The fifth edition of the CBI Index was published this week, and the Commonwealth of Dominica has come out on top once again in the ranking for best citizenship by investment (CBI) programme for the year 2021.
Published by the Financial Times’ Professional Wealth Management magazine, the CBI Index is a comprehensive ranking system that compares operational CBI programmes. The in-depth report examines and evaluates CBI programmes offered by various countries in the Caribbean, Europe, Asia, Oceania, and Africa.
“For Dominica, first place has been a consistent result for five consecutive years. Maintaining a perfect score in six out of the nine pillars assessed,” researcher James McKay said in the report. The nine ‘pillars’ are based upon key investor priorities and help analyse the appeal of the 14 CBI programmes assessed. “Dominica once again promises, among other things, an affordable minimum investment outlay, a streamlined application process, and certainty to investors,” he added.
“Those who become Dominican citizens are considered a part of our family. They help build our roads, hospitals and schools through investment in our CBI Programme,” said Prime Minister Dr the Hon Roosevelt Skerrit.
After receiving a perfect score in six out of the nine pillars evaluated by the Index, Dominica finished with an overall percentage score of 89%, and was declared to be strongest in the following areas:
Minimum Investment Outlay: Thanks to its affordable contribution of US$100,000, the Programme received the top score in this pillar.
Mandatory Travel/Residence: Dominica maintains a perfect score in this pillar as applicants are not required to travel to the island as part of the application, nor do they need to reside there before or after citizenship is granted.
Ease of Processing: Dominica’s CBI Programme’s clear and streamlined process received top scores in this pillar.
Due Diligence: Dominica’s thorough vetting procedures earned top scores in the Index again, a consistent outcome for the nation since the inception of the Index in 2017. These procedures include extensive screening of an applicant’s source of wealth and funds, taking fingerprints as part of the application, and working with international, third-party organisations to perform online and on-the-ground background checks of an all-encompassing nature.
Family: Dominica amended the meaning of ‘dependant’ in 2020 to include a wider range of family members. Applicants have more scope than ever before to include members of their immediate and extended family in an application. These amendments allowed Dominica to garner top scores in this pillar.
Certainty of Product: The longevity, stability, reputation, adaptability, and popularity of Dominica’s Programme scored top marks in this pillar.
“At 28 years old and with a track record of good governance, the Dominica CBI Programme has led the way in providing clarity as to how CBI funds are used,” the report said.
CBI Index Key Findings and Trends
Covid-19 lockdowns added to the appeal of citizenship by investment programmes. Wealthy, reputable individuals, having lost mobility during the pandemic, are showing increased interest in investing in second citizenship.
“Both private banks and law firms report increased interest among clients seeking new citizenships since the advent of the pandemic,” the report said. “Wealth investors only began to appreciate mobility once it was abruptly withdrawn due to Covid-19.”
Another trend highlighted in the report is the rise of the digital nomad visa. The pandemic forced millions to work from home, and saw individuals looking to exotic locations from which to work.
Dominica inaugurated its version of a digital nomad visa, named ‘Work in Nature’ (WIN), earlier this year. The visa provides applicants with the opportunity to work remotely for up to 18 months on the island.
Dominica’s Citizenship by Investment Programme
Established in 1993, the Dominican CBI Programme is one of the oldest in existence.
The Programme allows well-vetted investors and their families to either contribute to a government fund or invest in pre-approved real estate on the island in exchange for citizenship.