Op­por­tu­ni­ties and Chal­lenges for Im­mi­gra­tion to Over­seas

China's Foreign Trade (English) - - Survey - By Lynn Yu

Over the past yea r, do­mes­tic eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment has been sta­ble, and the Chi­nese high net worth pop­u­la­tion has in­creased steadily, ac­cord­ing to the Im­mi­gra­tion and the Chi­nese HNWIS 2018 re­leased by the Hu­run Re­search In­sti­tute, in as­so­ci­a­tion with Visas Con­sult­ing Group re­cently.

Ac­cord­ing to the Hu­run Chi­nese Lux­ury Con­sumer Sur­vey 2018, about 37% of HNWIS (those with fam­ily as­sets worth USD 1.5m to USD 31m) re­spon­dents are cur­rently con­sid­er­ing im­mi­gra­tion, a 10% drop com­pared with last year. 12% of them have al­ready em­i­grated or are ap­ply­ing to do so.

From the in­ter­na­tional per­spec­tive, many tra­di­tional and emerg­ing im­mi­gra­tion des­ti­na­tions are im­ple­ment­ing var­i­ous stim­u­lus poli­cies, in­clud­ing the United States’ sub­stan­tial re­duc­tion in cor­po­rate tax and sim­pli­fied prop­erty pur­chase im­mi­gra­tion poli­cies in a num­ber of Euro­pean coun­tries.

David Chen, part­ner lawyer of Visas Con­sult­ing Group, said, “From the sur­vey, we can see that visas and over­seas prop­erty pur­chases have be­come the new guar­an­tee of eco­nomic se­cu­rity for Chi­nese HNWIS. It is worth men­tion­ing that Ire­land has be­come a dark horse this year with its high-qual­ity ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem and low cor­po­rate tax rate of 12.5%. Fur­ther­more, along with the re­cov­ery and con­tin­ued de­vel­op­ment of its econ­omy, Greece pro­vides one of the best choices for in­vest­ment im­mi­gra­tion, al­low­ing in­vestors to ob­tain im­mi­grant sta­tus and sub­stan­tial prop­erty in­vest­ment in­come at a low cost.”

As China of­fi­cially launches the CRS global tax­a­tion pro­gram, im­mi­gra­tion needs are con­stantly be­ing ex­tended and re­de­fined, in ad­di­tion to the tra­di­tional de­mand for ed­u­ca­tion, wel­fare and travel con­ve­nience. De­mand for over­seas as­set al­lo­ca­tion and ob­tain­ing res­i­dence is now lead­ing emerg­ing mi­gra­tion trends. Some in­vestors put gain­ing res­i­dence over­seas at the top of their agenda and fo­cus on pass­port im­mi­gra­tion. With the im­ple­men­ta­tion of China’s Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive, changes in tax­a­tion per­tain­ing to global in­vest­ment im­mi­gra­tion, and the shift­ing in­ter­na­tional out­look, re­al­is­ing a glob­alised al­lo­ca­tion of in­vest­ment and iden­tity means that in­vest­ment can­not be lim­ited to do­mes­tic stocks and prop­erty.

Which cities for over­seas prop­erty pur­chase are more popular?

The Visas Con­sult­ing Hu­run Re­port Chi­nese Im­mi­gra­tion In­dex 2018 ( CII 2018) based on the eight cat­e­gories of ed­u­ca­tion, in­vest­ment des­ti­na­tion pref­er­ences, im­mi­gra­tion pol­icy, prop­erty pur­chas­ing, per­sonal tax­a­tion lev­els, med­i­cal care, visa-free travel and ease of adapt­abil­ity.

Ru­pert Hoogew­erf, chair­man and chief re­searcher of Hu­run Re­port, said that there are some high­lights in the Re­port, for ex­am­ple, “Lon­don has risen rapidly to be­come the sixth most popular des­ti­na­tion for pur­chas­ing over­seas prop­erty, over­tak­ing Van­cou­ver, Toronto and Mel­bourne for the first time. Emerg­ing im­mi­gra­tion des­ti­na­tions Ire­land and Greece per­formed well, with Ire­land mov­ing up four places to third, and Greece oc­cu­py­ing sixth place in its de­but ap­pear­ance on the rank­ing. Canada falls two places to fourth, while Aus­tralia is down one place to fifth. It is also in­ter­est­ing to note that 90% of those

As China of­fi­cially launches the CRS global tax­a­tion pro­gram, im­mi­gra­tion needs are con­stantly be­ing ex­tended and re­de­fined, in ad­di­tion to the tra­di­tional de­mand for ed­u­ca­tion, wel­fare and travel con­ve­nience.

con­sid­er­ing im­mi­gra­tion in­tend to live in China af­ter re­tire­ment.”

The United States topped the rank­ings for the fourth year run­ning with a score of 8.7. In terms of in­di­vid­ual fac­tors, the Amer­i­can ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem re­mains one of the main rea­sons Chi­nese in­vestors most favour the United States. In ad­di­tion, it came top in terms of visafree travel and ease of adapt­abil­ity. Pres­i­dent Trump’s tax cuts also saw it score 8 points higher in the tax cat­e­gory this year.

