The power of having a strong passport in times of crisis is the ultimate insurance policy. The flexibility of being able to select a safe destination where you can take your family to in times of emergency is priceless.
In a matter of months, COVID-19 has triggered the worst crisis of the last century which has accelerated the path to deglobalization. People all over the world have found themselves stuck in their countries of residence, subject to their own Governments’ decisions and many affected by extreme weak healthcare systems.
Looking back, when the pandemic started, those with strong passports had the option to move their families to a stable country with a reliable healthcare system. They could feel safe under Governments that made sensible decisions. On the other hand, those who hold less desirable passports were stuck in their home countries without the possibility of moving elsewhere, at least temporarily. Having gone through this experience, they have realized that they need a solid plan, one which grants them security. Obtaining a second a passport that allows them to travel outside their countries when needed ensures their families’ safety.
As the CEO of Citizenship Invest, a leading immigration firm in Middle East, in the past few months I have seen a steep increase on enquiries.
Several clients who have been considering applying for a long time have made the decision of going ahead with their applications after the pandemic. COVID-19 has triggered a sense of urgency, especially amongst those with restrictive nationalities who live in unstable countries.
In the past two years, we saw a steep increase of travel visa rejections and the main reason being ‘insufficient proof the person will not remain in the country’. As a result of COVID-19, countries are becoming more cautious in issuing visas.
A re-shuffle of people around the world is taking place. Millions have lost their jobs or simply cannot sustain themselves in their countries of residence following steep salary reductions and indefinite unpaid leave. People are actively, more than we’ve ever seen, looking into options.
Fast Citizenship programs of the Caribbean Community have been popular amongst HNWI in Middle East. St Kitts and Nevis, Commonwealth of Dominica, Grenada, St Lucia and Antigua and Barbuda have been the stars of the citizenship by investment industry for a long time. The main drive for an applicant in the Middle East to choose one of these programs used to be ease of travel. Nowadays, in times of crisis, aside from the advantages that these passports offer when it comes to free mobility, there are additional benefits that will also start to matter.
On a positive note, as a reaction to COVID-19 many of the Caribbean Governments with Citizenship by Investment programs have amended their legislations to make them more accessible. In the past two months five Governments have reduced their prices by an average of 20%. Some of them have temporary offers which end in three months-time.
There are plenty of options for citizenship and residency programs which would suit a person’s needs and life plans. Nevertheless, when selecting a suitable company to work with one must ensure that they thoroughly explain the legislation of each country and the details of the benefits and also the responsibilities of acquiring a particular citizenship or residency in the long term.
Any opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own
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© Opinion 2020