Historically, the appeal of Citizenship by Investment has largely anchored upon greater mobility, but should it be the only reason to get one?
Change is the only constant
As we have recently witnessed with the Caribbean – the originator of the CBI industry – relationships between countries change because our global political landscape continues to evolve. Back in July, the UK imposed visa restrictions on Dominica over security concerns pertaining to its CBI program. If the UK is concerned, the EU could be next; and if one CBI nation faces restrictions, the others could be a target as well. Will a second citizenship continue to be a sure-fire way of increasing your visa-free access to the rest of the world? Maybe, maybe not; but it can offer much more, which is why it shouldn’t be your only reason to pursue a second citizenship.
Global politics are volatile, generally characterized by unpredictability and uncertainty. Let’s take the UK itself for example – one day you’re moving freely across the EU and the next day, Brexit comes along and you’re applying for a visa, filling out more paperwork to do business and getting a customs clearance at the border. If ties between the UK and EU can dwindle, where does it leave the rest of us?
Relationships between countries that offer opportunity and countries where opportunity is scarce, are far more volatile. The chances of internal instability are far more likely. And even if we consider things on a macroscopic scale, nobody could have predicted the massive outbreak and utter chaos of Covid-19, which completely disrupted global supply chains and brought international movement to a complete standstill.
While there may be nuance to this, it is a fact that your access to opportunity remains dependent on your identity, despite how far we may have come on that front. The now nearly two-year long conflict between Russia and Ukraine serves as a perfect example – war may be fought by a country, but it is the people who bear the losses.
When Russian banks were excluded from SWIFT, people whose entire businesses relied on the export of agricultural products were unable to receive payments. When Russia’s currency fell to record lows, people whose life savings were in Rubles suffered from terrible inflation. When the world’s major energy and shipping companies divested from Russia, people lost their jobs in an economy on the verge of crippling.
Let’s say they had obtained the citizenship – and therefore, the identity – of any one of the Caribbean nations that offer it, it would have been far easier to diversify. Whether it was to operate a different business in a different industry anywhere else in the world, or to hold savings in a stabler currency in an international bank account, or even to relocate and start anew. But this door, too, has closed to those with a Russian identity because the Caribbean no longer accepts their applications. Belonging to a country that has had a history of political instability, those who foresaw the potential of an ensuing conflict and invested in a second citizenship are much better off today than those who didn’t. That is why it’s crucial never to keep all your eggs in one basket.
Plan ahead, stay head
So, what is the solution? It is to not wait for things to take a turn for the worse before taking action, especially when there is a clear way out – those who plan ahead will stay ahead. You never know what could come your way tomorrow, so become a Global Citizen, today.