Wealthy people with a high net worth request for citizenship in different countries for many reasons. Most of the people from unstable countries look to secure their assets from social and political unrest and economic instability in their home country. Broadening opportunities for business, travel, and education for families, providing security, and becoming global are the most cited reasons when it comes to seeking citizenship elsewhere. A long waiting list for US and UK resident visas is among many reasons why these destinations have been losing their traditional appeal. Many seekers, especially wealthy ones, turn to citizenship by investment offered by various countries. The majority of CBI applications are directed to Caribbean countries like Dominica, Saint Kitts and Nevis and Grenada in the Caribbean.
Every other nation from the Middle East countries like Lebanon, Syria, Iran, etc talks about contingency planning in case if the situation escalates into a war or another insecurity in their home town. CBI is opening doors with investor visas, offering investment projects and citizenship facilitation, and in return get assets from high net worth individuals and families transferred to inject in developing these countries.
The Caribbean Index is a perfect instrument to weigh different Caribbean Citizenship by Investment programs and select the one that suits investors’ requirements, with a very practical, authentic, and relevant horde of information. This index rates the top 13 countries with Citizenship by Investment programs and ranks them on several indicators called the seven pillars.
The first Citizenship by Investment Index was released in 2018. The CBI Index is a tool to evaluate different Citizenship by Investment programs offered worldwide and provides a comparative guide. It examines the citizenship programs of 13 different countries, i.e.
Considered the most reliable and user-friendly source of authentic information, the CBI Index highlights the key factors that shape the investor's inclination and its response by the CBI centers. The data relies on relevant sources like government circulars and memorandums, guidelines, official media and statistics, correspondence from government officials, and authorized representatives.
The CBI Index gives an overall score to each country included in the list for reference. Each country is awarded points and given an overall scorekeeping official letter of the law as a source. There are seven parameters to evaluate these CBI programs called the Seven Pillars. Here is a brief elaboration-
Pillar 1- Freedom of Movement-
This pillar calculates a country’s passport strength by the number of countries, especially the number of business centers around the world it facilitates travel to, without restrictions. Visa-free travel and visa on arrival are both included in this one. Business travel is the primary concern for aspiring global citizens. Free movement within and outside a country is a very important factor for a citizenship candidate. For this pillar of CBI Rank data is collected from the United Nations World Tourism Organization, UNWTO.
Pillar 2 – Standard of Living Freedom of Movement
This pillar evaluates the quality of life these 13 countries with citizenship by investment programs offer to its citizens, aka, the investor citizens. The data is gathered upon the UN’s Human Development Index (HDI). Each country’s latest GDP growth stat is taken into account along with FDI data to determine the present economic situation and growth potential of each jurisdiction offering CBI. This pillar also indicates the freedom and rights of a citizen to act and express without constrictions.
Pillar 3- Minimum Investment Outlay
It lays emphasis on how much amount is required to qualify for a CBI program of one’s choosing. The cost of applying increases with the number of dependants an applicant has. Also which options one chooses has a great bearing on the cost involved. This pillar evaluates investment requirements exclusive of minor fees one has to pay for, including due diligence, application, and processing fees. The highest rating is awarded to the territory with the lowest minimum investment requirement.
Pillar 4- Mandatory Travel or Residence
This pillar examines the residence and travel conditions that countries levy on applicants aspiring for citizenship including the consequences of fulfilling these requirements. It also considers the waiver of mandatory travel or residence after payment of huge fees. The best score is achieved by countries with minimal or no requirement on travel and residence.
Pillar 5- Citizenship Timeline
This pillar is discussed taking into consideration the opinions and experiences of agents and stakeholders who provide imminent assistance in determining the timeline or the duration of the whole process of investment citizenship. The key factor that most rely on is the fast track and rapid processing of these programs. Those that take an additional fee for fast track processing are also weighed as it provides certainty for applicants who are in urgent need of second citizenship.
Pillar 6- Ease of Processing
Since Citizenship by Investment calls for a lot of painstaking accumulation of documents, the effortlessness of the application process is a major consideration for applicants who are time-strapped. A smooth and hassle-free process can be greatly effective in generating more interest and willingness from investors. Programs with fewer requirements and simple straightforward procedures are given a higher score in the CBI Index.
Pillar 7- Due Diligence
This part focuses on how committed each nation is towards transparency and the effectiveness of the evaluation process for every candidate. The score is based on a country’s ability to collect information on and from applicants, like their source of funds as it’s the key point to counter illicit activities. Strict anti-terrorism and anti-money laundering legislatures also indicate the effectiveness of due diligence checks performed by the governments on each applicant.
|Country||Freedom of Movement||Standard of Living||Minimum Investment Outlay||Mandatory Travel/Resident||Citizenship Timeline||Ease of Processing||Due Diligence||Total Points70)*||%|
|Antigua & Barbuda||8||7||9||7||6||9||9||55||79|
|St Kitts & Nevis||8||6||9||10||10||9||10||62|
|Country Rank||Total Points||Percentage|
|St Kitts & Nevis||62||89|
|Antigua & Barbuda||55||79|
In all seven pillars, the highest score earners overall have been the Caribbean countries, namely- Dominica on 1st rank, St Kitts and Nevis on the 2nd, followed by Grenada with 3rd position and on 4th is St Lucia with following after Antigua and Barbuda on the 5th rank.
The scorecard reflects a wide disparity when it comes to the quality of life and freedom of movement pillars which indicate the European countries as better performers as compared to the Caribbean ones, but when it comes to mandatory residence, cost-effectiveness, timeline, procedural ease, due diligence, etc then the Caribbean countries win it by a huge margin.
In fact, the Caribbean countries are carrying their past success, performing well than before as in the case of Dominica which is the highest scorer in the CBI Index of 2019. St Kitts and Nevis are rising but there is definitely more scope for improvement. Other than the Caribbean nations, the best performing CBI program is that of Vanuatu’ DSP securing a safe 6th position.
For investors who are willing to move to Europe, Malta is a better option with Cyprus following it in the overall score. Austria too scored well in the first two pillars. Shifting to the Middle East, Turkey outruns Bulgaria for having a faster, economically beneficial, and straightforward program as compared to Bulgaria. Cambodia and Jordan have limited travel with an average quality of life. Austria on the other hand is good in terms of quality of life and travel benefits, but the country has still to streamline its processing, due diligence, and reliability.
Jordan and Turkey being the new entrants in the list are relatively new programs and are in the early stages of development hence more amendments are expected in the future for a glitch-free enhanced performance.
The CBI Rank is designed to concentrate key factors that make one CBI program more appealing than others. Assessing all operational citizenship by investment programs of the world, the index is meticulous when it comes to relying on data that comes from the official account, representatives, and media of the countries. It brings value on the table while considering favorable citizenship by investment option for prospective candidates.
Facilitating an easier decision making process for individuals, while appraising the programs on the basis of a thorough and efficient mechanism, the list involves complex analysis, meticulous statistics, and comparative investigation to arrive at an appropriate rating mechanism for the seven pillars discussed above.
Citizenship by Investment industry is rapidly increasing its growth potential as more and more wealthy entrepreneurs, individuals and families are opting for it. Of course, significant prominence should be laid on the meticulous inspection of each applicant and their source of income before and after the procedure is finalized.