According to a recent report from LJ Partnership, a London-based private wealth partnership, the number of Chinese nationals applying for UK investor visas rose 56% in 2017. The Tier 1 Investor Visa remains a popular program among Chinese high net worth individuals, even amid Brexit uncertainty.
Britain’s golden visa regime grants individuals residency for three years and four months in exchange for a £2 million investment, with the option to renew for a further two years. Applicants also have the option of settling in the UK permanently after two years if they invest £10 million.
Chinese nationals make up nearly a third of the UK’s investor visa application totals at 32%, with 122 applications in 2017, up from 78 the year before.
Whilst many British residents remain in the dark on what their country will look like in a post-Brexit world, the Chinese have certainly not lost faith, pouring $20.8 billion USD into the country through investment in 2017, more than twice as much as 2016s $9.2 billion USD.
This is despite strict capital controls that Beijing has been imposing since late 2016 to restrict the flow of yuan abroad in hopes of increasing domestic investment. Incidentally, such controls may be a contributing factor to the program’s popularity among Chinese investors, who hold the UK’s reputation as a safe haven for assets in high regard.
LJ Partnership reports:
“For [these] HNWIs and UHNWIs, a secure legal system with a proven record of protecting investors, and a perceived price arbitrage due to a weaker pound, have driven Chinese investment into the UK.”
The UK is not the only destination for Chinese economic migrants, who top the charts of almost every investment migration program on offer globally. Canada’s own investor visa program was also hugely popular among Chinese and Hong Kong citizens but was discontinued in 2014 due to the government’s view that it cheapened Canadian residency and there was little evidence of a positive economic impact from such investment.
The United States’ EB-5 program, the most popular in the world among Chinese investment migrants, is experiencing its own scrutiny from lawmakers. The program was just narrowly extended for another six months and is expected to undergo a drastic overhaul.