The coronavirus pandemic has struck southern Africa harder than any other region on the continent. With a new variant, tax hikes, and high crime rates, second citizenship firm CS Global Partners says it has recorded an increase in inquiries from the continent.
A recent survey conducted by the advisory firm found that 37% of those considering second citizenship viewed safety and security as one of the primary reasons for seeking dual citizenship.
The firm said that in recent years, South Africa has seen a growing exodus of entrepreneurs and business people.
Although other paths to second citizenship like naturalisation and ancestry exist, citizenship by investment is the fastest and most efficient route for time-poor business people, the legal consultancy firm with expertise in international citizenship said.
CS Global Partners’ Jane Gordon, who is based in South Africa, said on a citizenship by investment podcast that when it comes to investing in a second citizenship, South Africans want a lifestyle they are already comfortable with.
“I think South Africans, in particular, want more options, and they want more opportunities. They are really looking to become more globally mobile, which is sometimes hard being based in South Africa.
“South African entrepreneurs especially have a desire to be seen as a bit more competitive, especially on a global scale in terms of business. They are usually very creative so being able to travel more easily for inspiration as well,” said Gordon.
Citizenship by investment programmes like that of St Kitts and Nevis “feels like the perfect version of home where we don’t have the troubles that sometimes South Africans face”.
The need for business mobility also tied with safety and security as another driving factor for Africans seeking second citizenship. In a world where the notion of remote working is on the rise and likely a long-term trend, “you don’t have to be stuck in an office,” Gordon said.
South Africans want the flexibility to chose where they work from, she said.
Currently, under the dual islands’ Sustainable Growth Fund, applicants can take advantage of an extended limited time offer. After passing the compulsory vetting process, for $150,000 (R2.2 million), a family of four can gain citizenship for life which grants visa-free and visa on arrival travel to 156 destinations, including major business hubs in Europe and Asia.
Applicants do not have to travel to St Kitts and Nevis to apply, nor is there a requirement to visit after.
“It’s about opening up options to invest overseas and out of South Africa is an attractive one because it does feel a bit more secure. I think it’s seen as a bit of an insurance policy. Moreover, some of the investment opportunities are especially attractive to forward-thinking South Africans.
“Many of the projects you can invest in aim to counter climate change and things South Africans would be concerned with.
“There’s also a number of local incentives to drive investment in particular sectors, which can facilitate investment and even inspire investors to begin operating in a new sector. So that’s appealing and then the Caribbean, in particular, is seen to have a very stable currency as it’s pegged to the US Dollar,” said Gordon.
An investment in real estate
St. Kitts & Nevis citizenship requires investment of either a minimum donation of $150,000 to the Sustainable Growth Fund (SGF) or investment of $400,000 in real estate
“In numerous ways, real estate is an interesting proposition because it enables the investor to potentially make a return on the investment is quite a short period of time, three or five years depending on the buyer with the timeframe being longer, or if the buyer is involved in citizenship by investment. Relatively, it’s a short period of time,” said Gordon.
In Dominica specifically, the government’s only approves a very limited number of projects, and these are all eco-friendly, high-end or boutique resorts. And this means that they are tailored to thrive in a world that is eco-friendly and sustainable. They are easily overseen, which alleviates risk that the development will not be completed to the spec promised by the developer.
Dominica’s citizenship-by-investment currently has two options, namely a contribution of at least $100,000 (R1.45 million) for a single applicant.
The second option is an investment into a government-approved real estate project of at least $200,000 (R2.9 million) – which varies depending on the project, but is fixed, regardless of the family composition.