Immigration is a global phenomenon.
People from around the world take different routes to migrate to countries with better prospects.
A UN report puts the total number of international immigrants at 272 million or over 3.5% of the global population, with three out of four international migrants belonging to the working-age group.
These migrations have created the revolutionary concepts of ‘Residency-by-investment’ and ‘Citizenship-by-investment’ (or “RCBI”) under an Investment Immigration industry that is well worth over 3.5 billion dollars in 2020.
The investment immigration industry is gaining popularity across the world. Some of the most popular investment immigration programs have witnessed double-digits growth over the last decade.
For individuals interested in fast tracking a foreign country’s citizenship or residency and obtaining a second passport, this guide will clarify the concept of investment migration, leading trends in the international immigration industry, and tips for securing you and your family’s future residency or citizenship through investment immigration investor programs.
What is investment immigration?
Investment immigration -sometimes known as immigration investor program- is the process in which countries raise capital from foreign immigrants, designed to grant them residency or citizenship in exchange for the investment. It allows countries to raise funds for different public programs and attract foreign capital. The foreign investors, on the other hand, can legally live in the invested country, obtain fast track residency or citizenship, and gain many benefits through their newfound second passport.
What are the benefits of acquiring a second passport?
- Access to better healthcare: Immigrants get access to a superior healthcare system across high-income regions, such as North America, the UK, the EU region, or Australia. However, it is critical to choose an immigration destination that accommodates immigrants within its healthcare system instead of providing basic cover only.
- Better employment opportunity or career prospects: A growing number of migrant workers, career aspirants, and even investors are coming to the US, Canada, or the UK for better employment/business opportunities.
- Access to higher educational standards: Children can benefit from high-quality education standards in destination countries. It is critical to understand that over 3 million students seek a visa to different countries for higher education. In fact, most of these aspiring students work with an immigration lawyer or consultancies to go through the process.
- Relief from additional factors (climate-driven, socio-economic reasons): High net worth individuals are increasingly concerned about climate and political stability.
- Freedom in Mobility: Most of the countries that offer citizenship-by-investment programs have strong passport rankings. Investors who receive a citizenship, receives a second passport that allows travel visa-free to over 100+ countries. They’re given the choice to be wherever they want to be when they want to be.
- Tax Benefits: Stable business environment and tax policies, are favorable and attractive factors.
3 Interesting trends related to investment immigration
- The top markets for investment immigration in terms of the highest number of prospects are China Mainland (2.02 million), India (438,779), Hong Kong (280,374), Russia (198,524), and Mexico (192,393). (Source: IMIDaily)
- The global investment migration market might grow into a $100 billion (USD) industry by 2025. (Source: IMIDaily)
- The top investment immigration programs by revenue are US EB-5, UK Tier 1, and Quebec IIP. (Source: IMIDaily)
- Over 750 million people across the world are willing to migrate to a new country if they could. (Source: Gallup World Poll)
How to Gain Citizenship by Investment In Different Countries
Investment immigration guidelines vary across different countries and programs. We have created a list of general steps that one must complete before filing for an application.
Stage I: Identify your immigration goals, expectations, and investment funds.
The immigration process varies depending on the investment program chosen and the type of program you choose may vary in accordance with your immigration goals, expectations and availability of the funds. Processing time is also a key factor to consider: the approval of some programs may take only four weeks, 3-6 months, or longer for more popular ones.
- You should start by defining your immigration goals. Why do you want to immigrate to another country?
- Some possible reasons include starting a business, providing better education to your children, availing better healthcare services, or related reasons.
- Do you simply want to take advantage of global mobility that comes with having a strong second passport that provides visa-free travel to over 100+ countries?
- Other reasons may be to avoid foreign policy blow back, or simply having a Plan B for the security of yourself and your family
- The next step involves setting expectations for your immigration. Having clear expectations will allow you to choose the right investment visa program. Here are some questions that will help you set your expectations.
- Do you want to become a permanent resident of the country?
- Are you seeking full residency rights or a living visa is sufficient?
- Is quick migration a priority for you and your family?
- Do you want to maintain your business in your home country? Do you want to invest into a business in your new country of destination?
- The final step of the first stage is to have a legitimate source of funds for a residency or citizenship investment program. The applicant must understand the financial aspect of the entire process before proceeding with the procedure. Contact our team for a consultation.
Stage II: Compare Different Investment Immigration Programs
- Start by preparing a list of investment immigration programs in your destination countries. You have to consider factors such as processing time, investment requirement, and any restrictions associated with the program (such as travel or relocation limitations). You can read about all the available investment immigration programs from around the world here.
- Compare different programs based on factors relevant to you and your family. It will include processing period, employment opportunities (for the spouse or family members), travel restrictions, permanent residency filing and approval process, investment requirements, and any renewal guidelines associated with a program.
- Going through these steps will help applicants identify programs that are suitable for their families, have feasible investment requirements, and offer the best opportunities. Always remember, you should only engage an authorized immigration firm at this stage itself. These professionals will help you choose the right programs based on your expectations and any investment limitations.
Stage III: Consult with an immigration lawyer to proceed.
- The final step is to engage an immigration lawyer from a Government-authorized firm for your application.
- Working with experienced immigration professionals has multiple benefits. These professionals can help you through the financial pre-planning, program selection, and application process. Their experience allows them to offer solutions for investors on any potential issues the applicant might face.
- Keep in mind that communications with lawyers and attorneys are confidential and can only be disclosed by virtue of a court order unlike an immigration consultant.
