(Trade Arabia) -- High net worth families and residents in Saudi Arabia contributed to over a 70 per cent increase in demand for second European and Caribbean nationality in the final quarter (Q4) of 2017, said an industry expert.
This demand is mainly driven by political and economic distress in the Middle East, in addition to stringent immigration policies applied by European nations and countries like the US on a number of Arab countries, which is creating an urgency for applicants to obtain a second citizenship, according to Citizenship Invest, a market leader in citizenship programmes to obtain a second passport.
The top three nationalities that contributed to this spike in demand were Yemenis with 31 per cent, followed by Syrians by 15 per cent, and Lebanese by 8 per cent.
The increase in demand is also attributed to the latest amendments in the citizenship legislation of countries like Saint Kitts & Nevis, Commonwealth of Dominica, and Antigua & Barbuda. The amendments decreased the application costs by 50 per cent, which have made it a much more accessible process.
Obtaining a European or a Caribbean passport has become a crucial requirement for high net worth individuals. These countries passports provide people in the region with a sense of security for their families and businesses, as well as freedom of movement that otherwise they would not have with their original passports.
Veronica Cotdemiey, CEO of Citizenship Invest, said, “We have been seeing a great increase in the number of families applying over single applicants. The main reason is that countries like Saint Kitts & Nevis and Antigua & Barbuda are accepting a family of four members for just over SR500,000 ($133,200) when only two months ago the same would have cost over SR1 million ($266,400).”
All the countries that have a fast-track citizenship by investment program offer a powerful passport that allows visa-free entry up to 146 countries. These countries include nations under the Schengen zone as well as the UK, China, Singapore and Russia, which is another exciting destination for Saudi nationals as it will be holding the World Cup in 2018. Caribbean countries also have strong ties with the GCC, which makes their passports very popular among Middle Eastern investors.