Projeto de Investigação:
Chinese Golden Visa migrants – a comparison between Portugal and Hungary
Golden Visa Programs have thrived in the EU for a while now, allowing third- national citizens to acquire residence permits or citizenship in exchange of a financial investment. Two EU countries in which these programs have been recently most popular are Portugal (Residence Permit for Investment Activity – since 2012) and Hungary (i.e., Hungarian Residency Bond Program - 2013-2017). Among the main applicants, Chinese citizens are those who benefit most from these programs. Contrary to the view that Golden Visa schemes are mostly determined by financial and economic-led motivations, this paper aims to highlight how Chinese investors in Portugal and Hungary are (also) driven by lifestyle and educational motivations for their children, in asking for these residence permits. Our observation field will be multi-sited in those regions where these citizens are mostly represented - Lisbon and Budapest metropolitan areas -, in order to obtain a comparative cross-national approach. Using in-depth interviews to Chinese Golden Visa applicants established in both cities, we will explore how their narratives contain non-material ideals, and a desire for a more relaxed and ecological lifestyle, as well as better educational opportunities for their children in a cosmopolitan Western country. These non-materialist motivations contrast and challenge possible instrumental and economic reasons behind residency through investment programs. We then sustain that Chinese citizens can uncover more complex set of motivations applying for Golden Visa schemes, since they search for reproduction of their high-middle class privileges while settling down in better lifestyle environments abroad.