CS Global Partners: Which citizenship by investment scheme is the best?
Andres Gutierrez explains why longevity and due diligence makes all the difference in a citizenship by investment programme
Citizenship and residence by investment consultants CS Global Partners help high net worth individuals find the right investment immigration programme for them. Andres Gutierrez explains the history of the citizenship by investment industry, the importance of the due diligence process that countries go through when assessing their potential citizens, and how to work out which programme is the best for you. In the second half of this interview he discusses the growing demand in the industry, why you might prefer a residence-by-investment programme over a citizenship-by-investment scheme, and what they future may hold as we change the ways we think about citizenship.
Mrassociates: What does the investment immigration industry encompass?
Andres Gutierrez: Investment immigration encompasses the legal processes of either acquiring residence or a citizenship, either by making a contribution to a government fund, or an investment into real estate.
The global existence of the investor immigration market goes back 30 years; it started with the Canada residence programme in 1986, and then that has led to the St Kitts programme in 1992, then the Dominica programme. These programmes enable different applicants further travelling on their side, and business opportunities, as well as driving foreign investment into these countries.
Mrassociates: There is a public perception that these golden visa programmes or golden passport programmes are: you pay your money and you get your citizenship; but it’s more complicated than that?
Andres Gutierrez: Yes indeed it is more complicated than that. There is a very strong due diligence process after the application is submitted to each particular country. And that due diligence part of each particular application is the key of the entire investor immigration market.
It is so important because most citizenship by investment programmes do not require the applicant to have a residence in the country, or to visit the country itself. So a very thorough, a very complete due diligence process is done in order to ensure that the applicant basically is who he or she really says. And that serves first to protect the investment of all the applicants – because at the end of the day, what the government wants, what the countries want, is entrepreneurs, business people, of high moral standards – that they endorse with these passports. And at the same time it is a measure of protecting their programmes and the investor immigration market as a whole.
Mrassociates: What else makes a good citizenship by investment programme?
Andres Gutierrez: There are many different factors. The CBI Index published by the Financial Times has mentioned for example affordability, timelines to citizenship, ease of processing, residence requirements. The longevity as well: a programme that has been around for a very long time, that has been operating for a very long time, ensures that improvements have been made to that process. That fine-tuning to the operations have been made as well. And it is a warranty at the end of the day.
So yes: I think those are the key things. And just to mention as well, the Commonwealth of Dominica citizenship by investment programme was ranked first in the CBI Index of the Financial Times.
Mrassociates: So would you say that’s the best?
The best programme… it depends on each particular applicant. The Dominica programme was ranked number one in the CBI Index; however, perhaps it is not aligned with the interests of the applicant, because perhaps they want to live in Europe, for example. Perhaps they are not interested in Dominica. So we focus our attention on understanding what the client needs, because a person that wants ease of doing business globally perhaps will tend to go for a Caribbean citizenship; while a person that, let’s say, has two or three kids and wants to live in the UK or in Europe, perhaps they are looking at a European CBI programme such as Cyprus.
So as advisors, it is understanding the needs of the client, and where do they want to go.