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Over the past decade, the residency and citizenship-by-investment (RCBI) industry has experienced tremendous growth, brought about by various socio-economic factors. However, it is not unknown that crises evoke change and the current global health crisis is no different. The pandemic is proving to be an acid test to each country’s overall system with healthcare, economy and security being critical.

Janice Williamson, General Manager, Next Generation Equity, says, “Having operated within the RCBI industry in the UAE for several years allows us insight into the main motivations behind second citizenship and residency acquisition. Our data shows that our clients’ top deciding factor is to provide a safe and secure future for their families, followed by maintaining financial stability and wealth preservation by way of tax-efficient structures, as well as an overall upgrade in their family’s quality of life.”

What can be gained by investing?

Some countries that have RCBI programmes boast world-class healthcare systems. This is possibly one of the most crucial deciding factors nowadays for choosing a programme. The Covid-19 pandemic is not unprecedented; it is a natural occurrence that has happened before and will most surely happen again in future. This, along with the other ‘normalised’ maladies, calls for having unrestricted access to top-notch health services.

Personal and entrepreneurial contingency plans need to be addressed as well. Business continuity is essential and can be ensured by identifying options as early as now while stabilising the business.

Is it the right time?

It cannot be denied that the current pandemic has a huge impact on the RCBI industry in terms of processes and policies. Nations have implemented strict travel measures to ensure that the spread of the virus is mitigated. Conversely, countries offering RCBI programmes have also revised or adapted their application requirements. Some jurisdictions such as Saint Lucia have lowered their investment threshold while others have simplified their application processes, with a focus on contactless and digital applications, and increased the options to include dependent children, parents and siblings.

Planning ahead

For the long term, second citizenship or alternative residency is being valued more than ever. With the assistance of an expert consultant, investing in an RCBI programme is a simple process that can be completed in as little as three months.