The third edition of the prestigious annual report into citizenship by investment (CBI) programmes, titled the CBI Index was recently launched. Published by specialists at the Financial Times’ Professional Wealth Management magazine since 2017, the independent study ranks all active CBI programmes in the world based on seven pillars:
- freedom of movement;
- standard of living;
- minimum investment outlay;
- mandatory travel or residence;
- citizenship timeline;
- ease of processing;
- due diligence.
The report is an invaluable tool for applicants deciding on which citizenship programme best suits their needs whilst providing insight into how the economic citizenship industry operates and what changes are forecast for the near future.
The 2019 CBI Index revealed the Caribbean region to be a strong contender within the citizenship by investment industry with Dominica taking the number one spot for its affordability, efficiency and reliability. The Commonwealth country offers one of the most affordable programmes on the market for a single applicant. A necessary investment of USD 100,000 is required alongside any additional applicable fees and successful completion of security checks.
The Programme’s streamlined and straightforward processes have also been highlighted, combined with its reliable due diligence.
As the country operating one of the oldest programmes in the industry, Dominica has spent the last 26 years refining its offering much to the delight of reputable foreign investors. This makes it the third consecutive year in which Dominica is recognised as the world’s best offering for second citizenship by the FT Specialist report.
St Kitts and Nevis has improved its overall score by four points compared to the year before. This year, the dual-island nation performed well for its citizenship timeline which had previously been subjected to delays due to the higher than expected demand for the temporary Hurricane Relief Fund (HRF). Prime Minister Timothy Harris shortly replaced the HRF with the Sustainable Growth Fund which is now considered the most straightforward route to second citizenship in St Kitts and Nevis.
The islands also achieved full marks for their Programme’s high due diligence standards, a consistent score since the first edition of the CBI Index two years ago. Since then, the Government of St Kitts and Nevis announced additional security measures for its CBI Programme, including the introduction of biometric fingerprinting and stricter escrow account rules.
One of the most important features stemming from a CBI Programme is the extent of international mobility a country’s passport may offer, should the applicant subsequently apply for one. St Kitts and Nevis achieved high scores for the freedom of movement it offers to its native and economic citizens. This is indicative of the well-invested and consistent efforts made by the islands’ Foreign Minister Mark Brantley to establish various visa waivers across the globe.
Thanks to its convenient lack of travel requirements and affordability for applicants, St Lucia’s Citizenship by Investment Programme (CIP St Lucia) achieved top scores in this year’s CBI Index. The island offers one of the most inexpensive programmes within the industry.
Similar to other Caribbean CBI jurisdictions, St Lucia does not require its applicants to travel to the nation before, during or after obtaining citizenship.
Alongside its Caribbean neighbours, St Lucia scored well for the freedom of movement its passport holders could benefit from, with access to fifteen of the twenty business hubs selected for the study.
Caribbean Citizenship by Investment
The Caribbean has, yet again, topped this year’s CBI Index, and remains the strongest region for CBI. The FT Specialist verdict is that citizenship by Investment from Dominica, St Kitts and Nevis, Grenada, St Lucia or Antigua and Barbuda is considered the best in the world.
With five nations in the Caribbean offering a CBI programme, healthy competition is expected but the region is also keen on closer collaboration. Earlier last summer, Dominican Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit advocated for standardised CBI processes across the Caribbean. This would include CBI staff training in money laundering and uniform applications and legislation.
With a well-developed and experienced CBI infrastructure, cohesion and information sharing across the Caribbean can provide the region with a unique edge in the context of the wider investor immigration industry.
As the exclusive government-mandated programme promoter of Dominica, St Kitts and Nevis and St Lucia, CS Global Partners congratulates all three countries on their exceptional performances in this year’s CBI Index.
The full report is available for free download here.