Henley & Partners, the global leaders in residence and citizenship planning, has released “Global Residence and Citizenship Programs 2015”. This insightful 130 page report uses unprecedented objective and scientific methodology to systematically analyze 19 of the most relevant residence-by-investment programs and seven citizenship-by-investment programs available throughout the world today.
Compiled in three easy to follow sections, the report starts with expert commentary from leading lights in the investor immigration industry including Damien Martinez of Thomson Reuters in Paris, Liam Bailey, Global Head of Residential Research of Knight Frank in London, Irene Mia of the Economist Intelligence Unit in London, Marnin J. Michaels, Partner at Baker & McKenzie in Zurich, Caron Pope, the Managing Partner of Fragomen LLP in London, and Madeleine Sumption, Director at the Migration, Observatory of the University of Oxford.
The Report details the outcomes of the Global Residence Program Index (GRPI) and the Global Citizenship Program Index (GCPI) in sections two and three respectively. It will be updated annually.
These two Indexes gauge and reflect the relative worth of residence and citizenship programs around the world through a benchmarking process. They analyze a broad range of factors such as immigration law, tax, and quality of living, as well as transparency, risk and compliance issues, from multiple sources to produce an overall global view and ranking of the different investment migration programs.
Out of the 19 residence programs reviewed, Portugal’s Golden Residence Permit Program has emerged as the world’s best residence-by-investment program in 2015. It was followed by Austria and Belgium in second and third place respectively.
The programs were ranked according to 10 indicators: Reputation, Quality of Life, Tax, Visa Free Access, Processing Time and Quality of Processing, Compliance, Investment Requirements, Total Costs, Time to Citizenship and Citizenship Requirements.
Out of the 10 indicators measured, Portugal ranked highest on the Total Costs indicator due to the fact that the total investment requirement is significantly lower than other residence programs.
It shared first place with Malta, Monaco and the United Arab Emirates for the lighter tax burdens placed on residents on both personal and corporate levels. Portugal was joined by fellow Schengen area countries Malta, Monaco, Switzerland, Latvia, Austria, Spain, Belgium and Greece in first place for the Visa Free Access it provides to 25 countries. The United States (US) came in second place. In terms of Processing Time and Quality of Processing, Portugal shared the top spot with Malta, Switzerland and Austria, for their straightforward and efficient processing procedures.
Under Reputation, a factor which places reliance on the perceptions of investors and advisors regarding the image of countries in which they invest, Switzerland narrowly beat Canada to first place while Austria came in third. However, Austria emerged as the leader in Quality of Life, ahead of Canada in second place followed by Switzerland. Austria continues to dominate in the Investment Requirements category, followed by Belgium and Malta respectively.
Interestingly, Citizenship Requirements, the indicator that analyzes the requirements needed to qualify for naturalization after the required minimum time is fulfilled, was led by three non-European Union countries, namely Australia, Canada and the US.
Contributor Ms. Borgeaud Pierazzi, a Senior Economist at the IMD World Competitiveness Center, in Lausanne, Switzerland, commented, “The IMD World Competitiveness Ranking and the Global Residence Program Index largely coincide; although there are few exceptions. In the competitiveness rankings, Singapore, Hong Kong and UAE are placed in the top half of the group (3rd, 4th and 8th respectively) while they rank in the bottom half of the Global Residence Program Index (14th, 16th and 15th respectively). Similarly, Portugal ranks 43rd in the competitiveness ranking (bottom half) while it ranks first in the Global Residence Program Index.”
Using a similar methodology to the one deployed for the GRPI, the GCPI ranked the Malta Individual Investor Programme (IIP) in first place with a score of 76. It ranked higher than Cyprus (63), Austria (61), Antigua and Barbuda (60), St. Kitts and Nevis (59), Grenada (48) and Dominica (45).
The seven citizenship-by-investment programs were also ranked according to 10 similar but slightly different indicators from the GRPI: Reputation, Quality of Life, Visa Free Access, Processing Time, Compliance, Investment Requirements, Residence Requirements, Relocation Flexibility, Physical Visit Required and Transparency.
Although Malta ranked consistently in the top three across all indicators, it emerged as the clear leader for Compliance, the procedures and components with regard to due diligence requirements for profiling the backgrounds of applicants. Antigua and Barbuda came in second and Austria third.
The Malta IIP is widely considered the world’s most advanced and most exclusive citizenship-by-investment program. The position in the GRCI ranking confirms this based on solid research.
Interestingly, Austria was ranked the highest across the Reputation, Quality of Life and Visa Free Access indicators. But, it came in last on Residence Requirements and on Investment Requirements. Cyprus also performed consistently well across the indicators emerging as the leader on Relocation Flexibility ahead of Malta and Austria.
Eric G. Major, CEO of Henley & Partners comments, “The concept of residence and citizenship planning was pioneered by Henley & Partners in 1990s when it was considered to have little relevance. Over the years, it has grown into a multi-Billion Dollar industry. In that time we have aligned ourselves with visionaries and fellow pioneers, experts in this growing field with whom we have had the privilege of working to create this report, and in devising a comprehensive standard for assessment when no publicly available reliable source currently exists.”
Major moves on to explain that these Indexes are “highly relevant to all those interested in alternative residence or citizenship options, but also for industry professionals, private client advisors and others with an interest in the subject, as well as governments of countries who operate such programs.”
Available in an easy to read A4 softback book and as an eBook, the report is available to purchase online at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and iTunes among others.
“This report and the two indexes presented here come at the right moment. While the number of residence and citizenship programs on offer around the world has been steeply on the rise in recent years, professional comparative analyses of such programs, let alone their reliable rankings, are rare. It goes without saying that comparisons illuminate, as they empower informed choices.” Prof. Dr. Dimitry Kochenov, University of Groningen, The Netherlands from “Introduction: A Glimpse of Global Trend” included in the Report.
Henley & Partners is the global leader in residence and citizenship planning. Each year, hundreds of wealthy individuals, families and their advisors rely on their expertise and experience in this area.
The concept of residence and citizenship planning was created by Henley & Partners in the 1990s. As globalization has expanded, residence and citizenship have become topics of significant interest among the increasing number of internationally mobile entrepreneurs and investors who work with Henley & Partners.
The firm also runs a government advisory practice, and have been involved in strategic consulting and the design, set-up and operation of several of the world’s most successful residence and citizenship programs which attracted have more than USD 4 billion in foreign direct investment to date.