COVID-19 has affected the migration industry quite a bit.
Some countries shut off their programs. Others took the opposite approach and accepted greater investment demand.
Below, we’ll look at that demand. We’ll rank 2020’s top 10 migration programs by approval volume!
#1 – Turkey
It’s estimated that 13,300+ applicants were approved in 2020 for the Turkey Citizenship by Investment Program.
Now, the number isn’t official. The Turkish government only reports in non-frequent intervals. But when it does, the reports are accurate.
Therefore, consider the previous value an educated projection.
So far, the program’s performance has increased since 2018. At that time, Turkey decided to drop its investment requirements by 75%. To date, 9000+ applicants have received citizenship.
A Conservative Estimate
Something else to note is approval volume. On average, Turkey approved 1100+ applications each month (with fluctuations throughout the year).
This value is what contributes to the final estimate of 13,300.
Most of the data used in the projection comes in-light of pandemic restrictions. This indicates that the actual approval rates may be much higher than listed.
After all, applications volumes were rising steadily since 2018.
Also, obstacles to applying were much greater in the first ½ of 2020, which is where most of the data comes from.
Foreigner Property Sales
Turkey’s property sales to foreigners was very high in late 2020, compared to early 2020.
This further supports that the number of approved applicants may be much higher. In fact, 2020’s peak sales months were September and October. Each month registered around 5000 sales.
This is compared to early 2020’s peaks, which barely registered 4000 per month, and with a sharp drop off all the way to July.
#2 – EB-5 Program (United States)
The EB-5 program qualifies applicants in intervals. Here, we count approval as receiving an I-526 petition, which is when applicants get their US residency permit.
We count those, since the permits are similar in nature to golden visas provided by countries such as Greece or Portugal.
While ranking second, oddly enough, this has been the worst year for the program (since 2011). Only 2577 were approved in 2020. This is low by the program’s standards, but it still holds second place this year.
#3 – Dominica’s CIP
Dominica has fully disclosed its Citizenship by Investment figures in Parliament this year. Its 2020 figures are higher than 2019, putting it third.
2020 has seen the approval of 1896 applicants, while raising almost $500 million.
#4 – Thai Elite
Approval rates here have less to do with the program’s attractiveness.
Most who joined were foreigner residents unable to access the country during the pandemic. The only solution left for them was to sign up for Thai Elite.
The current estimate for approvals is at 1700 to 1800.
#5 – Australia’s BIIP
Similar to Thailand, the estimate for the Australia Significant Investor Visa is at 1700 to 1800 mail applicant approvals.
The program itself has a yearly cap of 7260 visas. That cap includes both main applicants and their families.
Normally, the program does reach its quota. But with border shutdowns this year, the BIIP only hit a total of 4420 visas (including dependents).
Who Belongs to the Other Five ?
They are as follows:
- Saint Kitts & Nevis CIP – estimated 1500 to 2500 main approvals
- Vanuatu – estimated 1400 to 1500 main approvals
- Portugal’s Golden Visa – 1182, representing a slight drop from 2019
- Spain’s Golden Visa – 845 main applicants, representing a 40% crash in approval rates
- Greek Golden Visa – 403 main applicants, representing an 89% crash in approval rates