Ten On The Weekend

Surprised Vanuatu “Still a Big Hit Among Investors”: 10 On The Weekend With Manpreet Kataria

10 On The Weekend is a weekly (-ish) feature in IMI, the concept of which is simple: Each time, we ask the same ten questions of a different IMI Pro, letting readers get to know the interviewee on a more personal and informal level than they might during the ordinary course of business.

Our guest this week is Manpreet Kataria, Managing Director of Alpha Immigration Associates

How do you spend your weekends?

The weather has been amazing here for the past few months, so I begin most of my weekends with a hike in Ras Al Khaimah or Fujairah with my dog, and sometimes, I enjoy a good beach day. 

Now that summer is here, I spend most of my time on the pristine beaches we have here in the UAE. 

My weekends are a mix of everything. They are majorly family-oriented, with a visit to a mall, grocery shopping, and, once in a while, a staycation.  

What are your top three business goals this year?:

1. With all the confusion surrounding the Caribbean programs, we are pivoting towards Golden Visas and EB5 this year. So, the number one goal is to set up SOPs for them. 

2. We plan to expand to at least two jurisdictions this year. I have had advance-level discussions with some industry leaders, and we will announce something soon.

3. We are strengthening our application processing capabilities to give all our clients the best experience. We do not want a single file delayed. The clients sometimes take too long to gather documents or send us incorrect documents. We are putting a system in place to eliminate such issues. This will give us a competitive edge over others in the industry.

What’s your biggest business concern right now? 

In his keynote at IMI Connect Cairo, Hakan Cortelek said that we are probably currently in the best of times for the industry. I agree with him completely. There is zero concern, market-wise or program-wise. 

The only small concern stems from some of the industry’s service providers. We have encountered many clients and cases where the service providers take fees from the clients and do not provide them service or handle cases correctly, leading to rejections or loss of time or money. This impacts everyone in the business. I just wish this didn’t happen.

Which book is on your nightstand right now?

I was recently blessed with a baby boy and learning to be a good father to him, so the first book on my nightstand is The Father HoodInspiration for the New Dad Generation, and the other one is everyone’s favorite: Millionaire Expat by Andrew Hallam.

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How and when did you first get into the investment migration industry?

I moved to Dubai in 2019 and started a job as head of marketing for a company in Investment Migration. That’s when I entered the industry and never looked back. I was a digital marketer and I use my marketing experience to grow my business. 

What was your proudest moment as a service provider?

Last year, I met a distressed mom who struggled to get a Vanuatu passport for her newborn baby. She had unsuccessfully applied through three different agencies with no success and wasted significant time and money. 

When she reached out, I got the passport for her baby within a month and did it at my cost without charging fees, a negligible amount compared to what she had lost with other agencies. 

Once they got the passport, she came from Kuwait to my office to thank me personally. I won’t say I felt proud about it, but it was certainly a feel-good moment for me. Since then, I have given all of my clients who get a Vanuatu passport from me a passport for their newborn child and bear all the costs associated with it. 

Which investment migration market development has surprised you the most in the last year?

The most surprising development for me is that when the EU and UK revoked visa access from Vanuatu, everyone assumed the program would lose credibility and that nobody would want to apply. However, the program is still a big hit among investors.  

Just last week, the FIU delayed the due diligence of a couple of applications because the staff was unable to handle the large number of applications it had received recently. 

If you could go ten years back in time, what business decision would you change?

Like everyone else, I also made some mistakes in the initial days of my career, and they did cost me, but I don’t want to change anything because those mistakes taught me a lot. 

Some of the biggest lessons in life that I learned from those mistakes have helped me achieve greater heights today. So, no regrets. 

What investment migration industry personality do you most admire?

Andrew Henderson and David Lasperance. Many people just sell citizenships, but you can reap genuine benefits by combining CBI with tax-saving jurisdictions. These two people have been guiding the masses to reap those benefits. 

If all goes according to plan, what will you be doing five years from now? 

I will settle in a Western country with my family. I will see my business flourishing with offices in various jurisdictions and explore all aspects of business migration. 

If God blesses me with some luck and everything goes as planned, I will have made a mark on the industry by then, and people will want to work with us on a much bigger scale.

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