The fourth edition of the Citizenship by Investment (CBI) Index was published yesterday, and the Commonwealth of Dominica once again topped the list as one of the most attractive CBI programmes on offer.

The CBI Index, published by the Financial Times’ Professional Wealth Management magazine, is a comprehensive ranking system that compares active CBI programmes.

Having been rated the best CBI Programme for four years in a row, the mountainous Caribbean island nation, with natural hot springs and tropical rainforests, is fast becoming one of the most popular CBI destinations in the world.

“Emerging for the fourth consecutive year as the world’s best CBI Programme, Dominica balances an excellent reputation for meeting the needs of investors with strong due diligence, a low minimum investment outlay, efficient processing, and a renewed focus on family reunification,” the 2020 Index read.

Aside from boasting a pleasant year-round climate and low cost of living, Dominica has spent great efforts to rebuild its economy following the infrastructural devastation from Hurricane Maria in 2017. Much hard work has been put into rebuilding the nation’s robust economy, particularly in the tourism sector. Today, Dominica has one of the fastest-growing economies in the region, thanks to the country’s CBI Programme which allows well-vetted investors and their families contribute to a government fund or pre-approved real estate on the island in exchange for citizenship.

Families around the globe are looking to Dominica to expand their international fiscal footprint. The country’s promise of safety, security, good healthcare, and a trustworthy government has proved a firm favourite among high net worth individuals. Dominica has not only established itself as a holiday destination but as a reliable investment option and a future safety net for their families.

In response to the Index, Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit said, “For us, foreign investors who become our citizens through CBI are truly valuable partners. We are proud to call them our own and to offer them a truly spectacular place to call home.”

How Has COVID-19 Affected Dominica’s CBI Programme? 

Whilst Dominica reopened for tourism on 7th August, Dominica’s Citizenship by Investment Unit (CBIU) was quick to respond to the global pandemic, offering solutions such as moving all their processes online, suspending the receipt of hard copies of applications and expediting the processing of 2021 applications.

With the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a reaffirmation from investors in the importance of health, family and financial security. Investors have been forced to re-evaluate what they want from a CBI programme says the 2020 Index.

“Before the Covid-19 crisis, investors looked to second citizenship as a platform from which to dive head-on into a world of greater interaction, travel, and globalisation. Mobility rights took, almost inevitably, centre-stage. However, by blocking international travel, the Covid-19 pandemic has had the effect of reminding investors and the wider world of the fundamental importance of ‘home’.”  – CBI Index of 2020.

The Future of CBI 

According to the new Index, the CBI ‘trend’ is spreading like wildfire with countries across the globe realising the enormous potential of implementing such programmes to bolster their local economy and tourism sectors.

The industry has continued to evolve since the publication of the third edition of the index in 2019. Key developments include investment changes, moves towards greater family inclusiveness, and increased oversight of agents and real estate stakeholders.

According to the authors of the index, “The current global crisis has led investors to explore alternative citizenship and residence options with a focus on healthcare and standard of living.”

“Uncertainty always drives the need to diversify one’s risk and secure the future of one’s family,” says Micha Emmett, CEO of CS Global Partners, an authorised government marketing agency.

Aside from the obvious, a sense of giving back underpins the importance of the CBI Programme. Investment into the Programme’s government fund is channelled into priority areas such as education, health, climate change resilience, infrastructure, and tourism, painting a bright picture for the future economy of Dominica.