As globalisation creates new opportunities for world trade and investment, an ever-increasing number of high-net-worth individuals are looking to diversify their wealth and investment options through Citizenship by Investment (CBI). While various opportunities for investment present themselves, many individuals and business people have turned towards programmes and projects offering economic citizenship.
CBI is a turnkey solution for high-net-worth individuals where citizenship can be granted within 3 months subject to stringent due diligence. Allowing the investor to then safeguard their family, increase global mobility therefore more business opportunities. Education for ones child is always of paramount importance to Indian nationals and again CBI opens up the world for this.
This is equivalently the case for businessmen in India. However, the country also has one of the largest and most successful diasporic populations in the world, with a number of Indians choosing to migrate to other countries for educational, business and career purposes. Across countries like the US, the UK and Canada, people of Indian origin have been appointed to the highest ranks of business and society, among them the CEOs of multinational corporations like Google and Starbucks.
Indeed, India is no stranger to global migration. With a history of migration stretching back to its colonial past, Indians have for centuries been travelling to different countries across the globe. For some time now, Indian students have also been travelling overseas, more often than not settling in their country of education to benefit from the better opportunities, jobs and career pathways available to them in these countries.
But now thousands of high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs) from India are also dipping their toes into foreign waters with the goal of diversifying their wealth. This is increasingly the case, since the country hosts a rapidly increasing number of millionaires. In 2021, India had over 796,000 millionaires; this is estimated to grow by 105% to 1.6 million in 2026. A significant number of these HNWIs are entrepreneurs or investors who have grown their wealth by financing different types of digital payment.
As these individuals look to expand their fortunes, alternative citizenship has come to be viewed as a distinct asset. With the difficulties of doing business in India multiplying – an increase in compliance issues, tightening government regulations, excessive paperwork, cumbersome travel permits and extensive processing times – citizenship by investment has become a “must have” for many business people. While alternative citizenship can alleviate these difficulties, many business owners also seek citizenship by investment to expand their business infrastructure and increase the opportunities available to them.
Government data shows that in 2021 more than 1,63,370 Indians gave up their citizenship to become citizens of other countries. These numbers will continue to rise as people strive to secure access to quality healthcare, career advancement, more advanced education facilities and better opportunities for their children and themselves. Adding to this, becoming a citizen of another country has become easier for Indians since the government launched its Overseas Citizens of India Card (OCI Card).
Migration to other countries therefore remains one of the most sought-after ways to diversify wealth. Millions across the globe, including business owners, new-age entrepreneurs, corporate executives and skilled professionals, are expanding and transforming their business presence in other countries. While the reasons for business migration vary, many individuals are motivated by the promise of a better life and lifestyle.
This is especially the case since the pandemic. The sudden and unexpected onset of COVID-19 shook much of the world from its peaceful slumber, making many aware of the ground realities of their situation. Since then, HNWIs and business owners increasingly appreciate the value of spreading their financial assets and broadening their business horizons.
For some time now, many HNWIs have opted for economic citizenship as a backup, an option that can be leaned upon in emergency situations. For instance, if another pandemic were to strike, an economic crisis were to rattle the world economy or the political or regional instability in Ukraine were to spread, then overseas citizenship or permanent residency would provide a valuable fall back plan.
In these times of uncertainty citizenship by investment programmes can provide much-needed security and an effective means for wealthy individuals to protect their investments. In fact, Citizenship by Investment (CBI) Programmes have experienced a boom over the last few years, with wealthy investors from emerging markets contributing to this interest.
To help with this demand, CS Global Partners, one of the world’s leading government advisory firms, has been working with governments worldwide to represent top-rated citizenship by investment programmes.
Within this field, a number of Caribbean countries, such as the Commonwealth of Dominica, Saint Lucia, and St Kitts and Nevis, offer top-rated Citizen by Investment (CBI) programmes. These islands, renowned for their natural beauty and vibrant tourism industries, are also home to a plethora of investment opportunities.
Given these strengths, the Caribbean has quickly become one of the most popular locations for citizenship by investment. A distinct advantage of some of the CBI programmes in the region is their comparatively economical cost. Thus, with a minimal investment outlay, individuals can provide a sense of peace and safety to their families, along with the obvious benefit of increased mobility and business options.
Indian investors, particularly, have turned to Caribbean countries for routes to citizenship. The oldest programme in the citizenship market, St Kitts and Nevis’s CBI programme, continues to welcome a growing population of Indian entrepreneurs and businesspeople to its shores.
On the other hand, the Commonwealth of Dominica’s CBI programme, is another strong contender. The annual CBI Index of the Financial Times has ranked Dominica’s Citizenship by Investment programme in first place – a position the country has occupied since the Index was developed. Saint Lucia, another country represented by CS Global Partners, presents one of the newest and most promising programmes in the market, having risen to the highest tiers of the Index within a very short time.
These programmes have allowed a number of HNWIs to diversify their investment portfolios by procuring alternative citizenship. CBI has also allowed them to take advantage of other benefits, such as increasing their international brand recognition and moulding and redefining their businesses to suit different markets.
A number of knowledgeable Indian investors have therefore invested in CBI programmes, recognising that it is unwise to put all your eggs in one basket. The pandemic has indeed confirmed this old saying, with many now seeking to diversify their investment portfolios to ensure the health and financial stability of their businesses.
Indians have for long sought the benefits and investment opportunities available to them through migration. Now, however, Citizen by Investment programmes, like those of Dominica, Saint Lucia and St Kitts and Nevis, allow a straightforward path to alternative citizenship with minimal outlay. CBI can open many doors for high-net-worth Indians: greater wealth management, ensured safety and security for family, and a better quality of life – for both themselves and their future generations.