Last year, I endeavoured to list the biggest prospective changes to the investment migration industry that would take place in 2023.
My three predictions were:
Greece Golden Visa increases minimum investment requirement
St Lucia ends Covid Relief Bond (CRB) investment option
Portuguese Golden Visa closes its doors
Although not 3 on 3, largely, the trend was correct. As the adage goes, good things don’t last forever. Greece increased the minimum real estate investment amount from €250,000 to €500,000 in popular investment areas. St Lucia stopped its CRB bond option but soon opened another one. And finally, Portugal’s Golden Visa did not close but removed the real estate investment option.
In recent memory, 2023 was one of investment migration’s most dynamic years, as governments introduced new laws, price points, and operational procedures. This makes predicting what will happen in 2024 more complex, but I will share my thoughts on what the year holds in store for investment migration.
Caribbean Citizenship By Investment Programs to raise minimums
One major shock in 2023 came from St Kitts & Nevis when the Caribbean country doubled its Citizenship by Investment Program’s (CIP) minimum investment amount. The change was implemented in all of the CIP’s investment categories.
I expect the rest of the Caribbean CIPs to modify incrementally in some aspects, for example, DD and bank fees.
Hungary Golden Visa starts processing applications during Q1
Hungary’s government is set to adopt a bill that would regulate all third-country (non-EU/EEA) immigration into the country. Among the changes in the law is the new Guest Investor Visa (GIV).
The first draft of the law set the starting date for the GIV in September of 2024; however, a new proposal is set to bring up that starting date to January. I believe the government will expedite the introduction of the GIV and will begin processing quickly.
Quebec Immigrant Investor Program (QIIP) opens to low fanfare
The QIIP is back in a new form. While the program is considered the grandfather of modern investment migration and holds an esteemed place in the world of residency by investment, I do not believe the new-look QIIP will receive a high volume of applications.
While the stricter requirements will make it more difficult for foreign nationals to qualify (particularly for non-French speaking foreign nationals), the program’s re-opening will offer an additional pathway for eligible investors to settle in Quebec.
Dominica gets UK ETA
Dominica’s loss of visa-free access to the UK was a blow to a country that relies heavily on its CIP to ensure a steady stream of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). However, all may not be lost, as meetings between Dominican and UK officials may yet result in Dominica getting ETA access to the UK.
The UK has begun listing countries on its ETA system (including the UAE), and Dominica may be one of the next additions.
US EB5 applications to grow exponentially
The EB5 visa started gaining momentum at the end of 2023, and I foresee that demand to grow exponentially. The EB5 has finally settled on favourable regulations, and processing is becoming quicker.
India, which is a massive market for EB5, should see significant growth, especially since investing in rural projects can cut down processing times for Indians to just 18 months.
More programs to open for Russians and Belarusians
Russian and Belarusian investors currently have fewer investment migration choices than before. The Caribbean CIPs and many of the EU’s Golden Visas have suspended Russian and Belarusian applicants due to pressure from Ukraine’s allies.
If the issue of conducting proper due diligence is solved, we may see more programs open, but I don’t expect with visa-free entry into the EU to open any time soon.
Popularity of Dubai real estate and Golden Visa to continue growing
Dubai’s housing market grew 5.8 per cent year-on-year in 2023, which also happened to be a record year for the city’s Golden Visa program, awarding 1,500 people with residency. I expect that trend to continue growing, especially when you consider Dubai’s importance as an economic, low-tax hub.
Turkey price increase
Rumours regarding a potential price increase under the Turkish CIP are gaining traction. I do foresee that happening, as the demand for Turkey’s program isn’t slowing down. Still, the country is taking steps to stabilise a housing market that is growing exponentially in terms of demand and price. Increasing the minimum investment under the CIP would fit that agenda. However, believe this price hike will come with a grace period rather than being implemented without warning.
A new citizenship program
Eastern Europe has considerable potential for a new CIP, and the demand will be there when it happens. Moldova saw massive demand when it opened, and Montenegro did garner interest at the end of its short-lived cycle. There was brief talk of North Macedonia, but thankfully, we trod carefully while others rushed in and got burnt.
We may be seeing a new CIP in Eastern Europe as countries such as Albania and Kosovo have a ripe environment for such programs. But any country offering it must learn from the failings of others.
The brief showings of Moldova and Montenegro are also cautionary tales for future European CIPs, as their structuring, both on operational procedures and political will was lacking.
In 2024, we will talk more about what constitutes a popular and robust CIP.
Savory and Partners spans 7 countries, with 60+ experts and headquartered in Dubai. A holder of more than one citizenship himself, Jeremy is a vocal advocate of greater due diligence and governance in the residency and citizenship by investment industry.