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Global investment immigration policies summary by Globevisa in 2023

As the year 2023 draws to a close, a dynamic landscape characterizes the global shifts in immigration policies. Throughout this period, numerous countries and regions underwent significant adjustments to their immigration frameworks. Let us retrospectively examine these pivotal moments:

February 15, Ireland officially announced the cessation of the Ireland Immigrant Investor Programme.

February 17, Portugal’s Prime Minister, António Costa, declared the discontinuation of Portugal’s Golden Visa program during a live-streamed press conference, focusing on measures combating real estate speculation.

June 29, South Korea Public Business Immigrant program declared a threefold increase in the mandatory deposit amount.

July 5, Singapore Family Office program introduced new immigration policies with immediate effect, accompanied by elevated thresholds.

July 19, The Portuguese Parliament passed a proposal for a forthcoming “housing plan”.

July 27, St. Kitts and Nevis Citizenship by Investment Unit (CIU) issued a notice of substantial policy reforms, encompassing adjustments to investment amounts and application requirements.

August 1, The Athens region and major islands in Greece doubled the investment requirement to €500,000 for property acquisition to obtain residency in Greece, while other regions maintained a €250,000 threshold.

August 3, Thailand Elite Visa‘s previous fee structure closed all application channels on the afternoon of September 15, reopening on October 1 with a significant fee increase.

December 13, The Ministry of Tourism, Arts, and Culture (MOTAC) in Malaysia proposed new standards to enhance the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) application process.

December 19, Hong Kong SAR introduced new policies for the Capital Investment Entrant Scheme (CIES), elevating the investment requirement to HKD 30 million.

Ireland Immigrant Investor Programme

On February 14, 2023, the Irish government abruptly announced the official closure of the Ireland Immigrant Investor Program (IIP) effective from the end of business hours on February 15, 2023. Henceforth, new applications for the program will no longer be accepted. In response to this policy change, Globevisa promptly engaged in direct communication with the relevant department to comprehend the details of the amendment and swiftly relayed this information to its clients.

Throughout the transitional phase of immigration policies, Globevisa maintained a consistent approach prioritizing client’s benefits, followed by the benefits of partners, and then Globevisa’s own, ensuring smooth communication of pertinent information.

(Source of: https://www.gov.ie/en/press-release/a4170-minister-harris-announces-closure-of-the-immigrant-investor-programme/)
 
 
 
Portugal Golden Visa Property Purchase
On July 19, the Portuguese Parliament voted on and approved the proposal for the “Mais Habitação” law. This vote signified the government’s firm commitment to making adjustments to the Golden Visa program. As a result, the era of property-based immigration in Portugal might be coming to an end. On October 6, the official website of the Portuguese Republic Parliament announced the new Law No. 56/2023, which, following due process revisions, is set to officially take effect on October 7, without the provision of a grace period.
 (Source of: https://diariodarepublica.pt/dr/detalhe/lei/56-2023-222477692)
 
 
Portugal’s Golden Residency Visa actually has not been completely terminated but rather underwent restrictions on the investment categories, reducing the original eight investment categories to five. The specific adjustments are as follows:
Discontinued: €1.5 million deposit, purchase of €500,000 property, purchase of €350,000 property/€280,000 renovated property.
Retained: Creation of 10 jobs, €500,000 investment in technology institutions, €250,000/€200,000 investment in cultural activities, €500,000 fund investment, €500,000 company establishment.
 
Globevisa recommends the following alternatives:
1) Portugal Golden Visa Fund Investment: 
Individuals are eligible to apply for Golden Residency in Portugal if he or she is at least 18 years old with a clean criminal record and invest €500,000 in the fund. Once the Golden Residency Card is obtained, holders must meet renewal conditions, including continued compliance with investment requirements, maintaining a clean criminal record, and accumulating 14 days of residence in Portugal every two years for renewal.
2) Portugal D2/D7 Visa:
Have retirement income or other passive income, with a minimum monthly requirement of €1,300 for the main applicant and the option for accompanying dependents to apply simultaneously.
Provide authenticated clean criminal record.
Open a Portuguese personal bank account and make a deposit of €30,000.
Purchase Portuguese travel and commercial insurance.
Proof of address in Portugal.
 
 
 
Greece Golden Visa Property Purchase
On August 1, the Greek Immigration Office announced a significant change in the investment requirements for property-based immigration. The investment amount for obtaining residency through property purchase in the Athens region and major islands has doubled to €500,000, while other regions maintain a €250,000 threshold. This policy became officially effective on August 1.
 
Following this change, it is anticipated that areas adjacent to those areas affected by the policy adjustment will become popular choices for investors. Examples include the Acharnes region in the northern part, the central Nea Ionia region in the southern Piraeus area, and some popular islands among investors such as Crete, the largest island in Greece.
 
In recent statements, the leader of Greece’s second-largest political party, the Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK), Nikos Androulakis, expressed a commitment to controlling housing costs as a top priority for PASOK’s agenda. Additionally, there is an intention to advocate for the abolishment of the Greece Golden Visa program. 
 
With the impending policy changes, acting swiftly to complete property transfers is advisable to capitalize on the current conditions.
(News source of: PASOK to launch campaign against ‘golden visas’ | News from Greece and the World | eKathimerini.com)
 
For 2023, Globevisa proudly introduced a collection of 20 premium real estate projects strategically located across key regions in Greece, designed to meet diverse clients’ needs, Globevisa invites you to explore our featured property:
Wyndham Azure Waves Beach Resort
Southern of Athens: BW Pireas Premium Serviced Apartments
Crete Island Five-Star Hotel Project:
 
South Korea Public Business Immigrant program
Starting from June 29, the South Korean Ministry of Justice has increased the investment thresholds for Immigrant Investor Scheme for Public Business (IISPB). The specific adjustments are as follows:
-F2 Status: The standard investment amount for the general investment immigration system is raised from KRW 500 million to KRW 1.5 billion.
-F5 Status: The standard amount for the high-value investment immigration system is increased from KRW 1.5 billion to KRW 3 billion.
-Retiree Investor Program has been directly canceled (originally requiring an investment of KRW 300 million).
 
