Hongkongers' record-high immigration inquiries amid growing unrest prompt Irish developer to set up shop in city

By Cheryl Arcibalcheryl.arcibal@scmp.com / https://www.scmp.com/business/article/3031120/hongkongers-record-high-immigration-inquiries-amid-growing-unrest-prompts?utm_medium=partner&utm_campaign=contentexchange&utm_source=EdgeProp | October 8, 2019 5:24 AM SGT
Ireland's underserved property segments of nursing homes and social housing have opened up avenues for foreigners to qualify for the country's fast-track residency scheme, and wealthy Hongkongers are eyeing the investment scheme as the city reels from its worst political crisis.
The interest has been substantial enough for Irish developer Bartra Capital to set up shop in Hong Kong following record-high inquiries it received from Hongkongers about the immigration scheme when social unrest in the city started to escalate in July.
"In the last seven to eight weeks, I'd say I've met between 80 and 100 clients in Hong Kong," said James Hartshorn, director of Asia at Bartra. "Prior to that we had signed two to three Hong Kong clients."
Social housing segment is one investment scheme whereby foreigners can be granted the right to live and work in Ireland. Photo: Handout alt=Social housing segment is one investment scheme whereby foreigners can be granted the right to live and work in Ireland. Photo: Handout
Henry Chin, head of research for Asia-Pacific, Europe and the Middle East at CBRE, said that there is an opportunity for investors to specialise in the development of social and affordable housing considering that affordability is challenging in the Irish market.
"It is estimated that there will be a notable increase in the number of over 65-year-olds in the next decade. The market is already undersupplied in terms of nursing homes and this is only going to get more acute as the population ages. Clearly, investment in health care and nursing homes is a huge opportunity."
For a €1 million investment in nursing homes, Hongkongers may get the right to live and work in Ireland. Photo: Handout alt=For a €1 million investment in nursing homes, Hongkongers may get the right to live and work in Ireland. Photo: Handout
By 2021, the waiting list for nursing homes is likely to hit 10,000, while about 100,000 people are waiting for social housing.
Hartshorn said that Hongkongers have a variety of reasons for considering Ireland...