to access the world’s best schooling, most lucrative job markets, and enhanced quality of life through the privileges and flexibility of alternative residence and citizenship by investment options that give them the right to study, live, work, and invest in countries of their choice.”


As Tess Wilkinson, Director of Henley & Partners Education, points out in the report, education alone cannot guarantee opportunities in the future job market. “Investing in your child’s education is universally acknowledged as one of the best ways to set them up for success later in life, with multiple studies showing that those with tertiary qualifications earn around 50% more than those with secondary education. However, economic research also shows over two-thirds of income variation between individuals globally is simply attributable to which country they live and work in. So, combining world-class academics with related residence or citizenship rights to access those lucrative job markets is key.”


Wilkinson agrees that education is just the beginning, “with second passports and multiple residence rights opening access to varied business cultures, funding ecosystems, and innovation hubs necessary for young entrepreneurs to thrive internationally. Multiple credentials with the expanded personal access rights they secure can unlock a world of opportunities.”

David Lesperance made appearances in various media outlets over the past week to provide insights into the UK’s decision to scrap its non-dom tax regime. 

Bloomberg – World’s Rich Caught in Crossfire of Britain’s Election Battle

David Lesperance, a Poland-based tax and immigration adviser for the ultra-rich, said the rate of ultra-high-net worth individuals quitting the UK will rapidly rise if the non-dom route is cut off completely.


It’s an “already steady stream” of emigration, Lesperance said. It “will become a stampede.”

Bloomberg – End of UK’s Non-Dom Tax Break Unsettles Wealthiest Residents

The latest reforms “have only added urgency” to wealthy residents looking to leave the UK, according to David Lesperance, a Poland-based tax and immigration adviser for the ultra-rich. “They already knew that a future Labour government was either going to abolish or significantly restrict the remittance basis. Now they know that rather than saving them, the Tories are also willing to throw them under the bus!”

A message from our partners
Middle East Road Show Ad

South China Morning Post – Wealthy clients turn to HSBC, Manulife, Bank of China amid heightened interest in Hong Kong’s cash-for-residency scheme

The scheme has garnered considerable interest, with the department receiving applications on the first day, said Alpha Lau, the director general of InvestHK, who did not reveal the exact number.


“It shows that high-net-worth individuals … are interested in the diverse investment channels the city has to offer and wish to settle in Hong Kong with their families.”

Gulf News – Buying a second passport with cryptocurrency is getting easier

Iñigo De Luna of Citizenship Invest pens an article discussing investing in citizenship through cryptocurrency payment methods.

To date, Caribbean countries including St. Kitts & Nevis, Dominica, Grenada, Antigua and Saint Lucia are the most-friendly to cryptocurrency accepting it as a proof of source of funds for their CBI programs where the most cost-effective program for a single application requires at least $100,000. Most of these countries cannot directly accept bitcoins as a form of payment; instead, a conversion to FIAT currency is a prerequisite which can be done through digital assets management companies.


Although, St. Kitts and Nevis has not officially accepted cryptocurrency as a form of payment for its citizenship by investment program; it has passed legislation supporting virtual or digital assets and digital currency exchanges and investors can use this as proof of funds confirming they have at least $250,000 to cover the investment.


El Salvador has also made waves since making Bitcoin a national currency in 2021. More recently, El Salvador, unveiled the ‘Adopting El Salvador Freedom Visa Program’, requiring deposit in Bitcoin or USDT worth $1 million towards visa and citizenship.

Financial Express – US Immigration: No visa backlog under the EB-5 rural category now

In an exclusive interview with Financial Express Online, Carel van der Merwe, Director of Sales at EB5 Coast to Coast, discusses the key trends shaping the EB-5 segment, new regulations affecting the processing time of immigrant visas, and the benefits of selecting rural projects under the EB-5 visa category.


Discovering rural projects that are viable, generate employment, and have growth potential is challenging and demands careful deliberation. Leisure and recreation projects in rural towns are popular given their ability to attract clientele year-round.


Investors must account for the fact that RC projects will have lower returns, which is what entices projects to use EB-5 capital in the first place. This is especially true for rural/national interest projects wherein the investor receives a tangible benefit via accelerated processing.

Fortune – Portugal just killed the most popular ‘golden visa’ in Europe. Here’s where wealthy Americans are flocking instead

“You had the perfect cocktail for people wanting to move there,” says Alex Ingrim, a financial advisor with global financial services firm Chase Buchanan who helps Americans move abroad, noting Portugal has long been a destination for wealthy Europeans. It’s also popular among South Americans and Chinese nationals: In the 10 years leading up to 2023, the number of foreign residents in Portugal grew 40%, to well over half a million people, with around 30,000 benefitting from the golden visa program since its inception. In total, the country has a population of around 10.3 million.

“During COVID, Americans found out. It’s such a small country, they don’t have the resources to cope with another 10,000 Americans a year coming in,” Ingrim says.


But Ingrim says more American clients are inquiring about France and Spain this year. Italy and Greece also have popular programs, according to investment migration consultancy Henley & Partners’ 2023 Wealth Report.

Spain is particularly attractive, Ingrim says, because it still offers a residency investment option via real estate, and many of the other benefits of Portugal. It’s also been a popular choice for years: Spain’s government recently reported that the number of Americans living in in the country grew by 13% from 2019 to 2021. Henley & Partners also reports that while Portugal was the top program for U.S. nationals last year, “since dropping the real-estate linked investment option, it has been surpassed so far in 2024 by the Spain program.”

“Classical countries have really high levels of consistent demand,” says Ingrim. “The culture, the cuisine, the fashion, the famous cities—there are people who really, really love those places.”


Countries like Turkey and Hungary are also becoming increasingly popular, though not necessarily for Americans. Chinese nationals are the biggest group of investors worldwide, and Turkey is one of the few places that will still naturalize wealthy Russians, according to Kristin Surak, an associate professor of political sociology at the London School of Economics, in The Golden Passport.

In the Caribbean, St. Kitts and Nevis, Antigua and Barbuda, and St. Lucia, which offer citizenship by investment for far less than Malta, remain popular. For those investors, typically billionaires, ease of travel or a new market to start a business aren’t the biggest draws of gaining a second passport. Instead, the ultrawealthy are looking to renounce their U.S. citizenship to save on taxes. As the Biden administration considers new wealth taxes, that trend will only continue, says David Lesperance, an international tax and immigration advisor who helps the elite move abroad.

“You’re spending a sunk cost of $150,000 to save millions in tax,” says Lesperance. “The benefits are substantial.”


Take Paypal billionaire Peter Thiel, who famously spent 12 days in New Zealand over the course of five years and came away with a massive property fit for the end of the world and naturalization papers. Thiel bypassed the typical immigration program, which typically takes years, as Surak writes: “As long as one has enough money and the right connections, it is possible to negotiate citizenship in many places.”

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

Ahmad Abbas AdministratorAuthorSubscriberParticipant
Director of Content Services , Investment Migration Insider

Ahmad Abbas is Director of Content Services at Investment Migration Insider and an 8-year veteran of the investment migration industry.

follow me