The fifth edition of the annual CBI Index has been published by the Professional Wealth Management magazine (PWM) – a publication by the Financial Times. The report is considered the industry’s most comprehensive and reliable tool in the comparison of the world’s Citizenship by Investment (CBI) Programmes, an initiative that grants applicants with citizenship once they make a qualifying investment.
The index uses nine pillars as measurement that reflect investors priorities. These pillars are Freedom of Movement, Standard of Living, Minimum Investment Outlay, Mandatory Travel and/or Residence, Citizenship Timeline, Ease of Processing, Due Diligence, Family and Certainty of Product.
The CBI industry has witnessed a surge in interest over the last year as investors scrambled to seek out solutions to the challenges posed by the pandemic. With global travel restrictions impacting business and lifestyle, the industry saw a shift in demographics seeking out CBI as a viable solution. Significantly, a growing number of American investors began to acknowledge the benefits of acquiring a second citizenship particularly with the decline in passport power leaving individuals and families with limited travel opportunities.
“Both private banks and law firms report increased interest among clients seeking new citizenships and passports since the advent of the pandemic. Wealthy investors, say, commentators, only began to appreciate mobility once it was abruptly withdrawn due to Covid,” remarked Yuri Bender, the Editor-in-Chief of PWM.
Aside from accessing increased travel freedom, the potential introduction of a wealth tax has also led to many Americans seeking out legitimate means to diversifying their financial assets. With many countries considering a wealth tax as a solution to the economic downturn caused by the pandemic, high net-worth individuals must move fast if they hope to protect themselves from hefty taxation.
Whether related or not, it’s also undeniable that US citizenship renunciations are also on the rise with data showing that there has been a 200% increase in Q2 of this year compared to Q1. There are plenty of driving factors leading Americans to renounce citizenship, from concerns on the country’s future to the citizenship-based taxation that requires Americans living abroad to continue to paying tax in their native home.
According to a study conducted by CS Global Partners, a world-leading investment migration firm specialising in citizenship by investment, the pandemic has fuelled interest in CBI Programmes for Americans.
“We have seen a 42% increase from previous years to last year in terms of interest from the U.S,” Micha Emmett, CEO of CS Global Partners, recently told CBS. “The number one reason people cited was a better life for their families.”
The Caribbean comes out on top
Once again, the Caribbean dominated the 2021 CBI Index securing all five slots with Dominica and St Kitts and Nevis jointly tied in first place followed by Grenada, St Lucia and Antigua and Barbuda.
For Dominica, this will mark the fifth consecutive year it has been ranked as offering the world’s best route to second citizenship. The island offers one of the longest-standing and affordable programmes on the market, receiving top marks for six out of nine pillars.
“At 28 years old and with a track record of good governance, the Dominica CBI Programme has led the way in providing clarity as to how CBI funds are used, this year earmarking US$370m for the construction of an international airport. Furthermore, 2215 applications were approved in the 2019/2020 fiscal year (which runs from 1 July to 30 June) — showing strong interest even amid the Covid-19 pandemic,” the report noted.
For St Kitts and Nevis, the 2021 CBI Index is the first time the dual-island nation has been recognised as offering the industry’s best Citizenship by Investment Programme. For the second consecutive year, the programme is the only one to receive top marks for its Citizenship Timeline. Investors who choose St Kitts and Nevis can obtain citizenship within 60 days or as little as 45 days via the programme’s fast-track route, granted that they pass the necessary due diligence checks.
The 2021 CBI Index states: “St Kitts and Nevis remains the CBI nation with the fastest processing time and is the Caribbean country with the largest visa-free or visa-on-arrival offering. This year, St Kitts and Nevis also achieves a perfect score in the Family Pillar, thanks to changes allowing siblings to be included in an application.”
Read full report: www.cbiindex.com/reports