Chinese are big customers for schemes selling foreign residency
Tang Shougang is one of a generation of young Chinese who seem to have it all. Aged just 35, Mr. Tang (not his real name) has a well-paid job for a tech firm, and his wife owns a successful shop. They have two young sons, two cars and an apartment in downtown Shanghai worth a fortune. One perk enjoyed by others of their class, however, eludes them: a passport or long-term residents’ visa for a country other than China. Ideally, they would like a green card that makes it easier to live, work and educate their children in America. That looks difficult, so the Tangs are pondering other options.
A whole industry has grown in China to help them choose. About a hundred countries around the world have schemes that offer residence—a “golden visa”—in return for a big investment from the applicant. A dozen or so of these go further, and also offer a passport, in effect selling citizenship. By far the biggest users of these “residence or citizenship by investment” (rcbi) schemes are Chinese. Hundreds of businesses compete to help them navigate the labyrinthine procedures. They usually offer other services as well, such as help with applications for student visas.
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