Advance Blog

March 30, 2023
henley and partners

The Changing Investment Migration Landscape in Thailand

With the current global democratization of wealth, we are set to see the number of high-net-worth individuals (defined as those with net assets of USD 1 million or more) increase dramatically. As revealed in the Henley Private Wealth Migration Dashboard, from Europe to Asia, Australia, Africa, and the USA, the forecast high-net-worth growth by 2031 is astounding. Moreover, the investment landscape for wealthy individuals and families is evolving as investors seek to move away from the traditional assets and portfolio construction tenets that previous generations held dear. Thanks to this, financial advisors and bankers are seeing more interest in alternative assets — talk of cryptocurrencies, NFTs, vintage wine, and whisky funds is dominating the business news cycle as asset diversification becomes the name of the game.

Residence and citizenship diversification – A growing trend in volatile times
These days, the concept of investing in alternative residences and additional citizenships is well known among wealthy families around the globe, and increasing numbers are seeking to tap into this form of portfolio diversification. Global concerns such as climate change and the war in Europe are on the minds of many and hedging against future risk has become essential for investors and their families. Moreover, technology and the global pandemic have combined to reveal that working remotely — either from home or another country altogether — is more possible than ever. Because of this, freedom of mobility has become one of the top alternative assets money can buy.

On a macro level, these issues and trends are global. In Thailand, where the number of high-net-worth individuals is set to increase by 30% by 2031, clients are turning to residence and citizenship by investment for additional, country-specific reasons. Top of the list are economic uncertainty
and ever-present political concerns. Witnessing multiple constitutional changes and coups on a regular basis, Thais are an astoundingly resilient people — carrying on and managing to come to terms with the upheaval in their daily lives.

Millennials and zoomers – Extending their horizons
Another interesting trend we are seeing is a generational divide as the next generation of Thais look to expand their horizons and seek opportunity abroad through education and work experience. It’s no surprise that those who study and work overseas, at least for a period of time, enjoy far better financial prospects, both abroad and at home in Thailand when they return. And with technology enabling the youth to see what’s happening across the world with the click of a button, attitudes towards international exposure and opportunity are evolving positively.

It’s important to note that while alternative residence and citizenship certainly afford families the ability to pack up and move immediately should the need arise, the majority of individuals adding mobility to their portfolios are doing so as a hedge against future risk — not as a means to bolt for greener pastures. Domicile diversification has become a must-have for families looking to unlock their global access while reducing exposure to political turmoil, poor governance, and crime. However, the importance lies in the ability to use an alternative passport or residence when the need arises.

Europe – Abiding allure for wealthy Thai families
So where are Thai families setting their sights when considering their alternatives? The answer is layered. When it comes to wealth planning for future generations, Europe is often a top choice, with its access to a high standard of living and premium education, healthcare, and financial systems. Europe is also a destination favored by retirees looking to settle in a warm, safe, and culturally diverse and tolerant environment. Greece, Malta, Italy, Portugal, Spain, and in recent years Türkiye are all viewed as top-notch ‘golden visa’ jurisdictions for retirement, and all have attractive real estate-linked investment migration options, enabling investors to unlock all the classic benefits of real estate assets while at the same time expanding the possibilities of where they and their family can live, study, conduct business, invest, and retire.

UAE – The most powerful millionaire magnet
When it comes to tax planning, many high-net-worth families are setting their sights on residence in the UAE, thanks to its attractive lifestyle benefits and highly favorable tax regime: no personal income, capital, net worth, or withholding tax (except for those levied in the domestic banking and oil sectors), and several double-tax treaties in place. The UAE saw the highest net inflow of high-net-worth individuals globally in 2022, with an impressive 4,000 US-dollar millionaires relocating to the country.
Caribbean – Island options with visa-free access to Europe

Finally, the highly appealing citizenship opportunities offered by the Caribbean island nations of Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, and St. Lucia all provide a great choice at competitive pricing. Processing times remain low in these jurisdictions, and all five passports offer visa-free access to the UK and come with the right of free movement in Europe’s Schengen Area, among many other destinations globally. The Caribbean citizenship by investment programs are viewed by many as the most efficient way to access the UK and Europe visa-free and are frequently the first option that high-net-worth individuals and families choose before going on to build their ultimate portfolios of complementary residences and citizenships, including further options in Europe and elsewhere.

Investment migration – A pathway to top-tier education
For families looking to provide better access to education for their children, many consider picking up a US, UK, Canadian, or Australian residence, as family members are included, so their children may attend university without the need to obtain a student visa. Additionally, residence permit holders have the right to work in the respective country without needing sponsorship — an important detail as it is difficult for newly-graduated foreigners to secure entry-level job sponsorship. Furthermore, although this varies by program, generally after five years of legal residence, you are eligible to apply for citizenship, thus opening the door to a lifetime of opportunity. For parents looking to secure the best education for their children, Henley & Partners Education offers expert, impartial advice and support in this regard, specializing in school and university placement around the world.

With volatility at an all-time high, and a plethora of investment migration opportunities to choose from around the globe, there has never been a better time for high-net-worth individuals and families to opt for alternative residence and citizenship. No matter the motivation for investing in this burgeoning asset class, it has become clear that domicile diversification is providing families with the ultimate advantage — freedom.

To find out more about investment migration programs, please reach out to Henley & Partners. As the pioneering firm and the global leader in residence and citizenship by investment, we are best placed to successfully serve international clients and partners interested in acquiring alternative residence and citizenship options.

Thomas Wong
Business Development at Henley & Partners

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