CaribbeanIntel & Data

Grenada CIP Shattered Records in ’22: Backlog Alone Worth US$300m+

2022 was the year Grenada’s Citizenship by Investment Program joined its peers in Saint Kitts & Nevis and Dominica to become the third Caribbean CIP in history to receive more than a thousand applications in a single year. Q4 2022 statistics released by the country’s Finance Ministry last week reveal Grenada’s program broke a wide array of its own records:

To start with, 1,251 investors filed applications in 2022, a figure that exceeds the previous record (from 2021) by 121%. Three-quarters of those applications (920) stem from the second half of 2022, a period during most of which Grenada was the sole Caribbean CIP open to Russians.

Grenada's CIU appears to have been unprepared for the sudden tripling in monthly application volume observed in the second half of the year. While the average monthly application volume rose from around 50 to about 150, the rate at which the CIU processed applications remained relatively flat at about 30 applications per month throughout 2022.

The inevitable consequence has been the accumulation of a historically unprecedented backlog of unprocessed applications, which, by the end of 2022, had reached 1,181 files.

Assuming the CIU will approve 90% of those (historical rejection rates range from 2% to 17%) and that the revenue-per-applicant remains the same as in 2022 (US$294,000 on average), the program has latent revenues of US$312 million amassed within its processing backlog.

The failure to scale up processing in response to soaring demand notwithstanding, the CIU approved a record 453 applications (up 13% on the year), resulting in the granting of 1,486 new citizenships, another record.

As a consequence, the program saw revenues (the sum of private investments, NTF donations, and government fees) reach an all-time high of EC$359 million (US$133m), a 27% improvement from 2021.

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Not since 2015 has the share of Grenada CIP applicants who chose real estate investment over the donation option been higher: 73% of approved applicants in 2022 acquired real estate, and the proportions are similar also for those whose applications have not yet been processed.

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As a general rule, average revenue per approval is - understandably - positively correlated with the proportion of applicants who pick the property investment option. The real estate option's rising popularity, therefore, has coincided with record per-approval revenue of nearly US$300,000.

In December, Grenadian Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell indicated his administration was budgeting for around 750 application approvals in 2023. At the time, we argued this projection was conservative given the size of the backlog. Now that the backlog has expanded further still, that argument has only strengthened. Even if Grenada receives zero new applications in 2023, it can still set all-time approval and revenue records by merely processing the applications it already has on hand.

Application volume, however, is not likely to keep rising. It has already receded somewhat from the sky-high levels observed in the fall of 2022. The recent passage of the AMIGOS Act - which may end up preventing CBI-origin citizens from acquiring E2 visas to the US - is likely to exert downward pressure on application volume in Q1 of this year.

If you like data-driven articles like this one, you'll love the IMI Data Center, the world's largest collection of investment migration statistics, with more than 350 graphs and charts on dozens of IM programs and markets.

Christian Henrik Nesheim AdministratorKeymaster

Christian Henrik Nesheim is the founder and editor of Investment Migration Insider, the #1 magazine - online or offline - for residency and citizenship by investment. He is an internationally recognized expert, speaker, documentary producer, and writer on the subject of investment migration, whose work is cited in the Economist, Bloomberg, Fortune, Forbes, Newsweek, and Business Insider. Norwegian by birth, Christian has spent the last 16 years in the United States, China, Spain, and Portugal.

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