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World's Best Citizenship and Residence by Investment Programs - 2021

Citizenship by investment

The top destinations in the Global Residence Programs Index (GRPI) are announced for 2021. The study includes systematic analysis and comprehensive benchmarking of the world’s most notable investment migration programs.

Released by the leading international residence and citizenship advisory firm Henley & Partners, the Investment Migration Programs 2021 provides a uniquely valuable standard research and analysis data source for the most reputable investment migration programs currently available. This is only procurable by a firm with the reach and insight of Henley & Partners, the global leader in investment migration advisory service provision.

The 12 citizenship-by-investment (CBI) programs and 24 residence-by-investment (RBI) programs are appraised by a panel of distinguished independent experts — including leading academic researchers, economists, expert immigration and citizenship lawyers, and other country risk and industry specialists — who consider a broad range of factors pertaining to each program. The result is an annual global overview of the investment migration industry and a ranking of all the prominent RCBI country programs currently on offer. This is highly relevant to international investors and entrepreneurs looking to hedge volatility and create short-term value as well as long-term yield through enhanced global mobility.

Dr. Christian H. Kaelin, an international immigration and citizenship law expert and Chairman of Henley & Partners, says, “Investment Migration Programs 2021 is an invaluable tool for all those interested in keeping up to date with industry developments or considering alternative residence or citizenship as an option for accessing new opportunities. The publication is important for private clients and their advisors, industry professionals, or policy makers wishing to manage investment migration programs in order to achieve greater fiscal autonomy and economic growth. It also provides governments hosting investment migration programs with a detailed picture of the competitive landscape as well as where they fit within it.”

Citizenship-by-investment programs: Malta remains the global leader

For the sixth consecutive year, Malta is the world’s top-ranking CBI country, with its Granting of Citizenship for Exceptional Services by Direct Investment process scoring 80 out of 100. The regulations allow for the granting of citizenship following a 36-month residency period or by exception a 12-month residency period. Malta is followed in the GCPI by Austria’s CBI option in 2nd place, with a score of 74 and the Montenegro Citizenship-by-Investment Program in 3rd place, with a score of 72. The St. Lucia Citizenship-by-Investment Program is ranked 4th, with a score of 71.

The remaining Caribbean CBI programs take up the next four spots, with the Antigua and Barbuda Citizenship-by-Investment Program in 5th place, with a score of 70, the Grenada Citizenship-by-Investment Program and St. Kitts and Nevis Citizenship-by-Investment Program in joint-6th place, each with a score of 69, and the Dominica Citizenship-by-Investment Program in 7th place, with a score of 68.

The Turkey Citizenship-by-Investment Program is in 8th place with a score of 67, and the final three places in the ranking are occupied by Vanuatu with a score of 65, Jordan with a score of 63, and Cambodia with a score of 53.

Dominic Volek, Group Head of Private Clients at Henley & Partners, says the Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the steady growth in the investment migration industry over the past 15 years. “While in the past, alternative residence or citizenship may have been seen as ‘nice-to-have’ assets of convenience that enhanced travel freedom and provided vacation homes, the coronavirus has prompted a further shift. Now they are ‘must-have’ essential assets because of the undeniable advantages they provide, including giving families alternative relocation options in a time of crisis.” Volek goes on to say, “While the number of investment migration programs is on the rise and there is no shortage of rankings, reliable professional comparative analyses of such programs are rare. The two indexes in Investment Migration Programs 2021 have been designed with the high-net-worth investor in mind and the publication provides clear, current, and trustworthy advice.”

Residence-by-investment programs: Austria and Portugal share the top spot

Each scoring 75 out of 100, the Austria Private Residence Program and the Portugal Golden Residence Permit Program have emerged as the world’s top RBI programs out of the 24 that were considered. The two European countries have competed over the first position in the GRPI since Investment Migration Programs was launched in 2015.

The 2nd place is shared jointly by the Italy Residence-by-Investment Program and the Swiss Residence Program¸ which each scored 73, and the Greece Golden Visa Program is not far behind in 3rd place with a score of 72.

Jersey Residence-by-Investment and the UK Investor Immigration Program are in joint-4th place, each with a score of 63, and the 5th place is shared by three programs that each score 62 — the Australia Residence-by-Investment Program, the Malta Residence and Visa Program, and the Spain Residence-by-Investment Program.

Further down in the index, the US EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program shares the 7th position with the New Zealand Investor Resident Visa Program and the Hong Kong Visa Programs, each with scores of 60, while the 8th place is jointly held by Dubai (UAE), Monaco, and the Thailand Elite Residence Program, each with scores of 59. Bulgaria’s residence-by-investment program sits at the bottom of the index with a score of 43 out of a possible 100 points.

A growing interest in residence and citizenship planning

According to Dr. Juerg Steffen, CEO of Henley & Partners, the need for a reference and benchmarking tool such as the indexes published in Investment Migration Programs 2021 is more pressing than ever, as the investment migration industry continues to grow at a rapid pace.

“Demand for RCBI programs is at an all-time high,” explains Dr. Steffen, “and new programs and options are being launched each year. In this high-growth climate, Henley & Partners is committed to providing authoritative, on-the-ground insights to those working in the field of investment migration, international investors, entrepreneurs, and global families as well as to the broader public. The indexes are complemented by expert analysis of pertinent topics such as the impact of Covid-19, both globally and on the investment migration industry specifically, global investment migration trends, sovereign equity and the pro-growth benefits of economic migration, as well as prevailing issues such as due diligence and compliance, risk management, and program transparency.”

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