Globevisa Recommendations:
1) Deposit Immigration:
A deposit of KRW 1.5 billion grants the F2 residency status with the right to engage in economic activities. After five years, permanent residency (F5) can be obtained, and withdrawing the funds does not affect the residency status.
A deposit of KRW 3 billion directly grants permanent residency (F5). Maintaining the deposit for five years allows for fund withdrawal without affecting the residency status.
2) Property Purchase Immigration:
Investing in real estate worth over KRW 1 billion qualifies for the F2 residency status with the right to engage in economic activities. Holding the property for over five years grants permanent residency (F5).
 
 
 
Singapore Family Office
On July 5, there was a sudden change in the Singapore Family Office program. The new policies are as follows:
1. The two fund managers of the Singapore family office correspond to two EPs. The second family office EP has a clear requirement for the applicant to have a finance degree and investment management background, and is required to be a non-relative;
2. The one-year grace period has been eliminated. Now, applicants are required to place SGD 20 million directly into a Singapore-based fund company account. This needs to be done on the final approval day of the Singapore Family Office, and the assets can be in the form of cash, investment products, or overseas real estate.
 
 
 
 
St. Kitts and Nevis Citizenship by Investment
On July 27, significant reforms were announced by the St. Kitts CIU regarding the Citizenship by Investment program. The policy adjustments include changes in investment amounts and application requirements.
Changes in Program Costs: Donation starting at $250,000. Real estate investment starts at $400,000, with the option to sell after 7 years (eliminating the $200,000 option). Public investment starts at $250,000.
Changes in Accompanying dependents: The application allows the inclusion of children under 25 years old and parents over 65 years old. Siblings and grandparents are no longer eligible to be included in the applications.
Introduction of Interview Requirement: Applicants aged 16 years old and above may be invited for an interview.
Reform in Citizenship Paper Collection: Main applicants are required to personally collect their citizenship papers either in St. Kitts or at St. Kitts consulates abroad.
 
Globevisa Recommendations:
1) Donation Option: Make a donation with the amount start of $250,000 (contribution to the sustainable development of the island nation).
2) Real Estate Investment: Purchase qualifying real estate for at least $400,000 (with the option to sell after 7 years).
 
 
 
 
Thailand Elite Visa
Starting October 1, 2023, the Thai Elite Visa officially introduced new membership plans, featuring four distinct packages: 5-Year Gold Card, 10-Year Platinum Card, 15-Year Diamond Card, and 20-Year Black Card.
 
5-Year Gold Card: Membership fee of 900,000 Thai Baht, approximately USD26,400.
10-Year Platinum Card: Membership fee of 1.5 million Thai Baht, approximately USD44,000.
15-Year Diamond Card: Membership fee of 2.5 million Thai Baht, approximately USD73,000
20-Year Black Card: Starting at 5 million Thai Baht for a regular single-person membership, approximately USD146,500.
 
 
 
 
Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H)
On December 13, 2023, the Ministry of Tourism, Arts, and Culture (MOTAC) in Malaysia announced proposed enhancements to the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) program application standards.
The new proposal introduced three categories: Platinum, Gold, and Silver. The residency requirements for applicants remain the same, with a minimum annual stay of accumulated 60 days in Malaysia. Applicant’s entry visa type varies depending on their belonged category through specific criteria.
 
 
Hong Kong SAR Capital Investment Entrant Scheme (CIES)
After an 8-year hiatus, the Hong Kong Capital Investment Entrant Scheme (Hereafter referred as “CIES”) has been reinitiated.
In October 2003, the program was first launched, contributing to the economic development of Hong Kong SAR.
In October 2010, the investment amount for the Hong Kong CIES was increased to HKD 10 million, and real estate investment was eliminated.
In January 2015, the Hong Kong SAR government suspended the CIES.
 
In 2023, the CIES was re-launched with an increased investment amount of HKD 30 million. The new policy outlines the following investment requirements:
1) Financial + Non-Residential Investment: At least HKD 27 million in financial products, with an additional HKD 3 million for investments in innovative technology enterprises.
Financial Products: Stocks, bonds, certificates of deposit, debt securities, qualified collective investment schemes, and limited partnership funds.
Non-Residential Properties: Investment in non-residential properties for commercial or industrial use in Hong Kong, with a maximum investment amount of HKD 10 million.
2) New Investment Portfolio: The introduction of a new HKD 3 million “Capital Entrant Scheme Investment Portfolio” primarily focuses on industries beneficial for the long-term development of Hong Kong, such as innovative technology. This new investment portfolio will be established and managed by Hong Kong Investment Management Limited, investing in projects or companies related to Hong Kong SAR.
 
 
In general, global immigration policies are constantly evolving. Investors should stay updated on policy trends in different countries or regions to make informed investment decisions. And now is the time to seize the remaining opportunities and catch up with the old policies.
 
In 2023, Globevisa has been adapting to policy changes. Simultaneously with policy adjustments, our program teams and legal teams promptly work to secure measures for our clients, aiming to reduce risks.
 
Looking ahead to 2024, Globevisa will continue to expand our professional teams, rigorously selecting higher-quality and more comprehensive projects. Upholding the fundamental principle of “client first,” we are committed to providing all-encompassing immigration services, guiding safely every applicant on their immigration journey.
 
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