The jury may have gone out permanently on the old question of whether money can buy happiness, but that hasn’t stopped wealthy Chinese families from trying. There is a growing trend among China’s richest to use their wealth to move themselves and their families abroad. This is done primarily in the form of investment visas.
On the flip side, a number of countries are opening the doors to the estimated 1 million Chinese millionaires … provided they bring their money with them. It’s something of a bidding war in reverse, for which Australia wins the prize. All it takes is AU$5 million (US$4.65 million)of investment to apply for permanent residency.
Other countries are not nearly so greedy, although the different terms on offer make the price of a visa difficult to compare.
The U.S., for example, will take just $1 million for a green card, offering residence. That’s for an investment that generates 10 jobs for at least two years, although under the so-called EB-5 program, investment in a public development project can be a less-risky substitute. This figure halves if the investment is in a rural area or in an industry suffering from high employment.
We should drastically expand this program. It makes a lot more sense than importing millions of poverty-stricken, illiterate Mexicans and others from south of the border.