- Only lawyers and attorneys have the statutory right to hold your funds into escrow and maintain a professional insurance.
- Lawyers and attorneys have a statutory duty to always act in your own interest and provide you all necessary information, whether you asked for it or not.
- The immigration lawyer will help you follow the step-by-step procedure in filing your immigration application and further processing.
Top 5 Destinations For Investment Immigration
- The United States of America: The US is the most preferred destination of investment immigrants. It is home to over 50 million immigrants. The US runs multiple immigration investment programs including, L1, E2, Individual EB-5, and Regional Center EB-5.
- The United Kingdom: The UK ranks at number four in terms of the population of immigrants. It offers a UK Tier 1 investment immigration program, which allows immigrants to gain UK citizenship by investing £ 2 million or more. Another option is UK Innovator visa where applicant must invest a minimum of £ 50,000 into a business with an innovative business plan.
- Canada: Canada is among one of the most immigrant-friendly nations, with a steady rise in the immigrant population. An applicant can gain permanent residency quickly (12-18 months approx.) through Canada Start-Up Visa program (Canada SUV). Other programs would take between 5 to 7 years.
- Portugal: Portugal has gained popularity as an immigration destination over the past couple of years. The European country has a Golden Resident Permit Program (Golden Visa) that allows immigrants to purchase property or invest in a variety of projects to gain resident status in the country. For entrepreneurs, the Portugal Startup visa program requires a startup or entrepreneur investment into an incubator of EUR 175,000.
- New Zealand: New Zealand is an ideal destination for immigrants seeking a high-quality education system and robust healthcare network. The country offers two investment immigration visas, including New Zealand investor 1 visa and New Zealand investor 2 visa.
Popular Second Passports You May Have Heard Of
European, Caribbean; and Pacific passports have gained immense popularity over the decades due to their strong passport benefits. Ranging from attractive tax regime to visa-free travel or right to settle across the Schengen countries and around the globe, a second citizenship is offered for a lifetime (and passable through generations) with a one-time investment. For all Caribbean and Vanuatu investment immigration programs, investors have the options of donation to the National Development Fund (NDF), Real Estate, and in certain jurisdictions, business. Most programs require no residency, language proficiency, or professional skills.
Grenada: The Grenada Citizenship-by-investment program provides options to investors. Donation to the NDF starts at USD 150,000 for a single applicant, USD 200,000 for applicant and 3 dependents. The most popular program is a share of ownership into the prestigious 5-star hospitality brand Six Senses La Sagesse Grenada starting at USD 220,000. The processing time is between 4-6 months. A Grenadian passport holder can appreciate visa-free travel to 140+ countries, including China, and able to apply for a U.S.A. E-2 Treaty visa.
Commonwealth of Dominica: The Dominica Citizenship-by-investment program can be acquired through a donation to the government with a minimum of USD 100,000 for a single applicant, USD 175,000 for applicant with spouse, or USD 200,000 for applicant and 3 dependents. Investors can also opt for a direct real estate purchase through an authorized project with a minimum value of USD 200,000 to obtain their Dominica passport. The processing time is between 4-8 months. A Dominica passport holder is allowed visa-free travel to 140+ countries.
Antigua & Barbuda: The Antigua & Barbuda Citizenship-by-investment program provides following options to those interested in their passport: a donation to the NDF at a minimum of USD 100,000 for a family of four or USD 125,000 for a family of 5 or more. Through the real estate investment option, investor needs to make a minimum investment of USD 200,000 as a joint investment or USD 400,000 as a single investor in a government-approved project with the investment to be maintained for 5 years. For either option, an Antigua & Barbuda passport allows visa-free travel to over 165 countries with the processing time between 3-6 months.
Vanuatu: The long running Vanuatu Citizenship by Investment Program has been attracting foreign investors for over decades. Investor can invest through a Government donation with a minimum of USD 130,000 for a single applicant, USD 180,000 for applicant with up to 3 dependents and USD 25,000 for each additional dependent. The processing time is very fast: 2 months.
Cyprus: The Cyprus Citizenship by Investment Program offers an opportunity to become a European Union citizen and settles in in any of the European Union members. The program consists in investing in one or several real estate properties at least EUR 2 mil and make a donation of EUR 150,000 into State-run investment funds. The processing time takes approximately 12 months.
After finishing reading this guide article, you understand more on the what, why, how to buy a second passport through investment immigration. The entire immigration journey takes a significant amount of time, resources, and focus over an extended period. Most people may find it challenging to navigate through the entire procedure. Working with a professional immigration lawyer with a Government-appointed immigration firm only improves your chances of successfully completing the process and approval, but it also protects you from any kind of immigration frauds.
Are you ready to take the next steps to secure your future? Do you have any questions about immigration and what’s the best investment program for you? Kindly share your questions in the comments section below.
About Harvey Law Group (HLG)
Harvey Law Group (HLG) is a multinational law firm specializing in corporate law and investment immigration, with a worldwide reputation for representing high-profile clients and corporations. HLG was awarded the Immigration Law Firm of The Year at the Annual Macallan ALB Hong Kong Law Awards in 2014 and 2017. As Asia’s pioneer within the citizenship-by-investment industry, HLG has notably been offering immigration services for over 28 years.
HLG is headquartered in Hong Kong, with 22 offices worldwide including Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Ivory Coast and South Africa, and many more. HLG is duly licensed by all investment immigration programs to promote and submit applications on behalf of investors. Currently, HLG offers citizenship-by-investment programs to 23 countries and counting.