(International Investment) -- The Caribbean countries have seen a surge in demand in their citizenship-by-investment schemes as more high-net-worth expats from the UAE are seeking a second passport.
The demand for a second passport among expatriates in the UAE has increased by 67% in the first six months of this year compared to the same period last year, according to statistics gathered by Bluemina, an immigration company in the UAE.
According to the latest report released by Professional Wealth Management, Dominica, St Kitts Nevis, Grenada, Antigua and Barbuda, St Lucia, Vanuatu, Cyprus, Malta, Bulgaria, Turkey and Austria have some of the most sought after citizenship-by-investment schemes.
For example, citizenships from St Lucia and Dominica can be obtained in a few months for around $100,000 without any obligation to live there for any amount of time.
The research also showed there is also an increase in the number of families applying for second citizenships over single applicants. The main reason is that countries like St Kitts and Nevis, and Antigua and Barbuda are accepting a family of four members for $135,000.
Last year, as many as 83% of high-net-worth individuals applying for a second passport in the UAE were families.
The demand also increased across the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) by 30% in 2017-18.
“Citizenship-by-investment is a tool for ultra-rich to get hassle-free visas because these are powerful passports, allowing you to travel visa-free to 127 countries including Europe and Russia. Many rich expats here have wealth and changing citizenship gives them visa-free travel and also help in tax planning.
“A lot of rich Indians and Egyptians are taking up this citizenship-by-investment and giving up their first passports. Because if any tax resident rescinds local citizenship, he will be liable to file tax liabilities only on local income and not on foreign income,” Imran Farooq, CEO of AAA Associates, an advisory firm in citizenship-by-investment programmes, told local media outlet Khaleej Times.
High-net-worth families in the GCC contributed to a 76% in demand for second passports from Europe or the Caribbean in the last quarter of 2017.