Syrians, Yemenis and Lebanese were the top three nationalities that contributed to increased demand
The fourth quarter of 2017 has seen a 76 percent increase in the number of high-net worth families seeking second passports from Europe or the Caribbean, largely driven by demand from the GCC, according to Jeremy Savory, the CEO and founder of citizenship by investment company Savory & Partners.
The top three nationalities that contributed to the spike in demand were Syrians (31 percent), Yemenis (18.6 percent) and Lebanese (9.7 percent), although Yemenis still account for less than 10 percent of overall demand.
According to Savory & Partners, much of the demand has been triggered by continued political and economic instability in the region, as well as the restrictive immigration policies of some Middle East governments, as well as the United States.
Additionally, a number of countries – such as Antigua and Barbuda, Saint Kitts and Nevis and Grenada – significantly decreased prices, which, in turn, further increased application volumes.
Notably, Savory noted that demand will subside after March 31, when prices are expected to increase following a six-month period for the St. Kitts and Nevis Hurricane Relief Fund (HRF).
"The last quarter of 2017 saw a great increase in the number of families applying for second citizenship,” said Savory. “The main reason is that the country of Saint Kitts and Nevis, for instance, is accepting a family of four members for as low as $150,000, when five months ago it would have cost more than $300,000.
“However, this option expires in 50 days’ time, so applicants should start preparing their files immediately,” he added.
Savory & Partners is one of the few companies in the GCC to be accredited by all five of the Caribbean jurisdictions that offer citizenship-by-investment programmes, which allow visa-free entry into more than 140 countries including the Schengen zone, the UK, China, Singapore and Russia.
"This means we are not limited when trying to help our clients find the most affordable programme,” Savory noted. “Even when the HRF will end…there are other options."