With more and more investors worldwide lapping up the concept of dual nationality, citizenship by investment (CBI) is a booming industry in many parts of the world now, and Caribbean nations are emerging as leaders in the sector. For second year in a row, the CBI Index has declared Dominica’s citizenship programme best in the world.
The 2018 CBI Index, a special report by Financial Times publication Professional Wealth Management (PWM), says the “expanding industry attracts more investors seeking greater mobility and business opportunities, often prompted by shifting global economic and political tensions”, according to a PR Newswire press release.
The CBI Index ranks the world’s active CBI programmes.
The 2018 CBI Index assessed a total of 13 CBI jurisdictions worldwide, and Dominica was found to be spearheading the industry. These 13 countries are Antigua and Barbuda, Austria, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Cyprus, Dominica, Grenada, Jordan, Malta, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, Turkey, and Vanuatu.
The CBI Index 2018 evaluated the CBI programmes against seven pillars (indicators) — Due Diligence, Freedom of Movement, Standard of Living, Minimum Investment Outlay, Ease of Processing, Citizenship Timeline, and Mandatory Travel or Residence.
Dominica scores perfect marks in five of them to get the top rank, with CBI pioneer St Kitts and Nevis finishing a close second, says the report.
According to the PWM report, investors across the world — especially those from China, Russia, the Middle East and Africa — are attracted to the notion of dual nationality. This trend, says the report, is likely to grow among “global families affected by socio-political instability in their home countries, or international businesspersons seeking expanded visa-free travel and business opportunities”.
The CBI Index was created by James McKay, an independent research consultant who considers the seven aforesaid pillars “the most critical elements of an investor’s decision-making process when choosing their second citizenship”. Quoting McKay, the PR Newswire release says: “The CBI Index is rapidly becoming the leading tool for investors to accurately measure the performance and appeal of global citizenship by investment programmes.”
In 2017 too, when the PWM came out with the first CBI Index, Dominica was declared the world’s best economic citizenship jurisdiction. Despite last year’s devastating hurricane season, the tiny Caribbean nation continues to lead the pack “due to maintained high levels of timeliness and simplicity in process, an affordable investment threshold, and a robust due diligence framework”.
The CBI Index specifically mentions Dominica’s latest Styrofoam and plastic ban initiatives that earned it widespread international accolades, saying this displayed the country’s responsible side as a Global Community – “the exact mindset that guides the country’s leading CBI programme”. Dominica is also found to make best use of its CBI funds — to improve the lives of its citizens. The country recently announced construction of 5,000 new homes, financed entirely by the CBI programme.
The CBI Index places special emphasis on due diligence, explained as “the security and vetting procedures involved in each CBI programme which ensure that morally questionable characters are excluded”.
The CBI programme of Antigua and Barbuda was recently in news after it came to light that fugitive Indian diamontaire Mehul Choksi, prime accused in the Punjab National Bank fraud case, had obtained Antiguan citizenship and passport after investing in the country’s CBI programme. Like in 2017, the 2018 CBI Index too found Antigua and Barbuda emerging as the region’s top scorer when it comes to freedom of movement, which is one of the main seven pillars. In July 2018, the report says, Antigua and Barbuda’s Lower House of Parliament after passing an amendment to the Antigua and Barbuda Citizenship by Investment Act allowing receipt of payments from investors via cryptocurrency.
What is CBI Index?
A comprehensive study, the only one in the world, into the jurisdictions offering citizenship by investment, the CBI Index follows a ranking system designed to measure the performance and appeal of all CBI programmes using seven key indicators. First published in 2017 by Professional Wealth Management, a Financial Times publication, the CBI Index is an independent special annual report.