The UK climbed from third place to sec­ond with a score of 8.5. De­spite the UK be­ing set to leave the EU, Lon­don re­mains one of the world’s lead­ing fi­nan­cial cen­ters, and Bri­tish ed­u­ca­tion is re­garded as sec­ond only to that of the United States. In­vest­ment im­mi­gra­tion to the UK comes with the ben­e­fits of one’s chil­dren en­joy­ing an elite Bri­tish ed­u­ca­tion, and of the fam­ily gain­ing ac­cess to its high qual­ity med­i­cal and wel­fare sys­tems. Fur­ther­more, a favourable ex­change rate makes in­vest­ment in the UK more at­trac­tive. Ru­pert Hoogew­erf said, “Brexit has had lit­tle im­pact on Chi­nese en­trepreneurs. At present, Bri­tish prop­erty rep­re­sents good value, with un­cer­tainty over Brexit and the weak­ness of the pound mak­ing it rel­a­tively cheap.”

With its youth­ful de­mo­graph­ics and a di­verse range of ad­van­tages, Ire­land has moved up by four places to third place with a score of 7.9, be­com­ing the dark horse of the im­mi­gra­tion in­dus­try. Ire­land, con­ve­niently lo­cated in the west of Europe near the UK, boasts a beau­ti­ful nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ment and strong so­cial wel­fare, in ad­di­tion to a low tax bur­den. It also has a strong knowl­edge-based sec­tor, and is a world leader in cut­ting- edge high-tech fields such as com­puter sci­ence.

Canada falls two places to fourth with a score of 7.8. At the end of March 2018, the Que­bec Im­mi­gra­tion Bureau raised the thresh­old for in­vest­ment im­mi­gra­tion, up­ping the net fam­ily as­sets re­quired from CAD 1.6 mil­lion to CAD 2 mil­lion, and the to­tal in­vest­ment from CAD 0.8 mil­lion to CAD 1.2 mil­lion. Fur­ther­more, the num­ber of an­nual quo­tas granted re­mains lim­ited. This, along with the strict au­dit­ing stan­dards of its im­mi­gra­tion au­thor­i­ties, ac­counts for Canada’s fall of two places.

Greece ar­rives at sixth place in its maiden en­try, with a score of 7. There has been close co­op­er­a­tion be­tween China and Greece un­der the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive, pro­vid­ing a timely boost for Greece’s econ­omy. With the re­cov­ery and con­tin­u­ing de­vel­op­ment of its econ­omy, Greece pro­vides one of the most cost-ef­fec­tive in­vest­ment im­mi­gra­tion projects among those on of­fer in Europe, al­low­ing in­vestors to ob­tain Greek res­i­dent sta­tus and sub­stan­tial prop­erty in­vest­ment in­come. This makes Greece an op­ti­mal choice for Chi­nese in­vestors.

Por­tu­gal is down one place in sev­enth with a score of 6.7. Spain re­mains in eighth with a score of 6.5. Por­tu­gal and Spain’s im­mi­gra­tion poli­cies make no de­mands on lan­guage, ed­u­ca­tion, busi­ness back­ground or fund­ing. Res­i­dence re­quire­ments are also quite re­laxed, al­low­ing in­vestors to pur­chase prop­erty and process im­mi­gra­tion in a sin­gle step.

Malta moves down by 4 places to ninth with a score of 6.4. Cyprus takes tenth place in its first ap­pear­ance on the rank­ing. De­mand for over­seas as­set al­lo­ca­tion and ob­tain­ing res­i­dence is now lead­ing the emerg­ing mi­gra­tion trends. Cyprus does not levy in­her­i­tance or div­i­dend tax, among oth­ers. Pass­port hold­ers enjoy visafree ac­cess to 171 coun­tries and re­gions around the world, which pro­vides HNWIS with com­pre­hen­sive as­set al­lo­ca­tion and res­i­dence so­lu­tions. For savvy in­vestors, Malta and Cyprus are cost- ef­fec­tive, low-risk choices of­fer­ing sig­nif­i­cant returns, mak­ing them popular des­ti­na­tions.

The top five cities for over­seas prop­erty pur­chase among Chi­nese HNWIS re­main un­changed from last year. Los An­ge­les is the most popular for the fifth year run­ning, while New York climbs from the third place to sec­ond. Bos­ton is up two places to third. San Fran­cisco re­mains fourth, tied with Seat­tle, which falls two places. Greece en­ters the top ten for the first time, while Lon­don leaps eight places to sixth.

The emerg­ing im­mi­gra­tion trends: im­mi­gra­tion for wealth, tax and prop­erty

For Wealth: in­creas­ing hold­ings be­comes the trend ‘ For­eign ex­change de­posit’ and ‘ im­mov­able prop­erty’ are far the most popular over­seas in­vest­ment op­tions, ex­ceed­ing oth­ers with pro­por­tions of 43% and 30%, and they are set to re­main their op­tions of choice over the next three years. In ad­di­tion, in­sur­ance and stan­dard fi­nan­cial prod­ucts will in­crease by 10% and 9% re­spec­tively over the next three years, while art in­vest­ment will de­crease by 3%.

HNWIS’ fi­nan­cial in­vest­ment out­look has be­come

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