Stuart Wakeling is a Managing Partner at Henley & Partners and the Head of the firm’s London office.
Early 2022 indications reveal a similar positive trajectory to 2021 at Henley & Partners UK, a year which saw a significant uptick in enquiries of 72% from investors in Europe and the UK. This was an anticipated change, however, and is a result of rising numbers of high-net-worth individuals and their intermediaries becoming increasingly aware of what Henley & Partners offers and the options available to them. They are realizing that investment migration is an attractive and relevant consideration in the 21st century.
Now that Brexit has come and seemingly gone, the intervening months have seen a notable increase in enquiries from UK nationals, with Henley & Partners enquiries up 110% on 2020’s numbers. The vast majority relate to what options Brits now have in terms of alternative residence or additional citizenship in the wake of the UK’s exit from the EU. The highest rising nationality on our enquiry table however is not the UK, but Turkey. With a 148% increase in interest, Turkish citizens are realizing there is a good reason for our increased presence and growing team in Turkey, where we opened our Istanbul office in 2021. It’s worth noting that Turkey remains a fascinating inbound as well as outbound country for Henley & Partners, with many of our global clients choosing Turkey as their additional citizenship destination. This brings us onto what other programs high-net-worth investors are homing in on as their ‘Plan B’ or secondary residence or citizenship.
The stand-out program of 2021 in terms of interest was the Portugal Golden Residence Permit Program. This, too, can be linked to the Brexit effect, with the vast majority of enquiries for coming from British citizens. Portugal offers successful applicants the ability to maintain their freedom of movement, with a possible EU citizenship as the eventual end prize after five years of legal residence. The biggest leap in terms of interest, however, was the Spain Residence by Investment Program which enjoyed a remarkable increase on 2020’s enquiry numbers last year, and is one to watch out for in 2022. Beyond Europe, other notable high risers include two Caribbean programs — the Grenada Citizenship by Investment Program and the Dominica Citizenship by Investment Program. It has to be said that all the Caribbean citizenship by investment programs rank consistently highly on our enquiry table and are very much at the forefront of investors’ minds not least due to their attractive real estate-linked options. The speed at which clients can acquire citizenship of a Caribbean island nation and the many advantages they afford successful applicants remain perennial drawcards.
In terms of inbound investment migration in the region, Q1 2022 has seen several unprecedented developments in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. In mid-February, the UK Government abruptly shut down its Tier 1 Investor visa program. Portugal then suspended the assessment of applications by Russian and Belarusian citizens for its residence by investment program, and Greece suspended Russian nationals from applying for, acquiring, and renewing golden visas. It remains to be seen whether other countries will follow suit.
In closing, the substantial high-net-worth populations in Europe and the UK are evidencing to us their ever-increasing appetite for being internationally mobile. They understand the importance of putting in place a robust Plan B, C, and even D and diversifying their global investments, which is of course teamed with all the inherent perks of having an additional residence or citizenship. Our global citizens understand the importance of being just that — global citizens — and Henley & Partners is best placed to assist them with securing the unparalleled status.