“Still So Much Uncertainty Around Mobility”: 10 on the Weekend – Patricia Casaburi
Ten On The Weekend is a semi-weekly feature in IMI, the concept of which is simple: Each time, we ask the same ten questions of a different industry figure, letting readers get to know the interviewee on a more personal and informal level than they might in an ordinary business setting.
Our guest this weekend is Patricia Casaburi of Global Citizen Solutions
How do you spend your weekends?
After twenty years in London, I moved to Lisbon about 18 months ago and have loved exploring the country. The country has so much to offer; beautiful beaches close by and amazing weather and wine. We also recently got a dog, a Portuguese Water Dog, called Sintra, so it has been lovely to take her hiking in Sintra and Arrabida National Park.
It has been a blessing spending the pandemic here, although it has also been challenging, and often the days seem to blur into very long weeks. We also have many friends moving here and clients that have become friends, and we enjoy getting together and planning weekends away to rural tourism destinations, as well as exploring off-the-beaten-track coastal towns.
What are your top three business goals this year?
The first goal is about finding innovative ways to assist our clients in proceeding with their investments remotely. This year, another key target is to work with migration councils more proactively and collaborate with official government bodies on finding ways to facilitate the process for families looking to invest in residency and citizenship planning. And last but not least, we will continue to dedicate our time to building the most competent, multi-skilled, and relatable team in the industry.
What’s your biggest business concern right now?
Our concerns are mostly related to Covid-19. There is still so much uncertainty around mobility, process delays and backlogs, legislative changes, and the effect of such changes on clients’ mindsets. We are also heading toward structurally expanding into the Caribbean and launching a new real estate division in Portugal, Goldcrest Properties, a full-service buyer’s agency operation. I could also use some extra hours in the day.
Which book is on your nightstand right now?
I am halfway through Machines Like Me by Ian McEwan, one of my favorite authors, who provides great writing and escapism in equal measure. We are also about to launch a book about investing in property in Portugal, and I have been quite into podcasts lately, too; I just got through Grounded by Louis Theroux.
How and when did you first get into the investment migration industry?
I was initially exposed to the industry in 2015 as we had personal investments in Portugal in real estate. We only started the company in 2016 after helping family and friends navigate the country’s visa and investment process, so it felt like a natural progression to start our company.
What was your proudest moment as a service provider?
There are so many clients, stories, motivations, and life plans that it is hard to select just one, as it is always rewarding to send out their new passports or residency cards.
But if I had to pick one, I would have to say that just before the first lockdown, when we still couldn’t fully grasp how much Covid-19 would impact our lives, we managed to get the whole process for a client done in ten days, and he left Lisbon on the last possible flight. Generally, in all these years of building a company from the start, I also feel an enormous sense of pride in the company and community we are building.
Which investment migration market development has surprised you the most in the last year?
I would say the USA has been a very strong market player, especially in the Portuguese Golden Visa. We are also seeing many more Lebanese and South African clients. Malta’s citizenship by investment program has been relaunched, and British and North Americans are very interested. Hongkongers are also looking for backup plans, but the focus has changed from Portugal and Spain to the UK.
If you could go 10 years back in time, what business decision would you change?
Life is not lived with the benefit of hindsight, and I think there’s a reason for that. I believe that a combination of decisions, good and bad, has landed us where we are, so I place my focus on foresight and always paying attention to my intuition.
What investment migration industry personality do you most admire?
Bruno L’Ecuyer, CEO of the Investment Migration Council, is an important voice between government bodies and the industry.
If all goes according to plan, what will you be doing five years from now?
Hopefully still working at full speed but trusting my team to handle it all, allowing me to have a few brilliant holidays and investing in some personal projects, like a Foundation for economic migrants. Often, they are doctors, engineers, and lawyers in their home countries but find it expensive and difficult to validate their profession in their new home country. It would be great to have a system to integrate and legitimize their experience and skillset fully.
Christian Henrik Nesheim is the founder and editor of Investment Migration Insider, the #1 magazine – online or offline – for residency and citizenship by investment. He is an internationally recognized expert, speaker, documentary producer, and writer on the subject of investment migration, whose work is cited in the Economist, Bloomberg, Fortune, Forbes, Newsweek, and Business Insider. Norwegian by birth, Christian has spent the last 16 years in the United States, China, Spain, and Portugal.