The world’s best citizenship-by-investment programs

The Malta Individual Investor Program  is the world’s top citizenship-by-investment program,according to residence and citizenship advisory firm Henley & Partners.

Its Global Residence and Citizenship Programs 2018–2019 report also names the Austria Private Residence Program as the world’s top residence-by-investment program.

The programs were evaluated by a distinguished panel of independent experts — including immigration and citizenship lawyers, economists, sovereign risk experts, and academic researchers — who took into account a broad range of factors pertaining to each program.

Amanda Smit, head of Henley & Partners in east, central, and southern Africa, said: “The Global Residence and Citizenship Programs publication is highly relevant not only to those who are interested in alternative residence or citizenship options, but also to industry professionals, private client advisors, and others with an interest in the subject, as well as to governments.”

Malta remains the global leader

The Malta Individual Investor Program scored 79 out of 100. Malta is followed in the citizenship ranking by Cyprus – with a score of 72 – and Austria is third with a score of 70. Antigua and Barbuda is ranked 4th , with a score of 64.

European newcomers Moldova and Montenegro performed strongly, in fifth and sixth place and with scores of 63 and 62 respectively, mostly on account of their competitive pricing structure, minimal physical-visit requirements, strong transparency, and streamlined processing.

St. Kitts and Nevis and Grenada slid slightly down the ranking as a result of these new entries, but they maintained strong scores of 61 (St. Kitts and Nevis) and 59 (Grenada). St. Lucia scored 57 and holds ninth place overall.

Global Residence and Citizenship Programs 2018–2019:

Austria claims the top spot

Boasting a score of 79 out of 100, the Austria Private Residence Program has emerged as the world’s best residence-by-investment program, knocking Portugal off the top spot for the firsttime since the Global Residence and Citizenship Programs publication was launched in 2015.

Now in second place, the Portugal Golden Residence Permit Program has a score of 77, while newcomer Italy has claimed  third place, scoring 72.

The Thailand Elite Residence Program comes in at fourth place, with a score of 68, and the UK Investor Immigration Program holds fifth place, with a score of 67.

The US’s EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program holds only eighth position on the ranking with a score of 64.

In bottom place, Bulgaria’s residence program scored 42 points out of a possible 100. 21 residence programs in total were surveyed.

Global Residence and Citizenship Programs 2018–2019:

Choosing between residence and citizenship planning According to Henley & Partners each year, hundreds of wealthy individuals, families and their advisors rely on their expertise and experience to choose the best citizenship or residency program that will satisfy their needs.

“Applicants are driven by different factors, such as volatile political and economic climates, to secure alternative citizenship or residency as an insurance policy for the 21st century that will help them access business, financial, career, and lifestyle opportunities on a global scale,” said Smit.

Although different, alternative citizenship or residency, offering individuals with abundant and diversified resources, are both avenues of value and security beyond the traditional sense of wealth.

Each type of program has its advantages, and each will meet the needs of particular families.

Residence-by-investment programs, for example, give ultra-high-net-worth individuals the option of physically relocating to a favorable jurisdiction — either now or during retirement — and becoming tax residents of that jurisdiction.

Residents of a country have full legal rights, including the right to live, work, study, and receive healthcare in that country.

“These programs may work for our clients that want a plan B because they are concerned about the economy or the political situation, worried what the education system will look like 10 years from now or if their children will be able to find work in South Africa,” said Smit.

Citizenship-by-investment programs, on the other hand, provide ultra-wealthy families with the privilege of a second or third passport, which gives them to right to travel, trade, and settle in other countries beyond their country of citizenship.

“Our clients that usually opt for the citizenship programs are business people who travel a lot and who find visa restrictions extremely limiting and frustrating; they do it simply to obtain travel documents that give them greater mobility, that let them travel at short notice,” Smit said.

Read: The most popular UK immigration options – for people that only have a South African passport

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The world’s best citizenship-by-investment programs