Here’s a quick rundown of Sable International’s top choices for investment migration in 2023.
This article was originally published on News24.
If you’re seeking a citizenship- or residency-by-investment programme for your family in 2023, you’re spoilt for choice. Even with some programmes ending, there are still options in Europe, the USA, on Caribbean islands and even in sunny Mauritius. In fact, there are nearly too many options. How do you know which programmes will offer the right benefits for your family?
Key questions to ask when choosing an investment migration programme
- Which family members do you wish to include on the programme? If you have adult children or relatives you wish to include, this can narrow your choices.
- What is your budget? Also, are you looking for an investment that will offer returns or are you okay with a government donation?
- How much time do you want to spend in the destination country? Do you want to relocate? Spend half the year or more in the country? Visit the country once or twice? Not visit the country at all?
- What benefits are you seeking? Some programmes offer excellent travel documents and some offer the ability to make a new country your home, while some are just a great investment and plan-B for the future.
Sable International conducts thorough research into the programmes that they recommend to clients and do due diligence on all of their on-the-ground partners. They focus their offering on the programmes which they believe provide the most benefits. Here’s a quick rundown of Sable International’s top choices in 2023.
Reports of the Portugal Golden Visa’s demise have been greatly exaggerated. While it’s true that the Portuguese government is no longer offering a real estate investment path to residency, applicants may still invest in approved investment and private equity funds.
Portuguese residency has long been a top choice for South Africans because it enables visa-free travel throughout the Schengen area and 100% of the funds go into your investment – there’s no government donation. For those who do choose to relocate, Portugal is a safe and warm country with a similar climate to South Africa and easy access to the rest of Europe, but relocation is not required to take advantage of the programme.
You may include unmarried, financially dependent adult children who are enrolled in full-time education on your application and parents/parents-in-law, with proof of dependency only required if they are under 65 years of age.
Minimum investment amount: €500,000
Minimum stay requirements: 35 days over five years – an average of one week a year.
Greece is known for its rich history, but it’s also heading for a rich future. After the financial crisis of 2009, Greece has seen a remarkable economic recovery. In the last five years specifically, house prices have been climbing and the property market is set to improve further.
This is good news for Golden Visa applicants, as the programme grants a long-term residence permit that will remain valid as long as you maintain ownership of a qualifying property in Greece. There’s no requirement to relocate and no annual minimum stay for the residence permit – which offers visa-free travel throughout the Schengen area for leisure purposes. However, if you did wish to move to Greece, the Golden Visa would provide a route to naturalisation (and EU citizenship) after a minimum of seven years living in the country.
The most interesting factor that differentiates the Greek programme from many of its peers is that there is no requirement to prove that parents you include on your application are dependent on you. That means that, while the programme only allows you to include children up to the age of 24, you could apply in your adult child’s name and list yourself as dependent.
Minimum investment amount: €500,000 real estate investment in prime areas, €250,000 real estate investment in all other locations or €400,000 investment in Greek bank products
Minimum stay requirements: None
The Mediterranean island of Malta is a fully-fledged EU member and is known for its beauty. Its historic sites often feature in films and TV shows as exotic fantasy destinations (think Game of Thrones). It’s also known as one of the warmest, sunniest places in Europe.
While living amid palaces, forts and stunning nature is appealing, neither of Malta’s investment migration programmes require you to relocate if you want to stay in SA for now. You can include children, parents and even grandparents (over 55) on your application – as long as you can prove they are financially dependent on the main applicant.
The citizenship programme, Exceptional Services by Direct Investment (ESDI), allows you to include children under the age of 29 on your application.
The residency programme, the Malta Permanent Residence Programme (MPRP), has no cap on the age of children that can be included.
ESDI minimum investment amount: €600,000 non-refundable government contribution for the main applicant, plus a minimum five-year property lease with minimum rental of €16,000 per annum, plus a once-off charitable donation of €10,000 to a Maltese organisation. Applicants can buy property instead of renting, if preferred, with the minimum real estate threshold of €700,000.
Each additional dependant will also incur a €50,000 non-refundable government contribution.
ESDI minimum stay requirements: 14 days in the first 12 months
MPRP minimum investment amount: €80,000 - €100,000 combined non-refundable government contribution, admin fees and charitable donation, plus a minimum five-year property lease with minimum rental of €10,000 per annum.
Applicants can buy property instead of renting, if preferred, with the minimum real estate threshold of €300,000. However, the main applicant is required to possess capital/assets of not less than €500,000, of which €150,000 must be in financial assets.
MPRP minimum stay requirements: 14 days in the first 12 months
If you’re looking for a powerful passport that allows you to travel around the world, Grenada’s programme might be for you. The Caribbean island offers citizenship in as little as nine months and applicants are not required to relocate.
This has proven to be a great choice for applicants who have children living all over the world as the passport offers visa-free access to 137 countries, with visas on arrival or e-visas available for many more.
Financially dependent children under the age of 28 can be included on the application, as can parents, and grandparents as long as you can prove they are financially dependent on the main applicant. Single siblings with no children may also be included.
Minimum investment amount: US $150,000 - US $200,000 NTF government donation or US $220,000 real estate investment + US $50,000 government contribution.
Minimum stay requirements: None
Many South Africans choose to invest in and relocate to Mauritius because it’s only a 4.5 hour flight from SA. This lets them remain close to family and business interests while benefiting from all that this tropical paradise has to offer.
Mauritian residency permits can be approved in as little as three months and, as with Greece, the residency permit remains valid for as long as the property is owned.
There are no minimum stay requirements tied to residency via property investment and a relocation, while desirable, is optional and not a requirement.
Mauritius offers first class healthcare, education and infrastructure as well as an attractive tax and business structuring environment. If that was not enough, according to the World Happiness Report 2023, Mauritius is the highest-ranking African nation.
Applicants may include dependent children up to the age of 24 on an application.
As with Greece, residency status for the investor and family members will remain valid for as long as the property is owned, and relocation is not required.
Minimum investment amount: US $375,000 property investment into a variety of approved resorts; Integrated Resort Scheme (IRS), Real Estate Scheme (RES), Property Development Scheme (PDS) and Smart City Scheme (SCS)
Minimum stay requirements: None
If you and your family would like to move to the US, then the EB-5 may be an option. Unlike the other programmes on this list, the EB-5 is an immigrant visa, meaning all family members would need to relocate to the US upon approval. However, you are not restricted to relocating into the area of the US where you invest – you may live and work in any of the 50 states.
You and your family (including unmarried, financially dependent adult children up to the age of 21) will be granted US green cards. Green card holders have access to almost all the same benefits as US citizens.
Minimum investment amount: US $800,000 passive investment into an authorised regional centre project in a Targeted Employment Area (TEA) or US $1,050,000 outside of a TEA.
Minimum stay requirements: Applicants need to spend at least six months of each of the first five years of residency living in the USA.
We can help answer your questions and choose the best investment option for you and your family.
Get in touch with an investment migration consultant at email@example.com or call us on +27 (0) 21 657 1584.
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