The Surge of COVID-Related Interest in Investment Migration from Citizens of Developed Nations
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The Surge of COVID-Related Interest in Investment Migration from Citizens of Developed Nations

By Henley & Partners

The Surge of COVID-Related Interest in Investment Migration from Citizens of Developed Nations

The massive volatility driven by COVID-19 has pushed the steady growth in investment migration into overdrive, with a nearly 50% increase in inquiries overall as the pandemic coursed around the globe in the six months to June 2020 compared to the same period last year. While the surge in the interest shown by citizens of emerging economies such as India and Nigeria is somewhat predictable, a fascinating turn of events is the growing attention from nationals of leading developed nations. Most notable is America, with a dramatic 100% increase in inquiries from US citizens in the first six months of 2020 compared to the same period in 2019, along with significantly greater interest shown by Canadians and UK citizens.

"The tumultuous events of 2020, including the unplanned pause during the Great Lockdown, have resulted in people reconsidering how they wish to conduct their lives and — for those fortunate enough — choosing where they want to live by opting for investment migration," says Henley & Partners CEO Dr. Juerg Steffen. "The relentless volatility in terms of both wealth and lifestyle has resulted in a significant shift in how alternative residence and citizenship are perceived by high-net-worth investors around the world."

In terms of the total number of inquiries made in the first six months of 2020, Indian nationals outstripped all other nationalities by a long stretch. Henley & Partners received 96.5% more inquiries from Indian nationals than Nigerian nationals, who were placed second, followed by Pakistan and, startlingly, the US.

Several countries that host investment migration programs rank high on prominent indexes such as the 2020 Global Peace Index (GPI), the World Bank's 2020 Ease of Doing Business ranking, and Deep Knowledge Analytics' Covid-19 Regional Safety Assessment ranking. For those seeking the comfort of an alternative residence option in times of crisis, New Zealand comes out on top, impressively ranking 1st in both the GPI and Ease of Doing Business index and 2nd in the Covid-19 Regional Safety Assessment ranking. Other secure alternatives for high-net-worth families are Singapore, which ranks 7th in the GPI, 2nd in the Ease of Doing Business index, and 10th in the Covid-19 Regional Safety Assessment ranking, and Australia, which ranks 13th, 14th, and 6th in the three indexes, respectively.

In terms of alternative citizenship options in Europe, Austria is the top option, ranking 4th in the GPI, 27th in the Ease of Doing Business index, and 8th in the Covid-19 Regional Safety Assessment index, while Montenegro ranks 69th, 50th, and 83rd in the three indexes, respectively. The GPI omits the Caribbean small island nations, but St. Lucia ranks 93rd in the Ease of Doing Business index and 127th in the Covid-19 Regional Safety Assessment ranking, making it the Caribbean investment migration program of choice for high-net-worth individuals.

"Once 'nice-to-have' assets of convenience and privilege that enhanced travel freedom and provided vacation or second homes, alternative residence and citizenship have rapidly become 'must-have' essential assets, not just to survive, but to thrive in the 21st century," says Henley & Partners Group Head of Sales Dominic Volek, who points out that 19 of the G20 nations offer some form of mechanism to encourage inward investment in exchange for residence rights. The 20th member is the EU, and 60% of EU member states offer investment migration options.

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