There has been a major shift in the source of second-citizenship investors.
Kal Kennard, Co-Founder & Managing Director of Citizens International, explains who Antigua’s citizenship investors are today in the article below, quoted from her recent piece in The Citizen Magazine. Kennard details how a good number of Citizens International’s clients seek personal safety and lifestyle improvement. Read the full article below to learn more insights!
By Kal Kennard for The Citizen Magazine
From the man who has built a simple yet successful spice trading business between India and Africa, to the well-educated woman based between Switzerland and Tel-Aviv who earns her income strategically investing in international stock markets, there is a broad array of individuals worldwide who are attracted to become citizens of Antigua & Barbuda.
It appears a shift is afoot in the motivations for a second citizenship here however, and the source market for such clients.
Fifteen years ago, the market for the Caribbean citizenship by investment programs was predominantly Asian. Thereafter, we saw an expansion to the Middle East and CIS region, and in recent years a bloom in interest from the North African market. These markets remain strong for the Antigua & Barbuda program, and all remain primarily motivated by travel benefits – let’s not forget Antigua & Barbuda passport holders can travel to over 140 countries including the U.K and Europe.
These same applicants, however, harbour secondary and even tertiary motivations that are gaining importance in their decision matrix. I refer to personal safety – of having somewhere to go if needed, and of lifestyle improvement – life on a tropical island such as Antigua & Barbuda is enticing as the country continues to develop and improve, sometimes even offering things the leading countries of the world no longer do.
Where do today’s investors come from?
In 2022, our clients for the Antigua & Barbuda citizenship by investment program (CIP) came from 16 countries and counting, with enquiries from well over 40 countries. However, it’s evident there has been a major shift in provenance that escalated with the covid era. In a nutshell, we’re seeing a growing number of North Americans and western Europeans desirous of citizenship of Antigua & Barbuda.
Citizens International 2022 – top 12 nationalities of our clients.
These are individuals who previously would barely entertain a conversation about a second passport, stating confidently “I don’t need that” – a refrain I’ve heard over and over. I understood, being blessed with two ‘first world’ passports myself, the built-in sense of security, however in recent years we have all seen significant shifts in the world.
Many international borders became, during Covid, difficult to cross without an alternative citizenship. Social division is inflamed, nationalism is on the rise and every week we hear concerns from western clients for the next generation. Some of our North American and European clients are looking to Antigua & Barbuda as a place that might yet survive the ravages of what they see as a catastrophic pathway for western society.
Whether or not that’s true, I know that today’s lifestyle here in Antigua is attracting more and more international people who want to become citizens and thereby protect their right and freedom to live here and contribute to the economy here to boot. Their commonality being their dissatisfaction with their home countries and equally strong desire for a better quality of life, and let’s not forget lower taxes.
Of the hundreds of conversations our team has had with North American and European clients these past few years, the desire to potentially live in Antigua and improve one’s lifestyle for mental and physical health reasons has been key. Antigua’s climate alone offers one of the most attractive lifestyles anywhere in the world.
The explosion in wealth and remote work technology has underpinned this, and the result is our clients’ profiles have shifted from the Shanghai factory owner, or Lagos gas stations owner both of whom desire visa-free travel benefits, to the marketing CEO from Toronto who is hedging his bets against a perceived looming ‘nanny’ state, can work remotely and wants his kids to grow up barefoot on the beach, whilst enjoying lower taxes.
The economic effects of these new western citizens over the next decade will be pronounced in Antigua & Barbuda. Almost all our North American and European citizenship applicants will buy a home here, they will spend extended periods of time here, contribute to their local community, and will start businesses here.
As a group I believe they will drive one of the most significant economic contributions the country has ever seen – attracting more and more like them, and helping to stem the long-lamented ‘brain-drain’ of talented young Antiguans, and more besides.
We think this rising tide will lift all boats, and now is a wonderful time for Antigua & Barbuda. We continue to proudly champion the island internationally and believe strongly that all Antiguans and Barbudans will collectively benefit from being a secure, multi-cultural, developing paradise.