Immigration. Travel. Living.

Golden Visa for Hong Kong citizens

Golden Visa

Since June 2019 Hong Kong has been experiencing ongoing protests. The protests were triggered when Hong Kong’s government introduced the Fugitive Offenders amendment bill.

The bill proposed several changes concerning fugitive extradition to countries that don’t have an extradition agreement with Hong Kong. This would mean that Hong Kong residents and visitors would become subjects to the legal system of mainland China and Taiwan.

Since this bill would undermine the autonomy and people’s civil rights in Hong Kong, citizens of Hong Kong and other interested parties actively engage in the protests.

Even though the bill was withdrawn, protests continue to escalate. The protestors have laid out several demands and there are no immediate signs that the protests will stop any time soon. Therefore, Hong Kong’s residents are on the lookout for insurance for their future.

Hong Kong citizens seeking insurance within citizenship programs

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The escalating situation with protests in Hong Kong is one of the reasons behind the growing interest in investor visa programs. As the protests become more violent and several thousand people have been imprisoned due to protests, citizens of Hong Kong are urgent to seek alternative solutions. Furthermore, it seems that the government is not putting enough effort into resolving the conflict.

While many interested parties don’t share their reasons for inquiring about citizenship programs, it is obvious that the recent political developments in Hong Kong are behind the surged number of inquiries.

However, it is not the only reason behind growing interest from Hong Kong’s residents. Like many other applicants, Hong Kong citizens are looking for more opportunities to travel, study, or invest in another country. They are looking to have the freedom to live and invest anywhere.

Many seek flexibility for their children. They wish their children to have access to the rest of the world, including having the freedom to choose the best educational path.

Residency or citizenship programs offer such flexibility, thereby Hong Kong’s residents are drawn to this opportunity. Many citizens are looking towards European schemes.

The freedom of movement and minimal residency requirements are especially appealing to many candidates. However, the take-up of the golden visa is an expensive and lengthy process. Therefore, only the wealthiest citizens can afford to participate in citizenship schemes.

Still, there are many eligible candidates in Hong Kong. According to Credit Suisse, there were 179’000 millionaires in Hong Kong in 2018. Hong Kong also ranked 15th in the list of countries with the sheerest count of ultra-high net worth individuals.

“Golden Visa” schemes

Many countries around the world offer “golden visa” schemes. Since the unrest in Hong Kong began, many law firms have reported growing interest in such schemes coming from Hong Kong’s residents. In exchange for a sizable investment, a participant of this scheme would be able to gain residency or citizenship rights to that country.

Usually, you would have to purchase government bonds, property, or set a donation of a certain amount to secure your visa.

The minimum amount you would need to invest to gain a golden visa varies from country to country. Starting from $100’000 in Antigua and Barbuda to around 2 million EUR real-estate investment in Cyprus.

These programs exist in many countries, with Europe and the Caribbean countries being at the forefront of the most desirable schemes.

Which countries have favorable golden visas? 

Many residents of Hong Kong are in favor of Portugal’s golden visa scheme. The affordable real-estate prices in Portugal seem dirt-cheap to many residents of Hong Kong. This is because the real-estate prices in Hong Kong are sky-high. Furthermore, the golden visa program in Portugal requires you to stay in Portugal only 7 days per year.

Many countries, including Portugal, offer full family residency when applying for a golden visa. This means that all your family could become citizens under the same scheme.

Those that have sustained the requirements of the golden visa scheme in Portugal have a chance of acquiring Portuguese citizenship after 5 years. Because the applicants have lived and sustained the economy of Portugal for 5 years, the further citizenship acquisition process will be made simple.

Portugal is not the only country that offers such conditions. From European countries, Spain, Malta, Cyprus, Greece, Latvia, Hungary, Netherlands, Ireland, UK, Bulgaria, and Italy offer similar golden visa programs. However, each country will have its own conditions and requirements for these schemes.

The UK is another popular destination for those seeking new opportunities. 10% of all applications for the UK’s investor visa in the second quarter of 2019 came from Hongkongers.

Although nobody knows for sure when the protests will end or how the conflict will get resolved, Hongkongers are looking to take the situation into their own control.

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