Jacky Poh is Deputy Head Southeast Asia at Henley & Partners Singapore
Deceptively small Singapore is forecast to see the third-highest net inflow of high-net-worth individuals globally in 2023, at 3,200, but the city-state is a financial hub with a highly concentrated expatriate population, and many are seeking out investment migration opportunities. In 2023, Singapore is the second-biggest source market for outbound clients in Southeast Asia after the Philippines, ranking 7th in the top 10 list for applications by address country.
Henley & Partners has been assisting many expatriates in Singapore with their investment migration requirements. After we saw a significant jump in applications by Singaporean residents in 2021 of 118%, the last two years have seen steadily high numbers of Singapore-based investors of many nationalities applying for residence and citizenship by investment programs. We have observed a significant increase in applications for the Portugal Golden Resident Permit Program, while other popular options include Australia’s Global Talent Independent Program and the citizenship by investment programs offered by St. Kitts and Nevis and Grenada.
Singapore is an attractive destination for foreign direct investment, and as an inbound option, the Singapore Global Investor Program remains highly sought after among global investors. The country has a strong and stable political system with a robust legal framework that cultivates a conducive business environment. Its strategic geographical location attracts investors from across the globe to base themselves here and gain easy access to the region’s emerging markets.
Singapore’s Global Investor Program has a streamlined visa application process and offers several benefits, including the ability to bring family members to Singapore and a faster path to permanent residence. Successful applicants gain access to Singapore’s business-friendly environment, strong intellectual property protection, and attractive tax policies for companies and investors. Singapore’s banking sector is well developed and regulated, and the city-state has a burgeoning asset management industry. Singapore is also a vibrant hub for venture capital and private equity investments and is home to a growing number of family offices thanks to the rolled-out tax incentives.
It is important to note that the Singapore Global Investor Program is highly selective and competitive, and meeting the minimum investment requirement alone does not guarantee approval. The Singapore Economic Development Board evaluates each application on a case-by-case basis, considering various factors such as the applicant’s business track record, the potential economic benefits of the underlying investment, and the overall contribution the applicant can make to the economy.