Tier 1 Investor Visa – a Chinese success story

Growth in the Chinese economy has often been a subject of discussion among economists but research earlier this year proved that the impact of this new found Chinese wealth is definitely real.

There are many reasons for settling in the United Kingdom, not least its rule of law and first class education system. However, supply of services alone rarely drives the demand. Nowhere illustrates this relationship better than China. The Chinese are spending billions on new passports and visas to move their families away from their homeland as new middle and upper class families demand better schools, cleaner air and a more secure life for their children.  As China gets wealthier, millions of families have the means to purchase a new life elsewhere.

It’s estimated that their demand alone has transformed a once obscure market for immigration by investment. The  Associated Press collected statistics from 13 countries that offer citizenship or permanent residency for a price in order to better understand how China has changed the global investor migration market. The data was published in May of this year when the currency exchange rates were applicable for that time.

The AP estimated how much Chinese families have invested at a minimum in foreign countries for a visa or passport. The AP multiplied the number of investors, excluding family members, by the minimum investment level for each year, in each program for the last decade. In some cases, the AP estimated the number of investors with the help of government data or experts on investment migration.

The figures were startling and, while by no means can be wholly accurate, they shine a light on the demand citing $1.96 billion of investment into the UK alone through its Tier 1 investor program.

Consulting firms in China’s biggest cities sell investor visa programs in weekly sessions at hotels and on social media. The market leader is, unsurprisingly,  the United States, as urban Chinese are widely familiar with American schools and culture.

Going forward things may change but the supply of emigrating families  from China is unlikely to cease anytime soon.