Paul Singh is the Director of CS Global Partners, headquartered in Mayfair, London. CS Global Partners is a global marketing agency specializing in attracting foreign direct investment through powerful marketing. Paul was born in Scotland but sees himself as a ‘citizen of the world’. Except for English, he also speaks Punjabi and Hindi, and is experienced in the Far East and Asia market. He studied Accountancy and Business.
Just like others in our interconnected world, the Indian citizen treasures her freedom to travel, to as many places as her passport permits, whether for reasons of work, leisure or family. But for much of 2020 and 2021, the pandemic took away that freedom. Thanks to the closing of borders and curbs on travel, the world came home, as conferences, seminars and meetings were conducted virtually. Global Mobility was majorly, and adversely, impacted.
Now that many travel restrictions have been lifted, business professionals have been giving due consideration to the idea of dual citizenship, for the scope it allows them to stay on the move, as and when necessary, and help them diversify and expand their assets and investments—even, and especially, during times of crisis. In the wake of the health emergency that has preoccupied us for the best part of two years, the Citizenship by Investment (CBI) programme has been attracting the attention of high net-worth individuals, who might privately have been chafing against the constraints that loyalty to a single country imposed.
So, what exactly is second citizenship, and in what ways can it enhance Global Mobility for Indians?
Citizenship by Investment can be acquired via a direct donation to a government, or a personal investment in that jurisdiction, with the funds going towards the development of the country. This monetary contribution entitles the investor and their family to become citizens of the said sovereign nation. Alongside offering safety, economic opportunity and financial freedom, and guaranteeing the highest standards of living, alternate citizenship also facilitates unlimited access to the majority of destinations across the world.
For example, under the St. Kitts and Nevis Citizenship by Investment programme, a successful applicant and their family can “enjoy full citizenship for life, which can be passed on to future generations by descent.” More pertinently, a St. Kitts and Nevis passport—just like one of Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, and Saint Lucia, the other Caribbean island nations with similar programmes—can guarantee visa-free or visa-on-arrival travel to many territories.
Each of the abovementioned motivators is key to Indians deciding to move to a new land to better their future prospects. But for the purposes of this article, the focus is on how Global Mobility drives that decision.
Moving home, to stay mobile
While several countries have Citizenship by Investment programmes, the five in the Caribbean can boast programmes that are among the most successful when it comes to inviting the interest of investors. That these island nations are located close to North America and not too far from Europe—both continents well connected by air—ticks all the Global Mobility boxes, and makes them the ideal target destination for those seeking dual citizenship. Further, each of the five is also a member of the Commonwealth, which provides ‘second citizens’ select privileges in the UK and other Commonwealth countries.
For India’s high-net-worth individuals, the biggest takeaway from being a dual citizen is that this very status exposes you to a multiplicity of international and regional business opportunities, in a host of markets and hubs. Such a scenario would be difficult to imagine if you own just a single passport, which tends to limit travel options. Additionally, by having two passports, you are unlikely to miss out on business openings, or not be able to take advantage of a favourable economic wind.
So, if you succeed in your application to become a citizen of any of the territories running CBI programmes, you can apply for and are eligible to receive a second passport, which privilege allows you to undertake international travel freely and at your own convenience, for whatever reason you choose. No more dithering over that next holiday, the next family get-together, or, more importantly, that next business trip.
For Indian investors and their families, the search for a secure and stable life ends right here, with the Citizenship by Investment programme. Because migration opens the way to increased mobility and takes away all the worries and disruptions that travel bottlenecks bring. While an Indian passport will always ensure that you can return to the comforts of home, second citizenship is your window to the world, an open door to the benefits of Global Mobility.