As the world competes to help wealthy Chinese get their money out of China, some new hotspots are emerging as immigration destinations.
While the US has been successful in attracting Vanke’s Wang Shi and is still the most frequent target for Chinese students, some investor-immigrants have been turned off with dodgy investments offered under America’s investor visa program. And with the hefty financial requirements for securing an Australian visa, more investors are looking at countries such as St Kitts and Nevis in the Caribbean or Portugal.
As highlighted recently in the Wall Street Journal, a Dubai-based firm has been marketing a Hyatt development in St Kitts which supply a supply a passport with visa-free travel to Europe, the UK and most of the Commonwealth included with each $400,000 investment.
Under the terms of St Kitts investor visa program, by investing US$400,000 in the country Chinese citizens can receive St Kitts citizenship within six months of putting down their cash.
While the Caribbean nation still accounts for a small percentage of the estimated 10,000 investor visa applications filed by Chinese citizens, it seems that the investment landscape may be changing.
Much of the changes have come about in the collapse of interest in Cyprus following that country’s recent financial crisis.
Problems with investments promoted under the EB-5 program in the US have resulted in a number of lawsuits that have put off some Chinese investors. Following recent large influxes of Chinese to Canada that nation suspended its investor visa program last year.
The major deterrent for potential immigrants to the UK and Australia is the cost. The U.K. program requires applicants to invest US$1.5 million and to live in the UK for at least 75% of the time during a 5-year period to gain citizenship. Australia demands an investment of US$5.2 million to qualify for the program.
Now some immigration agents say Portugal will be the next hot destination. The Portuguese government is now marketing investor visas for Euros 500,000 that provide immediate residency visas that can be converted to citizenship in six years. And the would-be immigrants only need to spend seven days a year in Portugal over that six years to qualify.