Investment migration people in the news this week included:
- Patricia Casaburi of Global Citizen Solutions
- Nuri Katz of Apex Capital Partners
- Get Golden Visa
- Peter Franke of Franke & De la Fuente Abogados
- Anthony Liew of MM2H Consultants Association
- Kashif Ansari of Juwai IQI
- Dominic Volek of Henley & Partners
- Sam Silverman of EB5AN
“We haven’t observed any significant changes in the difficulty of obtaining a visa,” said Patricia Casaburi, managing director at immigration consultancy Global Citizen Solutions.
Still, if the new restrictions do dissuade people from seeking residency within the EU, Casaburi of Global Citizen Solutions said that Latin America and the UAE, which also offer attractive visas, are good options. And for those willing to relocate straight away, digital nomad visas are available in Spain, Greece, Portugal and Italy.
“For people worth about $5 to 7 million, richer millionaires, a $500,000 investment to get EU residency is fine,” said Nuri Katz, founder of Canada-based immigration consultancy Apex Capital Partners.
“Every time governments threaten to shut these programs down, there’s a surge of demand of people trying to get through the door before they close,” said Katz. “It’s great for business.”
Uncertainty about the future of golden visa programs has been a boon for immigration consultancies. The London-based firm Get Golden Visa recorded a 127% increase in inquiries about Portuguese and Greek golden visas in the first half of this year, compared to the same period last year. Consultancy Henley Partners said interest was at an all-time high, with inquiries up 125% for programs in Italy. Global Citizen Solutions pointed to a 20% increase in queries about Portugal’s golden visa compared to last year.
“We still advise our clients to get it,” Peter Franke, an immigration lawyer in Spain, said of the visa. “They’re too big to fail.”
But does a favourable exchange rate suggest that things could soon go back to the way they used to be, with foreign nationals flocking to the country to live and work? Anthony Liew, president of the MM2H Consultants Association (MM2HCA), is unsure.
“There’s still a lot to recommend about Malaysia as a permanent residence, such as our multi-ethnic and multi-lingual society, which allows us to cater to expats from all over the globe … but we still lag in terms of offerings (for foreign nationals), as well as flexibility.
Says MM2HCA’s Liew, as things stand, Singapore is the region’s leader for drawing foreign talent and expats. But Malaysia ought to look at Thailand in regard to improving its schemes and packages.
The increased difficulty of obtaining popular visas in Thailand and Singapore could benefit Malaysia, according to insights released today by Juwai IQI Co-Founder and Group CEO Kashif Ansari. The changes alone could drive RM2.7 billion of new spending in Malaysia over the next five years, as well as RM7 billion in new bank deposits and RM35 million in application fees paid to the government. Five-Year Economic Benefits of Shifts in Visa Applicants from Thailand to Malaysia (Ringgit)
“We estimate that the changes to the Thai Elite visa could redirect from 5% to 25% of new applicants to Malaysia instead of Thailand. Over five years, that could result in as much as RM7 billion in new deposits in Malaysian banks. In the same time frame, it could also lead to the government earning RM35 million in application fees and visa holders directly spending for
“Singapore is also revising one of its visa programs in ways that could benefit Malaysia. New rules coming into effect on September 1 will make it harder for companies to hire foreign employees under the popular Singapore Employment Pass visa. With its changes, Singapore hopes to increase local employment by making it more difficult for companies to hire foreigners. “An average of about 180,000 people hold a Singapore Employment Pass. It’s not clear yet how significant an impact the rule changes will have. If the number of Employment Pass visas drops significantly and companies perceive Malaysia as a friendlier environment, some companies or employees may shift to Malaysia.
Henley’s 2023 Private Wealth Migration Report, using data from South Africa-headquartered wealth-intelligence firm New World Wealth, offers a snapshot of what global millionaire migration looks like for those who move for at least six months of the year. About 30% of these millionaires move through investment-migration programs, says Dominic Volek, Henley’s group head of private clients
“It’s returned a little more to normal again in terms of individual countries,” Volek says. China leads net outflows of millionaires with 13,500 prompted by frustrations with pandemic policies and a desire for greater political stability. China’s strict regulations on capital and currency outflows prevent many millionaires from diversifying their portfolios globally, he says. China is followed by India and the U.K. Australia leads net inflows with 5,200, followed by the U.A.E. and Singapore.
This shift started after the initial pandemic outbreak in the U.S., when the European Union prevented Americans from entering E.U. countries. Suddenly, the biggest population of high-net-worth individuals “realized they were more exposed than they thought by only having an American citizenship and only the U.S. as a country of residence,” Volek says.
Sam Silverman of EB5AN pens an op-ed discussing how to assess the financial viability of rural EB5 projects
While many new EB-5 investors are considering rural projects, they also need to be aware of the financial risks associated with this project category. In many cases, real estate developments in rural areas face a unique set of challenges that result in a higher risk profile.
One significant risk of investing in a rural real estate project stems from the lower population density. Compared to urban areas, I’ve found the rural property market often experiences less turnover. This means that properties may sit on the market for much longer before they are sold. As a result, EB-5 capital can be tied up in a rural project for extended periods.
In these cases, the best investors can do is to rely on demand projections that may turn out to be significantly lower than expected. Construction costs, material prices and other factors can also be unpredictable.