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2023 IM Executive Survey: 1 in 3 Firms Plan New Offices in Africa, 63% Worry EU Will Cut CBI Country Schengen-Access

Results from the 2023 Investment Migration Executive Survey reveal the industry is still betting on Africa and that threats to CBI country access to the EU are a broad concern.

About the 2023 Investment Migration Executive Survey

The Investment Migration Executive Survey©, the only industry-wide study of its kind, gathers data and sentiments from the heads of 40 of the largest multinational investment migration firms to help identify trends and market attitudes. 

The sample size is small but, nonetheless, representative of the broader market because of the selection criteria. All firms selected for participation meet the following two conditions:

  1. They source clients from many different country markets; and
  2. They help their clients qualify for a wide array of investment migration programs.

As a consequence, the executives of these firms are in a position to identify fluctuations and tendencies regarding their clients’ preferences and changes in relative demand for the programs in their portfolios. The corporate expansion plans and industry sentiments they reveal also provide a macro-perspective of the directions in which the industry at large sees the market moving.

Now in its fourth edition, the 2023 survey gathers responses to a number of new questions but also to many of the same questions raised in previous editions, which has enabled several striking longitudinal comparisons.

Participating firms

Respondents in this year’s survey represent 40 multinational investment migration firms

  • Headquartered in 16 countries;
  • With physical offices in 298 countries; and
  • A combined headcount exceeding 2,600 staff

A third of responding firms are based in Dubai, which remains the pre-eminent hub for multinational, multi-program investment migration firms. In this year’s survey, London and Malta together account for about a quarter of respondents, while Singapore and Portugal are the domiciles of choice for one in ten firms. 

The following firms took part in this year’s survey:

1 in 3 firms planning office openings in Africa

Companies’ office expansion plans reflect their observations and expectations about which markets are growing:

In 2023, a third of firms say they plan to open offices in Africa, slightly under a third say the Middle East, and about one quarter indicate they plan to establish a physical presence in North America and Southeast Asia.

Only two out of the 40 firms confirmed plans to open offices in China or Europe.

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Widespread concerns about CBI-country Schengen access and closing of major programs

The number one industry development keeping executives up at night in 2023 is the threat of CBI countries losing visa-free travel to Schengen, a fate that already befell Vanuatu in 2022 but one that the Caribbean Five has so far been spared: 2 in 3 executives expressed this concern.

More than half of respondents said they worried about major IM programs closing, a legitimate fear in light of the discontinuation of investor visas in both the UK and Ireland in 2022 and the anticipated scrapping of the Portuguese Golden Visa. All three programs were IM-market mainstays.

Nearly half of executives indicated they worried the industry’s reputation might be harmed by the unethical conduct of their peers. 

On the other end of the scale, executives no longer appear concerned about a potential return of pandemic-related movement restrictions.

Majority of executives think we'll see at least on new CIP open by 2025, and at least one close

Asked to prognosticate on specific future industry developments, respondents hinted they expected the market to encounter positive and negative developments in roughly equal measure:

More than half believed at least one new CIP would open within the subsequent three years, while a similar share believed at least one would close in the same period. 

Only 1 in 4 executives thought the EU would actually take the much-dreaded step of revoking Caribbean CBI countries’ visa-free access to Schengen, perhaps heartened by the American support for the “6 CBI Principles”

On the other hand, only 1 in 4 believed Malta would prevail in its infringement case in the European Court of Justice, despite assurances from legal scholars that the European Commission’s arguments in the case are shaky

The 2023
Investment Migration Executive Survey

The 2023 Investment Migration Executive Survey surveys 40 of the world's leading multinational, multi-program investment migration firms to find answers to questions like:

  • Which are currently the largest client source markets?
  • Which are the fastest-growing source markets?
  • In which regions are IM firms planning to open new offices?
  • Which are currently the best-selling programs?
  • Which programs do executives expect to be the best-sellers this year?
  • Which programs are rising and falling most in popularity?
  • Which programs have the most efficient processing units?
  • Which industry developments worry executives the most?
  • Which industry developments to executives expect in the future?
  • What is the typical age of investor migrants?
  • What are investor migrants' primary motivating factors?
  • What are investor migrants' most common sources of wealth?

The full report is now available for download for all IMI Pro members in the Pro Members' Lounge.

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