A long-time reader who was about to discuss US investor migration with a mainstream media outlet reached out for some hard data on that demographic group’s RCBI activity in the last year or two.
Specifically, he was looking for total American main applicants for the major IM programs in 2019, 2020, and 2021 year-to-date.
I explained that, while I would be happy to share the data I had, it would be incomplete because there are a handful of obstacles preventing me from obtaining comprehensive figures on applications for particular nationalities, especially when they are not among the top five or ten nationalities.
The first problem is that most IM programs publish no nationality data at all. Among the ones that do, they generally only release the data 6-12 months after the conclusion of the reporting period in question.
Of the five Caribbean CIPs, for example, only two – those of Saint Lucia and Antigua & Barbuda – publish nationality data, and typically only after 9-12 months. Malta published MIIP statistics once a year but limited reporting on applicant provenance to the regional level (“North America”, which includes Canada and Mexico) and who knows when we’ll see data on their MEIN policy (which is, at least officially, not a CBI program)?. The MRVP didn’t publish much in the way of statistics, although program administrators have indicated this is about to change.
Turkey publishes cumulative data once in a blue moon, as does Ireland, and only for the top applicant nationalities. Montenegro and Bulgaria rarely publish anything. Malaysia hasn’t released numbers since 2019. Spain publishes the top two nationalities only, and Americans are not among them.
Programs that publish comparatively good data on nationalities include the golden visas of Portugal, Greece, Latvia, and the UK (Investor, Startup, and Innovator). The US EB-5 and E2 programs also provide detailed and timely data but, of course, that isn’t helpful for our present purposes.
In any case, let me share what data I am able to confirm and provide estimates where helpful. Please note that because each program reports on its own schedule, the YTD figures sometimes refer to the first half of 2021, other times to the first three quarters, and so on. See the footnotes for details on the various reporting schedules and perform your own full-year extrapolations accordingly.
Footnotes on how we arrived at 2021 YTD figures and what period they cover.
- Antigua & Barbuda CIP: Estimated number based on total applications and the reported percentage that was American.
- Saint Lucia CIP: STL’s fiscal year runs from June 30th to July 1st. 2019, therefore, refers to the fiscal year that ended June 30th 2019, and so on.
- Portugal Golden Visa: 2021 figures cover Q1-Q3 2021. Americans were only counted during years in which they appeared in the top 5, as the SEF only published the top 5 nationalities of applicants.
- Greece Golden Visa: 2021 figures cover Q1-Q3 2021
- UK Tier 1 – Investor: 2021 figures cover Q1 and Q2
- UK Tier 1 – Innovator/Startup: 2021 figures cover Q1 and Q2
- Vanuatu DSP: 2020 figures pertain to year to Aug 14th
- Australia BIIP: 2021 figures is not available but are likely close to zero as border restrictions have effectively suspended the program.
- South Korea Investor Visa: 2021 figures cover first four months of 2021
Based on trends observed in the programs in which Americans are the most active (not counting programs very popular among Americans but for which we have no nationality data), 2021's full-year figures are on track to rival and possibly exceed those observed in 2019.
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.