Small yet unbeatable. It would appear Dominica is in a league of its own when it comes to its citizenship by investment programmes, with the country receiving widespread international recognition for its efforts and ethical stance, while investors swarm to apply for its citizenship. The small Caribbean island is adamant on upholding the highest industry standards and shares its experience with attendees of the 2018 International Real Estate and Investment Show in Abu Dhabi.
As one of the oldest Citizenship by Investment (CBI) programmes, established in 1993, the Commonwealth of Dominica now occupies the leading position in a growing economic citizenship sector, fuelled by more investors seeking new, international opportunities. The small Caribbean nation’s programme was recently declared, yet again, the world’s best in a special report by the Financial Times subsidiary Professional Wealth Management. Titled the 2018 CBI Index, it is the only comprehensive and independent ranking system that critically analyses and compares the 13 countries currently operating government-legislated CBI programmes around the world. Experts at FT’s PWM awarded Dominica perfect scores in five of the seven “pillars” measured, considered the most important factors from an investor’s perspective, according to independent researcher James McKay. Dominica excelled in areas like security and vetting procedures, minimum investment outlay, citizenship timeline, efficiency and undemanding travel or residence requirements.
“We stand out for delivering an affordable, yet secure and fast service,” believes Ambassador Emmanuel Nanthan – Head of Dominica’s Citizenship by Investment Unit. Nanthan goes on to explain that Dominica is an easy choice to make for smart investors: “The fact that we maintained our position as the world’s best CBI programme for the second year, despite regional and global challenges, demonstrates that investors trust us to deliver a flawless service.”
One major advantage that applicants from the Middle East appreciate is, indeed, the speed at which Dominica is capable to process applications, with citizenship typically approved in less than three months. Even when the demand is very high, there is a government regulation in place whereby, within three months of submission, the Citizenship by Investment Unit will notify the authorised person on behalf of the main applicant as to whether their application has been approved in principle or not, provided all the documentation and procedures had been fully complied with.
The investment thresholds for Dominica’s CBI start from US$100,000 for a single applicant, which is the most affordable option on the market. It is available in the form of a contribution to the Economic Diversification Fund (EDF) and offers the opportunity for investors to obtain second citizenship more conveniently and support the country’s economic development in the process. The second pathway to Dominican citizenship is an investment in designated real estate with a value of at least US$200,000. With top hotel brands like Marriott, Hilton, Kempinski, and other luxury resorts developing world-class accommodation for the growing eco-tourism trade, Dominica continues to attract investors able to combine entrepreneurship with practicality.
In exchange, successful applicants benefit from greater international mobility, new business opportunities, security and stability for their families. Since Dominican citizenship is for life and can be passed down to future generations, investors can be sure that their family legacy is future-proof. The country also has a favorable taxation environment with no inheritance, wealth, gift, foreign income or capital gains tax, while personal tax only applies if one resides and earns income in the country.
Undeniably, in a new era of interconnection, the demand for increased global mobility is skyrocketing. For the average international businessperson, travel is a vital component in the work environment. In order for economic and native citizens to benefit from these programmes, countries who offer this option must have an unwavering international presence. Dominica’s strong diplomatic relations has facilitated visa-free and visa-on-arrival travel to over 120 countries and territories including business hubs like London, Hong Kong, Singapore and the Schengen Zone. Less administrative hassle allows individuals to conduct business in a timely manner and appreciate the freedom that comes with travel.
Transparency of CBI funds usage also sets Dominica apart, with the government offering regular updates on the ways in which investors’ financial contributions are used to improve the lives on the island, such as commissioning 5,000 new homes, creating over 1000 jobs, or funding the National Health Insurance pilot that helps children in critical medical conditions get the necessary treatment. Holders of the Dominican economic citizenship can therefore be proud that their investment goes beyond their own benefit and eventually plays an important part of making their adoptive country a model for resilience, inclusivity and sustainability.
The Commonwealth island has won a myriad of awards, including Best Caribbean Citizenship Programme at the Russian Global Citizen Awards, but its global accolades and merits stretch beyond the logistical realm of the CBI Programme. Dominica’s ethos of a Global Community – the country’s CBI programme mantra – is what makes the island stand out from the rest. Known for its warm and welcoming nature, Dominica’s international presence and community can be felt worldwide, most notably for its efforts in becoming the “world’s first climate-resilient nation”, as pledged by Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit. The proposal received the backing of former US president Bill Clinton, the UK Government, and international organisations such as the World Bank. Earlier this year, the Commonwealth island launched the Climate Resilience Execution Agency of Dominica (CREAD) after 2017’s Hurricane Maria. The initiative was preceded by the announcement that CBI funds will subsidise the development of a geothermal plant, while National Geographic, CNN and many others applauded Dominica’s comprehensive ban on single-use plastic.
Aligned with its global mindset, applicants who invest in the nation contribute to the country’s prosperity and help small islands – and the rest of the world – better understand how to protect themselves from the grip of climate change. Despite understandable challenges posed by Hurricane Maria last year, applicants remained certain of the integrity and durability of their second citizenship and the process it involves. The programme’s strong due diligence framework, streamlined processing and exemplar reputation played a major role in keeping the CBI Unit running flawlessly regardless of external factors. Dominica’s Prime Minister, the Honourable Dr Roosevelt Skerrit, recently stated that his country “showed unfathomable resilience, and a consistent and diligent approach to service, resuming application processing for our citizenship programme within less than a week of the event.”
In order for a CBI programme to remain successful, it must continuously demonstrate a forward-thinking philosophy. Now more than ever, countries that offer citizenship by investment are taking heed of the growing demands of the market. As more jurisdictions begin to introduce their own versions of citizenship programmes, Dominica continues to show its ability in adapting with the times and remaining resilient. The island’s growing popularity with investors continues to solidify its place as the best citizenship programme in the world. And we can easily see the appeal for globally-minded families in the Middle East and beyond.
Source: Khaleej Times