CBI Index 2023 crowns St Kitts and Nevis as world's number one

CBI Index 2023 crowns St Kitts and Nevis as world’s number one

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The CBI Index 2023 was launched on Thursday under the title- “A Guide to Global Citizenship: The Index”, which is now in its seventh edition has once again ranked the five Caribbean jurisdiction on the top positions.

St Kitts and Nevis has again retained its position and ranked no 1, for second year in a row. On the other hand, Dominica gained second place this year while Saint Lucia has also stood at the third position for second consecutive year.

Notably, Grenada has joined Saint Lucia in 2023 and shares third place alongside Saint Lucia with its improved scores.

In twelve countries featured in the 2023 CBI Index Report, five nations from the Caribbean were included, with all of them securing the top five positions. These Caribbean nations left behind seven other countries offering similar programmes in Europe, Asia and beyond and secured the top positions.

The report added, “The Caribbean CBI Programmes have retained their lead in the 2023 CBI Index. While the steady crescendo of international regulatory pressure on the industry reached its zenith in 2023, the performance of Caribbean programmes across the nine pillars of the CBI Index continues to reflect their affordability, simplicity, and efficiency.”

The Citizenship by Investment Index is the ultimate guide for global investors and globe trotters alike. The index acts as a comprehensive report on the various nations that provide the best options and services under their respective programmes.

The index also gives a detailed analysis of different facets where each nation’s CBI offerings shine. This analysis allows potential investors to find a nation which suits their requirements best, facilitating better decision making in this regard.

The primary methodological objective of the CBI Index is to isolate factors — or ‘pillars’ — that satisfactorily measure programme features and jurisdictional desirability.
Each of the nine pillars is scored out of a maximum of ten points, calculated on an averaging basis from the scores of composite indicators and sub-indicators. The maximum score attainable by a programme is 90, with all final scores also expressed in terms of a percentage of the total points available. For example, a perfect 90-point score would be expressed as 100 per cent.

Read Here: Full CBI Index 2023

PILLAR 1 of the index, gives details of the ‘Standard of Living’ offered by the countries to potential citizens.

In this year’s index, Dominica, Saint Lucia and St Kitts and Nevis, together occupy the third place with an identical score of 6. While Saint Lucia and St Kitts and Nevis have outdone Dominica in the GDP Growth measure, Dominica came back with a higher score for Human Security.

The measure of this pillar were based on both the UN Human Development Index (HDI) for factors such as life expectancy, education, safety, and income and economic performance statistics from the World Bank which is an important factor for investors.

PILLAR 2 of the index, is a measure of ‘Freedom of Movement’ and is based on three important factors, namely; the number of prime business hubs to which it provides access; the number of destinations to which a country’s passport allows travel without restriction; and the degree to which a given citizenship provides settlement rights in other nations.

With regard to this pillar, Dominica, Saint Lucia and St Kitts and Nevis are once again neck and neck, coming min at second place with a score of 7. Incidentally, Caribbean countries in general have managed the same score.

That comes as a welcome surprise, since speculation was rife due to the recent focus on their visa free status which was put under pressure by the US, EU and UK authorities.
Regardless of that, the Caribbean nations have managed to maintain a quite decent score in this particular measure.

PILLAR 3 of the index, is focused on the ‘Minimum Investment Outlay’ which is one of the most important and practically necessary measures on the index, for obvious reasons. This pillar helps potential investors understand the minimum amounts that make them eligible candidates for the CBI programme of a particular nation. Understandably, high minimum investment outlays can become a hinderance in some cases.

In an intriguing turn of events, Saint Lucia and Dominica boast of a perfect 10 score in this measure and take the top spot collectively. St Kitts and Nevis shares the second spot with a score of 9, along with Cambodia and Egypt.

Dominica and Saint Lucia maintain the industry’s lowest outlay with US$100,000, which is the major contributing factor in the high score achieved by them. St Kitts and Nevis doubled its Sustainable Island State Contribution (SISC) donation option minimum outlay to US$250,000 in July 2023, which has influenced the nation’s score and subsequent second position. While not ideal, St Kitts and Nevis still provide an excellent option with a relatively reasonable minimum investment outlay.

Read Here: Full CBI Report 2023

PILLAR 4 of the index, pertains to ‘Mandatory Travel and Residence’ which provides an in-depth assessment of the travel or residence conditions that applicants are expected to fulfill, prior to and following the approval of citizenship.

The score in this section is based broadly on mandatory travel or residence requirements, physical residence requirements and travel requirements.

