New research from Alan Gamlen compares and critiques the use of ‘Immigrant Investor Programs’ for state development

In a new article, Alan Gamlen and international colleagues have called for a set of principles to ensure well-designed and well-run migration schemes that rely on investment and economic development.

Increasingly, nation states are using ‘Immigrant Investor Programs’ (IIPs) to attract the global wealthy as residents and citizens. States seek to raise capital for national development by attracting individuals with economic wealth or specific forms of human capital, in exchange for citizenship or residency. Other incentives include reduced taxes, fast-tracking complex immigration processes, visa-waivers, and insurance against political and economic risk in their countries of origin. This ‘transactional’ form of immigration has intensified, as states seek new ways to raise capital as they rely on migration for economic and demographic development.

IIPs raise interesting and complex questions about how citizenship and migration are understood in an age of global capital. In a new article in the journal Global Policy, MMIC Portfolio Lead Alan Gamlen and his colleagues from Oxford and Stanford, examine these migration programs and recommend key principles to ensure they well-designed and well-run. Importantly, this research seeks to understand the increasingly strong link between migration policy and economic development and explores ways to improve the management of these programs.

This paper suggests an alternative model to improve the potential of immigrant investment for economic and social development. Gamlen and colleagues call for immigrant investment to be pooled and managed in a separate fund, from which resources could be used for investment that achieves positive and sustaining development. This ‘Immigrant Investment Fund’ model would allow these significant economic contributions to be strategically used for purposes that achieve both financial returns and clear public benefits. This model also offers a strong opportunity to present the economic and social benefits of immigration and will help challenge unfounded anti-immigrant sentiment.

This research continues Alan’s long interest in examining how migration and diversity is governed and the impact population movement has on societies, economies and the environment. Click here to find out more about Alan’s research, including current projects and recent publications.