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Golden Visas: The Investment Migration Industry Evolves Globally

In the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, many people find the idea of a secondary residency or citizenship appealing. At the same time, many countries are interested in raising capital and bringing wealth across their borders to pay for social programs and keep their economies afloat—specifically if they rely on leisure and tourism for tax income.

At the center of these interests are investment migration programs, in-demand in the U.S. and U.K., but now available worldwide in countries including Portugal, St. Lucia and Montenegro, granting residency or citizenship to foreign investors. In some cases, these schemes are known as “golden visas.”

Popularized after the 2008 financial crisis, residence- or citizenship-by-investment programs have undergone significant changes in recent years, in part due to pressure from governments to clamp down on immigration and require more transparency related to foreign investment. But even with these concerns, the supply-side of these programs has expanded—a trend that experts expect to continue, as more programs are likely to crop up because of the financial stress caused by Covid-19.


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