Here is a programme that has the potential to boost growth for Indian investors on international soil. Of late, high net-worth individuals (HNWIs) from India have found that Citizenship by Investment (CBI) programmes have the power to transform business-related immigration overall, and the business outlook for them personally.
Several factors influence an individual’s decision to migrate to a new country or even stay in their country of origin and obtain ‘alternative citizenship’, including public and private safety, quality of life, economic opportunity, international mobility and financial freedom. Indeed, the most visible benefit of undertaking business immigration and acquiring ‘alternative citizenship’ is the financial freedom and global mobility it affords the Indian investor, to make the most of opportunities available in key markets, business hubs nd different economic zones around the world.
Citizenship by Investment can be obtained by making a direct contribution to a government fund. A successful CBI application enables an investor and their family to become citizens of the territory and in exchange, they can look forward to a financially secure future that embraces flexibility in business and tax planning, and ease of asset diversification—each of these promoting a business-friendly environment.
Economic stability is an advantage enjoyed by the Caribbean nations of Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Saint Lucia, and St. Kitts and Nevis, among the 13 countries that offer CBI programmes. No wonder each is a sought-after destination for alternative citizenship.
Within global uncertainty lies a wealth of economic opportunity, and investors will look to persevere with business ventures wherever they may be based—and wherever the economic conditions permit. CBI programmes have increased economic activity appreciably in the aforementioned Caribbean nations. In St. Kitts and Nevis, in 2020, they contributed more than 30 percent to the national GDP, an impressive performance at a time when Covid had reduced tourism to a trickle, while in Dominica, revenue from the programme (also making up 30 percent of GDP) boosted the construction sector in 2021.
Healthcare, a priority area in the Caribbean, will see a further injection of funds in the wake of the pandemic, as will tourism, a segment looking to rebound while keeping sustainability in mind. Beyond that, climate-proof infrastructure—a prerogative in a region that has borne the worst of climate change, and whose future prosperity depends on being prepared for extreme weather events—will likely continue to receive a substantial inflow of capital.
Outside the Caribbean, alternative citizenship opens the door to enhanced professional prospects and access to economically significant territories and markets. For the Indian investor, this would include visa-free or visa-on-arrival travel to more than 150 countries, among them major business hubs in the US, Europe, Asia and Africa.
To conclude, business immigration offers Indian investors an array of opportunities across industries and geographies, as well as the financial freedom to invest in an unlimited number of jurisdictions. Meanwhile, global mobility allows them access to the most lucrative business locations that guarantee the best financial returns. It truly is the insurance policy of the 21st century.
(The author is Mr. Paul Singh, Director of CS Global Partners and the views expressed in this article are his own)