In this regard, Dominica, St Kitts and Nevis and Saint Lucia achieved a perfect 10 score and share the top spot once again, with fellow Caribbean nation Grenada and the Middle East’s Jordan.

The scores and positions have essentially seen no change from the 2022 index with regard to this pillar. Since Dominica, St Kitts and Nevis and Saint Lucia have no travel or minimum residency requirements, they were bound to achieve a perfect score in this category. This makes them the ideal option for individual who are tied up in multiple interests and lack the time on their schedule to meet stringent residency or travel stipulations that other CBI programs might impose.

PILLAR 5 of the index, deals with the ‘Citizenship Timeline’ which is another important consideration for applicants.

The top rank with a score of 9 is shared by a diverse group of nations. Saint Lucia and Dominica are among the 4 nations that take up the number one spot, along with Jordan and Vanuatu. All of these nations have processes in place which allow applications to be processed in less than 4 months.

St Kitts and Nevis though, takes the second spot with a healthy score of 8. Having said that, it is important to note that St Kitts and Nevis has dropped from the top spot which it occupied in the previous year’s index. This development has occurred due to its decision to increase the nation’s CIU processing times to 120 days and rescinding its ‘accelerated CBI application’ option in July 2023.

Read Here: Full CBI Report 2023

PILLAR 6 of the index, focuses on the ‘Ease of Processing’ of applications. In simple terms, this pillar assesses the level of complexity involved in the entire process of applying for citizenship under a specific program, from the application process till the approval of citizenship and beyond.

Once again Dominica and St Kitts and Nevis take the top spot along with Malta, all of whom score a perfect 10. This is a testament to the ability of their programs to balance the administrative demands of the application process with quick and efficient processing.
Saint Lucia comes in second once again with a score of 8. The major differentiating factor here is passport validity.

Pillar 7 of the index, is geared towards ‘Due Diligence’ which refers to and assesses the ability of each nation to a transparent and effective evaluation of potential candidates for citizenship. In simple words, this criterion is an assessment of each programme’s integrity and commitment.

In this category, St Kitts and Nevis retains the top spot as the only nation with a score of 10. This can be attributed to the CIU’s changes, as part of a rapid implementation of the ‘Six Principles’, which include mandatory interviews and measures to stop financial irregularities in the real estate option to safeguard the programme’s reputation.

Dominica takes the number 2 spot with a score of 9. An aspect to note here is that Dominica is yet to make sweeping changes in response to the recent regulatory pressures. They do already have a broad range of measures in place including robust external due diligence procedures, on-the-ground checks with assistance from international agencies, the implementation of mandatory interviews and banned nationalities. These factors have led to a reasonably high score.

Saint Lucia is placed third with a modest score of 7. Saint Lucia’s introduction of mandatory interviews will help to address the irregularities around its real estate option and strengthen other existing requirements. As of now though, the nation takes the third spot.

Pillar 8 of the index, focuses on ‘Family’. As is expected, many applicants for citizenship place great importance on the facilities and benefits extended to their families. Hence, in this category, the benefits extended to the family of a candidate and possible citizen’s family are vital.

In this category, Saint Lucia ranks second with a score of 9. Saint Lucia missed out on a perfect score due to its exclusion of grandparents in an application.

Read Here: Full CBI Index 2023

Dominica dropped two positions due to its tightening of requirements for evidencing the degree of dependency of children 18 or over. Hence it takes the third spot by its lonesome with 8 points. A decent score by all measures.

The previous topper in this category, St Kitts and Nevis drops to seven points and ranks joint fourth with Vanuatu.

PILLAR 9 of the index, focuses specifically on the ‘Certainty of Product’ which is a measure of a programme’s certainty across five different dimensions. These are longevity, popularity and renown, stability, reputation and adaptability.

In this category, St Kitts and Nevis takes the top spot with a score of 10, and sits in that position alone. This is a reflection of the nation’s swift response to the recent unprecedented international pressure imposed on all Caribbean Citizenship by Investment programmes.

Dominica takes the second position with a score of 7, along with Grenada and Turkiye. Dominica has taken steps to improve investor vetting through, for example, the enhanced due diligence requirements imposed on particular nationalities, the absence of additional changes as undertaken by St Kitts and Nevis, and the recent loss of visa-free travel to the UK, have impacted its performance.

Saint Lucia sits at number three with Antigua and Barbuda. Both nations have a score of 6. Despite Saint Lucia introducing measures to step up due diligence, ongoing issues around illegal discounting suggests that tighter regulations are required.