A report by Hong Kong’s Oriental Daily News has revealed how countries like South Africa, Portugal and Spain have become popular amongst Chinese investor immigrants as well as corrupt officials on the run.
Fugitives involved in economic crimes have been issued an ultimatum by the Chinese government, asking them to turn themselves in by the 1st of December if they wanted leniency. The fugitives include about 18,000 government officials who left their posts and transferred their assets abroad by immigrating to another country in order to escape China’s anti-graft campaign.
According to the newspaper, the number of Chinese nationals moving to South Africa has been increasing in recent years, averaging about ten thousand every year. “Investment in South Africa offers better returns than in China,” explains Denny Ko of Metropolis Consulting.
South Africa offers foreign nationals residency in return for a minimum investment of two million rand (US$180,100). After five years of residence in the country, a person can apply for citizenship.
After the economic downturn in Europe, Portugal and Spain also launched similar immigration programs in 2012 and 2013, respectively, to attract foreign investment.
Spain offers residency to investors who become stakeholders in Spanish companies or invest in government bonds. Residency permits in Spain are also offered to immigrants who start new businesses and deposit substantial amount of money in Spanish banks.
On the other hand, Portugal offers residency to investors who purchase real estate worth a minimum of €500,000 (US$640,250) and hold on to it for at least five years. Portuguese government says that 80% of the 894 families who were given residency under the investment program between October 2012 and May 2014 were Chinese nationals.
People who invest in properties in the Iberian Peninsula are unlikely to suffer any loss since prices have hit rock bottom, says Ho Lok-sang, head of the Department of Economics at Lingnan University, Hong Kong.
The Goldmax Immigration Consulting Company states that it has a seen a 20% increase in the number of applicants for Portugal and Spain. “€500,000 is about 4.3 million yuan. A lot of people from the middle class can afford it,” says Margaret Chau from Goldmax Immigration.