London: The affluent class in India is moving abroad through large investments in exchange for citizenship or residency in another country, according to CS Global Partners, a London-headquartered citizenship advisory firm. In 2018, a report from Morgan Stanley Bank on Wall Street indicated that 23,000 Indian millionaires had left the country since 2014. More recently, a report by the Global Wealth Migration Review found that nearly 5,000 millionaires, or two percent of all high-net-worth individuals in India, moved abroad in 2020 alone.
Currently, India is home to 6,884 ultra-high-net-worth individuals and 113 billionaires. During the pandemic, forty Indians entered the billionaires’ club to take the number of those in the coveted list to 177 people.
CS Global Partners’ Director, Paul Singh, said that although interest in Citizenship by Investment has always been high in India, it has “increased significantly” over the course of the pandemic and is expected to grow in the coming years. He attributes this exodus of the rich partly to India moving from a residence-based tax system to a citizenship-based tax system, similar to that of the United States, in March 2020. “For the wealthy, second citizenship from a Caribbean country like St Kitts and Nevis can provide a future with more international business, travel and education opportunities. It’s the perfect Plan B,” Singh added.
Mohit Lal, an Indian entrepreneur, said he chose St Kitts and Nevis’ Citizenship by Investment (CBI) Programme over others in the market because of its short processing time and visa-free travel options. “It has greatly helped how I conduct my business. I no longer need to apply for a visa and wait for an answer for weeks. My overall impression of St Kitts and Nevis has been overwhelmingly positive. The people are friendly with a great energy and there is always some activity being worked on. It’s a beautiful place to live.”
Of all CBI programmes, St Kitts and Nevis remains a popular choice for investors seeking a second citizenship. Its longevity within the investment migration realm has become the industry’s ‘Platinum Standard’. Applicants who pass the necessary security checks unlock access to visa-free and visa-on-arrival travel to 156 destinations, the right to live, work and study in the nation and build a legacy by passing down citizenship for generations to come. Economic citizens also gain access to quality education to healthcare.
Under an extended offer, families of up to four can contribute US$150,000 instead of US$195,000 to the Sustainable Growth Fund and become economic citizens.