Malta is ranked as the world’s top citizenship-by-investment program and Portugal as the world’s top residence-by-investment program, according to the Global Residence and Citizenship Programs 2017–2018 report, which has become the industry standard for benchmarking and measuring the attractiveness of investment migration programs. The report was released today by global residence and citizenship advisory firm Henley & Partners, ahead of its 11th Global Residence and Citizenship Conference. The event is held this year in Hong Kong, from 14 to 16 November 2017.
The 3rd edition of the Global Residence and Citizenship Programs report provides a systematic analysis and comprehensive benchmarking of the world’s leading investment migration programs. These programs were evaluated by a distinguished panel of independent experts — including immigration and citizenship lawyers, economists, country risk experts, academic researchers, and other specialists — who took into account a broad range of factors pertaining to each program. The result is a global bird’s-eye view of the investment migration industry and a ranking of all the major programs on offer.
Dr. Christian H. Kälin, an international immigration and citizenship law expert and Group Chairman of Henley & Partners, says, “The Global Residence and Citizenship Programs publication is an indispensable tool, not only for all those interested in alternative residence or citizenship but also for professionals such as private client advisors, private bankers, and lawyers, as well as for governments operating investment migration programs.”
Citizenship-by-investment programs: Malta is far ahead
For the third consecutive year, Malta’s Individual Investor Program (MIIP) is the top-ranking citizenship-by-investment program in the world, with a score of 81 out of 100. The Mediterranean island-nation is followed by Cyprus in 2nd place (with a score of 72) and Austria in 3rd place (with a score of 63). Antigua and Barbuda ranked 4th, followed very closely by Grenada, which is ranked 5th. The lowest-ranked citizenship program is Dominica’s, with a score of 51.
The eight citizenship programs included in the report were evaluated according to 10 indicators: Reputation, Quality of Life, Visa-free Access, Processing Time and Quality of Processing, Compliance, Financial Requirements, Residence Requirements, Relocation Flexibility, Physical Visit Requirements, and Transparency. Each indicator had an equal weighting of 10, producing a total score out of 100 for each country.
Residence-by-investment programs: Portugal remains on top
Portugal’s Golden Residence Permit Program has emerged as the world’s best residence-by-investment program for the third year in a row, with a score of 79 out of 100. Portugal is very closely followed by Austria in 2nd place (with a score of 78) and Belgium in 3rd place (with a score of 77). In the last and 20th place, and with a score of 36, is Bulgaria’s residence program.
The 20 residence programs surveyed in the report were assessed according to 10 indicators, some of which are very similar to those used in the citizenship index: Reputation, Quality of Life, Taxation, Visa-free Access, Processing Time and Quality of Processing, Compliance, Financial Requirements, Total Costs, Time to Citizenship, and Citizenship Requirements.
A growing interest in residence and citizenship planning
As Dr. Kälin explains, the need for a reference and benchmarking tool like the Global Residence and Citizenship Programs reflects the strong growth of the investment migration industry in recent years. “Interest in the industry has steadily increased over the past decade, and we anticipate that it will continue to do so,” he says. “In fact, we again expect well over 400 attendees from over 40 countries at this month’s Global Residence and Citizenship Conference in Hong Kong.”
The annual event, now in its 11th year, has become the world’s largest and most significant conference on investment migration. It brings together presidents, prime ministers, senior government officials, leading academics, and industry professionals, as well as top-tier financial and business media. According to Dr. Kälin, this year’s conference offers delegates the opportunity to engage with the leading minds and ideas driving the growing trend towards global mobility and citizenship.
Key speakers at the conference include investment legend and global financial commentator Jim Rogers, who will speak about the trends and issues affecting global citizens and their investments, the Prime Minister of Malta, the Hon. Dr. Joseph Muscat, who will talk about the advantages of Maltese citizenship for Asian investors, and the Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, the Hon. Gaston Browne, who will address the challenges of climate change and how these can be addressed by investment migration programs. Professor Dr. Dimitry Kochenov will discuss the latest edition of the Henley & Partners – Kochenov Quality of Nationality Index, explaining how the quality of a nationality affects the movement of talent and business, while John Wong, PwC’s Private Client Services Leader in China and Hong Kong, will provide the latest insight into tax planning for Chinese private clients.
“Following the unprecedented success of this event year after year, we again expect the conference in Hong Kong to be larger and more influential than the one before,” Dr. Kälin concludes.