The next time the world's rich are forced to block, they want to escape to a secluded and sunny beach. Or maybe to New Zealand, one of the few countries that have eliminated Covid-19.
You are of course willing to pay for the privilege.
You can turn to programs that guarantee citizenship or residence in exchange for investment in the host country, using specialist companies such as Henley & Partners, the world's largest citizenship and residence consultancy. With the continuing risk of viral infections and sudden locks, the company is helping people with deep pockets to gain access to a safe haven.
For example, you can acquire the right to live, work, and study in New Zealand if you part with NZ $ 3 million (USD 2 million) or NZ $ 10 million, depending on the type of investor visa You decide. Around 1.2 million euros ($ 1.4 million), including a property purchase, are granted citizenship of a married couple in Malta.
"Now you see: let's actually implement the emergency plan," said Henley's sales manager Dominic Volek of his potential customers. "That's why we've now seen quite a surge, not only with inquiries, but also with the families who actually sign up and say: & # 39; let's start the process. & # 39;"
New requests increased 49% in the first four months of this year compared to the same period in 2019, the company said. Those wishing to apply for new citizenship or residence rights increased by 22%.
The rich are not only interested in Caribbean islands, where they can isolate themselves on sandy beaches. They look to Australia and New Zealand, countries that have been impressed with their handling of Covid-19.
Nadine Goldfoot, managing partner of Fragomen law firm, said the pandemic had prompted wealthy people to act. "What is becoming more and more important in the people's selection process is how the country fared during the pandemic and how the government did it," she said.
In addition, according to Henley, people see moving as both an asset management tool and a way to travel without a visa. Interest in Portugal's residence-by-investment program has increased in recent months, attracting customers who want to invest in the country's stable real estate market and who want to benefit from the relatively small number of corona viruses.
Of course, even the richest people in the world cannot immediately withdraw from quarantines and travel bans. Obtaining second passports or residence rights takes time – at least three months for Caribbean programs and much longer for programs in the European Union.
Nevertheless, Henley is growing, even if travel-related companies suffer. The company recently opened an office in Nigeria and will shortly open another in India, where growing virus cases and tensions along the border with China have increased the number of wealthy Indians planning to flee.
Given that the virus and the associated locks "pose a risk that people will live with for the time being, they want to be somewhere that is a manageable experience," said Fragomen's Goldfoot.
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and published from a syndicated feed.)