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Started as a mere segment of lifestyle choices, the investment migration industry has now become an integral feature of the global economic landscape. Today, it is a multi-billion dollar industry with over 30 countries offering citizenship and residency by investment programmes.

Home to over 8 million international migrants, the UAE continues to see an increasing number of residents interested in investing in an alternative residency or second citizenship as people are becoming more aware of such programmes and their associated benefits.

“There is a growing demand for investment migration programmes in the UAE and most of it is due to various factors like stability, better lifestyle, children’s education, social benefits, free healthcare, great business opportunities, good return on investment, and unrestricted global access,” says Waquar Karim, VP of WWICS Global.

Top destinations and programmes

The US continues to lead the way as the most sought-after investment destination for world elites. The coveted EB -5 Regional Center Investment Programme that allows wealthy foreigners to get US Green Card, has been recently reauthorised with many welcome changes presenting an outstanding opportunity for overseas investors to invest and relocate to the US.

Similarly, interest in migrating to Australia is also on the rise. Despite border restrictions, Australia attracted a large number of investors in the last couple of years. The Business Innovation subclass-188 Programme that allows foreign entrepreneurs to undertake business activities in Australia, also received a priority status.

For residency by investment, Portugal remains the top choice for investors mainly due to its affordability factor. “The key reasons that Portugal Golden Visa has become a significant and most popular choice for investors are the low investment and physical residence requirements coupled with fast processing times,” Karim says.

In the citizenship by investment segment, Caribbean countries, such as Antigua, Dominica, Grenada, St Lucia, and St Kitts, are seeing increasing demand for second citizenships. Apart from real-estate/ property investment, investors have multiple other investment options to acquire a second passport like a donation to a designated government fund, purchasing government bonds, and through capital investment in an approved business.