Stuart Wakeling is a Managing Partner at Henley & Partners and the Head of the firm’s London office.
The surge in interest in investment migration continued throughout Q2 at Henley & Partners UK and across Europe. By the end of June 2022, we had already received 68% of the enquiries we received in the whole of 2021 from European and UK nationals. While Brexit and lingering Covid-19 driven concerns continue to lead UK citizens to weigh up alternative residence and citizenship options, many investors on the continent and in the UK are no doubt prompted by the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. Interestingly, Q2 saw increased enquiries from high-net-worth investors in Greece, Portugal, and Switzerland — all traditionally inbound investment migration countries as they host residence by investment programs.
The top five nationalities enquiring about residence and citizenship by investment programs in the first six months of 2022 in descending order are citizens of the UK, Türkiye, Germany, Switzerland, and Portugal, with a significant spike in interest from German investors this year. By the end of June 2022, the total 2021 enquiries by German citizens had already been exceeded by 30%, and the most popular programs they are asking about are the Caribbean citizenship programs and Australia’s Business Innovation and Investment Program.
Interestingly, the top three programs overall in the region in terms of enquiries are all within the region, driven by the UK which makes up the lion’s share (37%) of all regional enquiries, and all are Mediterranean: the Portugal Golden Resident Permit Program, which continues to be the global favorite too, the Greece Golden Visa Program, and the Spain Residence by Investment Program, which is garnering a huge amount of interest this year.
One way to acquire Spanish residence is by investing in real estate. The country offers a vast and attractive real estate market and ranks 2nd in Henley & Partners’ Best Investment Migration Real Estate Index. A single property investment will bring multiple returns that include extended personal access rights as residents of an EU country — a legacy investment for generations to come. Residents of Spain enjoy visa-free travel across Europe’s Schengen Area, and citizens enjoy visa-free or visa-on-arrival travel to 190 destinations. The country ranks among the top 30 globally for ease of doing business. Residents by investment do not become tax residents unless they spend more than 183 days per year in Spain.
As uncertainty and volatility have become a way of life, having greater optionality is more important than ever, and no doubt interest in investment migration will continue to remain high for the foreseeable future.