Questioned as to which investment migration program’s processing unit had been the most efficient during the preceding year (2022), 10 out of 40 executives responding to the 2023 Investment Migration Executive Survey pointed to the Dominica CIU, a share that’s twice as large as that of the runners-up, the Community Malta Agency and the Saint Kitts & Nevis CIU.
Meanwhile, Portugal’s SEF, which 1 in 6 respondents in 2021 identified as the most efficient processing unit, fell off the efficiency ranking entirely this year. Saint Lucia’s CIU, rated the most efficient unit in 2021, received only 5% of the vote in 2023.
Best-selling programs last year: Portugal golden visa and Saint Kitts & Nevis CIP
The program preferences of our respondents' clients have changed notably in just a few years. 55% of companies said their best-selling program (by client volume) over the last year was either the Saint Kitts & Nevis CIP or the Portugal Golden Visa, followed by Dominica at 10%.
The strong showing of Portugal’s program is noteworthy, considering the extreme delays and the hiatus in acceptance of new files that marred this program in the first half of 2022.
The share of firms that cited the Saint Kitts & Nevis CIP as their best-selling program has nearly doubled in two years. Only 1 in 40 firms now list the CIP of Antigua & Barbuda - the best-seller in 2019 - as their clients’ top choice.
Executives expect sharp decline in interest for Saint Kitts & Nevis CIP in favor of Saint Lucia
For 2023, however, executives have high expectations for Saint Lucia’s CIP, which has recently reduced its asking price for real estate and ramped up its processing capacity. At the same time, they expect the relative popularity of Saint Kitts & Nevis’ CIP to diminish sharply, perhaps as a consequence of that program’s real estate shakeup.
Commenting on the industry's lofty expectations for Saint Lucia, Philippe May - CEO of Singapore-based IM specialist EC Holdings - attributed these to bureaucratic factors reducing demand for Saint Lucia's competitors, the program's relative affordability for single applicants, and its lack of appearances in unfavorable news stories.
"Saint Kitts & Nevis, for example, has just come out with totally unnecessary new requirements to have documents apostilled if they are issued by a country that's a member of the Hague Convention," explains May. "So, a certified true copy is no longer enough in Saint Kitts & Nevis for documents from, say, the US, Switzerland, or Singapore, which is simply ridiculous"
Saint Lucia, he says, "has stayed out of the limelight for a long time, and they run a pretty clean shop."
"I hope they keep it up and that they don't allow the [CBI real estate] finance option," he adds, referring to the unauthorized discounting tendency plaguing the Caribbean CIPs.
Respondents also expect Portugal’s Golden Visa to do well this year, despite (or perhaps because of) what appears to be its imminent closure.
Investment Migration Executive Survey
The 2023 Investment Migration Executive Survey surveys 40 of the world's leading multinational, multi-program investment migration firms to find answers to questions like:
- Which are currently the largest client source markets?
- Which are the fastest-growing source markets?
- In which regions are IM firms planning to open new offices?
- Which are currently the best-selling programs?
- Which programs do executives expect to be the best-sellers this year?
- Which programs are rising and falling most in popularity?
- Which programs have the most efficient processing units?
- Which industry developments worry executives the most?
- Which industry developments to executives expect in the future?
- What is the typical age of investor migrants?
- What are investor migrants' primary motivating factors?
- What are investor migrants' most common sources of wealth?
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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.