Cyprus, Malta and the UK benefit from UHNW Syrian immigration

Date: 21 Oct 2015

Bumblebee Design

Rahul Batra, partner and head of business immigration group at Hudson McKenzie, London-based immigration lawyers, says many super-rich who fled Syria apply for the accelerated economic citizenship programmes in southern Europe although the UK remains a preferred destination.

How does the Syrian crisis affect the private client industry and your work with UHNW?

We have seen a lot of interest from Syrian nationals looking to apply for investor and entrepreneur visas. These UHNW individuals are either based in the UAE on residence permits that are due to expire soon or are unable to return to Syria due to the ongoing conflict. This large movement trend is going to continue for the foreseeable future, which ultimately means more work for immigration advisors in the UK.

Do UHNW individuals tend to leave conflict areas or do they stay?

In my experience, the first reaction for UHNW individuals is to leave war-torn countries in search of a safe haven like the UK. This is especially true when seeking safety for spouses and children.

Where are Middle Eastern UHNWs re-settling?

We are seeing increased demand from UHNW individuals who want to apply for citizenship programmes for countries like Malta and Cyprus,. They offer accelerated programmes with citizenship within a relatively short span of time. The UK, however, remains a preferred destination.

Tell us about some of your cases of conflict-immigration?

We have been assisting several clients from Syria with their Tier 1 (Investor) and Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) applications. Although their preferred route is to claim asylum, we always recommend applying for a Tier 1 visa if the applicants have the necessary funds in their bank account. This trend is continuing as we see more and more Syrian nationals coming forward to gain UK residency either with the asylum route or Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa.