How the War in Israel and Gaza is Impacting Investment Migration

After a long period of relative calm, the oldest conflict in the Middle East surged back into prominence. The IM Yearbook asked what impact the Israel- Hamas conflict has on investment migration.

In 2023, the Israel-Hamas conflict reverberated across the Middle East. Despite the grim toll of lives lost, some commentators argue that this moment marks the region’s best opportunity for peace in decades. Yet, paradoxically, it also presents the highest risk of the conflict escalating uncontrollably. While it is unclear which path it will take, the IM Yearbook has gathered diverse perspectives on how this conflict impacts investment migration.

Conflict and Migration

Geopolitical instability and conflict have historically triggered migration and stand as fundamental catalysts for investment migration. This time is no exception, asserts Manpreet Kataria, Managing Partner of Alpha Immigration Associates, situated in the UAE.

“We haven’t experienced an immediate impact – positive or negative – from the Israel-Hamas conflict but we expect increased numbers of Palestinian applications over the long term. As of now, the immediate focus of Palestinians is on survival and helping their family back home,” he says.

“With the preference given to Dual nationals for evacuation during the conflict, a major awareness is expected to arise in the Middle East. Anyone living in the conflict zone or in a place where a conflict is anticipated would definitely take this into account and get a second residency or citizenship to safeguard themselves and their families,” he adds.

No Safe Place

Meanwhile, the conflict’s ripple effects have reached neighbouring countries. For instance, it prompted Iran-aligned armed groups to terminate a nearly year-long unilateral truce with US forces in Iraq and Syria. Rawa Kamal Ahmed, Immigration Department Manager of Moonline Travel and Trade in Iraq, describes the population in the region as “more stressed than anywhere else in the world.”

Ahmed notes a surge in requests for citizenship and residency through investment, a trend expected to persist in the foreseeable future as the conflict has instilled a new level of fear among the young. “Sadly, the new generation believes, like previous generations, that Iraq will never be a safe place,” he adds.

Business Relocation

Elsewhere, immigration specialists have observed a surge in interest for residency options from Israelis. Cyprus has become a key destination as the island’s proximity, with just under an hour of flight time from Israel, has historically attracted a sizable Israeli community. Chriso Savva, Director of Chriso Savva LLC, underscores that not only are many Israelis pursuing residency permits in Cyprus, but they are also increasingly moving their businesses to the island.

Amid an already tense global landscape, the war’s impact has extended to far-off continents, fostering divisive rifts that transcend mere pro-Israel or pro-Palestinian sentiments. Antisemitism is resurging, and cities spanning from London to Kuala Lumpur have witnessed pro-Palestinian demonstrations.

Ron Klasko, Managing Partner of Klasko Immigration Law, stresses that the recent political shifts and responses to conflicts in the Middle East have influenced investment migration trends in the US. “Unfortunately, many American citizens, especially Jewish people, have safety and security concerns. This has led to increasing interest for third country citizenship or residence,” Klasko says. In response to this demand, Klasko co-founded Exodus Migration LLC, dedicated to guiding individuals and families in identifying suitable destinations for temporary or permanent relocation based on their specific needs and circumstances.

Uncertain Future

Towards the close of 2023, no one knew when or how the war will end, and it is impossible to predict. What seemed certain though is that the longer the war plays out, the greater the potential for wider consequences well beyond the Israeli or Palestinian borders. Optimists hoped that the Palestinian Authority – seen as more moderate than Hamas – could emerge strengthened, and Israel could re-commit itself to peace talks. But these days optimism is in short supply. The toll it has exacted is stark: thousands of lives lost, hundreds of thousands displaced, with many lacking a place to call home once the conflict ceases. These consequences will leave profound wounds etched into the fabric of 2024.

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