By Marta Lillo
When immigration agent Henry Fan finished university, his first job offer was as a document assistant for a Chinese immigration agency. He agreed to see if he “could do a good job.”
More than 20 years later, he is CEO and co-founder of Globevisa, a leading global migration agency with 37 offices worldwide, helping clients with their applications for more than 100 investor visa programs and serving clients from 96 countries or regions.
Based in Hong Kong SAR, Fan takes pride in his firm’s “steady development,” arguing that providing high-quality service in compliance with regulation is a better, sustainable business plan than reckless growth.
“Of course, we want to make profits like any firm, but we always play safe. We never risk our reputation or even our firm for reckless pursuit of revenues.”
He also points out that simple facts and numbers are paramount in helping clients choose to apply for an investor visa.
“I will make it very clear that certain things are within our reach, for example, suitable personalized recommendations after evaluation, the standard of our services, the preparation of documents, etc. But I will also tell our clients in advance that change in immigration policy is frequent and always comes unexpected (…). We are not telling them fairy tales.”
RCBI INDUSTRY TO CONTINUE GROWING
Fan has been in the investment immigration business since the early 2000s and has seen plenty come and go. He started Globevisa with co-founder Melvin Sun in 2007 in Beijing.
“In the past, before 2018, one had to get a license to run an immigration agency, and it’s difficult to get one. To make things easier, we first worked with other companies with the immigration license and finally got ours in 2007.”
At the time, investment immigration was becoming popular, and visa programs were more economical and open to larger numbers of applicants, he reflects.
“But it’s been 20 years; traditional immigrant countries have received enough money and people, so it makes sense to raise the threshold and tighten the quota.”
He and his team initially focused on the Canadian immigrant investor program until the country shut it down. The move forced him to look elsewhere. As he opened services to more programs available then, he realized there was a business opportunity. That’s how Globevisa’s multi-market visa program offer, or “Supermarket Model” as Fan calls it, came to be.
The industry’s evolution also encouraged him to move headquarters to Singapore and open more offices.
“Singapore is actually a huge market for both outbound and inbound immigration,” he explains. “We need globalized talents who could truly help our clients wherever they come from. We find Singapore to be the best place to find such talents, who can immerse into our corporate culture and at the same time provide world-class services to clients.”
Today, Globevisa has 19 firms in mainland China, seven in Southeast Asia, five in the Middle East, five in Europe, and two more in Vancouver, Canada, and Brisbane, Australia.
A GLOBAL “SUPERMARKET” OF INVESTOR VISA OPTIONS
The firm’s multi-visa model provides more than 100 program alternatives, and clients access customized selections based on their needs, whether relocating their business to serve a new market or securing their children’s education. The offer includes both traditional and more recent programs in Australia, Canada, Europe, Japan, Latin America, New Zealand, Southeast Asia, South Korea, and the United States, among others.
Some possibilities are more lucrative, while others depend on client needs. “Our aim is to provide clients with the best choice, not the most expensive choice,” Fan insists. “Usually, the non-lucrative ones are not commonplace in the market. We won’t compromise clients’ success, so we still decide to have a whole team to support the operation of such programs, which further drives down the revenue. That’s why we charge a higher price for such non-lucrative programs. Even for the lucrative programs, because we are the largest RCBI firm in terms of client volume (…) Globevisa clients’ current first options are the golden visa programs in Greece and Portugal and the U.S. EB-5 investor visa program.”
The immigration specialist expects competition in the RCBI industry to increase as countries with investor visas search for new talent and entrepreneurs. “I expect that in the future, residence requirements and financial contributions will be the two things destination countries look for.”
HELPING INVESTORS “MAKE THE MOVE”
As the immigration industry changed in the past two decades, so did investor preferences. Clients now prefer cheaper, more accessible alternatives. But a fundamental principle remains, according to Fan: it’s always good to have a plan B.
“The landscape is changing as those so-called ideal immigration destinations are raising their threshold, and clients begin to switch to other easier and cheaper options. Although most people still seek residence in those powerful countries, they realize it’s better to have a plan B, so they turn to Europe and other areas to secure a much easier investor visa.”
However, he notes that choosing an investment visa program is not the real issue for clients but rather “the determination to make the move,” particularly for Chinese investors.
“The money that makes people capable of considering investment immigration is the same money that keeps them here,” he explains. “This makes a very special group of immigrants who just want to secure a resident status but never want to leave their home country, mainly entrepreneurs. And this mindset gives birth to a special group of mother and children immigrants; the mother accompanies her children to study abroad, while the father stays in China to make more money to support the family.”
As Fan continues expanding the business by exploring new programs and opportunities, he believes that the key to success will remain in understanding these intricacies and helping clients make transformative changes while finding the right RCBI fit.
“What we’re really doing is giving people more choices. This helps change their lives in big ways.”
DISCLAIMER: The views expressed in this article are solely the views of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the publisher, its employees. or its affiliates. The information found on this website is intended to be general information; it is not legal or financial advice. Specific legal or financial advice can only be given by a licensed professional with full knowledge of all the facts and circumstances of your particular situation. You should seek consultation with legal, immigration, and financial experts prior to participating in the EB-5 program Posting a question on this website does not create an attorney-client relationship. All questions you post will be available to the public; do not include confidential information in your question.