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128,000 HNWIs Relocate in 2024: Here Are the Top 5 Golden Visa Programs

128,000 HNWIs Relocate in 2024: Here Are the Top 5 Golden Visa Programs

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  • Post last modified:April 26, 2024

In 2024, a groundbreaking 128,000 high-net-worth individuals are expected to relocate globally, seeking new opportunities and lifestyles in different countries, according to Henley & Partners. The increasing number of wealthy people moving to other countries highlights the growing trend of ‘Golden Visas’ programs that offer residency in exchange for investment.

Due to the increasing demand from HNWIs, some countries, like Portugal, have recently changed their residency requirements to exclude real estate investment as an eligible pathway. However, foreign investors can still obtain citizenship by investing in government-approved investment funds. Meanwhile, countries like the UAE and Hungary have also introduced similar investment residency policies, reflecting a broader trend towards attracting foreign capital through residency offers.

Top 5 Investment Residency Programs

Henley & Partners’s newly published index evaluates programs based on factors such as national reputation, quality of life, taxation, visa-free travel, application processing time, due diligence, investment requirements, total cost, duration to citizenship, and citizenship requirements. Portugal leads the rankings with a score of 75, closely followed by Austria and Greece, both scoring 73. The top ten include Switzerland, Italy, the UK, Canada, Spain, Luxembourg, and the UAE.

Europe dominates the list because its programs offer relatively easy paths to citizenship, visa-free travel across the EU, and lower costs for starting businesses or living locally. This highlighted that European investment residency programs continue to dominate globally, allowing HNWI migrants to join leading economies and mitigate country-specific risks. Here is a close look at the top five countries on the list:

1st: Portugal

Portugal - Squadron Golden Visa Program
Portugal – Squadron Golden Visa Program


Portugal’s Golden Residence Permit Program is the top choice for migrating investors, scoring 75 out of 100. This program is particularly attractive due to its diverse investment options and relatively straightforward path to residency and eventual citizenship. Since October last year, the focus has shifted from real estate to investments in local businesses and projects. Investors can apply for permanent residency after five years and citizenship after six, offering a clear pathway to becoming part of the European Union.

2nd: Austria, Greece

Austria Greece Golden Visa Program
Austria Greece Golden Visa Program


Both Austria and Greece scored 73, tying for second place. Austria’s Residence Program targets HNWIs by setting strict yet rewarding criteria. Key requirements for applicants include having a minimum of EUR 40,000 in liquid funds, proficiency in the German language, securing permanent accommodation, and obtaining private healthcare insurance. These prerequisites ensure that participants are well-prepared to integrate into and contribute to Austrian society while enjoying the benefits of residency and potential citizenship.

Greece Golden Visa Program
Greece Golden Visa Program


On the other hand, Greece’s Golden Visa Program provides a relatively cost-effective investment threshold (which requests a minimum real estate investment of EUR 250,000) and is famous for its simplicity and access to the Schengen Zone.

3rd: Switzerland

Switzerland’s program, which scored 72, is tailored for affluent individuals who can benefit significantly from Switzerland’s fiscal advantages and high standard of living. The stability, security, and prestige of Swiss residency continue to make it a top draw for HNWI migrants.

4th: Italy, UK

Italy Squadron Golden Visa Program
Italy Squadron Golden Visa Program


Italy and the UK, each scoring 71, share the fourth position. Italy’s Residence by Investment Program offers an attractive lifestyle for those who invest in the country. The most accessible option involves a minimum investment of EUR 250,000 in an innovative startup, appealing to those looking to support emerging Italian businesses. However, the most popular choice among investors is a philanthropic contribution of over EUR1,000,000, demonstrating a commitment to social and cultural projects within Italy.

The UK’s Innovator Founder Visa is specifically designed for entrepreneurs with a viable business idea ready to develop within the UK. This program offers a clear route to residency and potential citizenship, contingent on the success of the business and its capacity for job creation. Notably, the Innovator Founder Visa has become more accessible as it no longer has a minimum investment requirement; this is a significant change from the previous Innovator Visa, which required applicants to invest at least £50,000. This adjustment aims to attract a broader spectrum of innovative entrepreneurs eager to contribute to the UK’s dynamic economy.

5th: Canada, Spain

Canada Squadron Golden Visa Program
Canada Squadron Golden Visa Program


Both Canada’s Start-Up Visa Program and Spain’s Residence by Investment Program, scoring 69, round out the top five. Canada’s program uniquely connects immigrants with Canadian investors to establish start-up businesses, fostering innovation and economic growth.

spain golden visa program
Spain Golden Visa Program


Spain’s program is favoured for its flexibility in investment options and lifestyle benefits, including access to healthcare and education systems and ease of travel within the Schengen Zone. However, Spain’s golden visa scheme is expected to be scrapped by the government soon.


As the demand for Golden Visas continues to rise, countries are tailoring their programs to meet the sophisticated needs of HNWIs, offering them a gateway to new economic opportunities and a stable future. This movement is reshaping individual lives and transforming host nations’ economic and cultural fabric, paving the way for a dynamic interplay of global wealth and mobility.

For more information on Golden Visa Programs, contact Squadron here