Moving into the third quarter of 2019, St.Kitts& Nevis hold onto the top spot in the OECS, on the Index, with a visa-free/visa-on-arrival score of 152.
This latest ranking of passport power and global mobility – which is based on exclusive data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) – saw the twin island gain visa-free access to Serbia, while losing visa-on-arrival access to Djibouti and Benin due to the adoption of an e-visa policy in these territories.
Managing Partner of Henley & Partners St. Kitts & Nevis, Chanée Isaac, expresses:
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“The takeaway is that our passport continues to shine as a highly sort after passport, which translates to better quality investment opportunities for the island.”
In the Q2 rankings, St. Kitts and Nevis (now ranking 26th globally in the Q3) and Antigua and Barbuda were separated by only one spot on the rankings; they are now separated by three spots – landing Antigua and Barbuda the second spot in the OECS in the Q3 ranking.
Saint Lucia and Grenada both remain relatively steady, with slight changes in rank occurring because of movements higher up on the index.
Visa-Openness and Progressive Reform Linked to Ranking
Political science researchers UğurAltundal and ÖmerZarpli, of Syracuse University and the University of Pittsburgh respectively, have found that there is a link between visa-openness and progressive reform, and that a country’s ranking on the index reveals far more than simply the number of destinations its holders are able to access. Altundal and Zarpli’s unique research shows that even short-term travel mobility, which represents 85% of all cross-border movements, can positively influence political liberalization and democratization. Conversely, countries moving towards nationalist isolationism and away from policies that encourage visa-openness are likely to drop in the Henley Passport Index rankings and incur geopolitical consequences for themselves and their neighbors.
Altundal and Zarpli observe that “the prospect of visa-waiver agreements with the EU has encouraged neighboring countries to adopt important reforms in areas such as civil and political rights, rule of law, and security,” and note that freedom of movement appears to be a vital pre-condition not only for economic growth, but also for social integration and progressive political change. With nationalism on the rise, and global powerhouses like the UK and the US embracing policies that limit freedom of movement, this new research indicates that associated impacts on political rights, rule of law, security and democracy could be profound.
Commenting on these developments,Dr. Christian H. Kaelin, Chairman of Henley & Partners and the creator of the passport index concept, says: “With a few notable exceptions, the latest rankings from the Henley Passport Index show that countries around the world increasingly view visa-openness as crucial to economic and social progress. Discussions of passport power and global mobility tend to focus on the benefits for the countries with the strongest passports. However, this latest unique research appears to confirm something that many of us already knew intuitively: that increased visa-openness benefits the entire global community, and not just the strongest countries.”
Investment Migration Countries Secure Strong Positions
Countries with citizenship-by-investment (CBI) programs continue to perform strongly on the Henley Passport Index, and demonstrate a similar connection between passport power and economic and social progress. Moving up from the 8th place spot it held last quarter, Malta now sits alone in 7th place with a visa-free/visa-on-arrival score of 182, just one spot behind the UK and the US. Cyprus retains its 16th place on the index, with a score of 172, while the Caribbean nation of Antigua and Barbuda is now in 29th place, with a score of 147, rising 11 places over the past decade.
Dr.Juerg Steffen, the CEO of Henley & Partners, says: “Citizenship- and residence-by-investment programs are becoming more sought after, and these latest results make it easy to see why. Look at Malta’s position on the index, for example. For wealthy investors, the acquisition of a passport that gives its holders visa-free access to 182 destinations around the world is genuinely life-changing. And we know now that the benefits of these programs go both ways. Since the introduction of its citizenship-by-investment program, Malta has attracted significant foreign direct investment, dramatically reduced its overall debt levels, become one of the most financially dynamic countries in the EU, and created employment opportunities that have improved the lives of all its citizens.”
Notes to editors
About the 2019 Henley Passport Index
Including cutting-edge expert commentary and historical data spanning 14 years, the Henley Passport Index is the original ranking of all the world’s passports according to the number of destinations their holders can access without a prior visa. The ranking is based on exclusive data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA), which maintains the world’s largest and most accurate database of travel information, and it is enhanced by extensive, ongoing research by the Henley & Partners Research Department.
The Henley Passport Index is updated in real-time, as and when visa-policy changes come into effect. Along with the Kälin – Kochenov Quality of Nationality Index, it is considered a major reference tool for global citizens and the standard reference for governments in this field.
About the Henley Passport Index website
The Henley Passport Index website provides up-to-date, printable lists of the countries you can access visa-free, with an e-visa, with a visa on arrival, or with a normal visa. It also allows you to compare the strength of passports and understand how you might improve your travel freedom with alternative citizenship. Visit the website to view and download the global ranking and find out more about the power of your passport.
Global headlines for Q3 2019
- Japan and Singapore hold joint top spot on the Henley Passport Index.
- Finland, Germany, and South Korea hold 2nd place.
- Denmark, Italy, and Luxembourg hold 3rd place, while France has dropped to 4th place, sharing this position with Spain and Sweden.
- The UK and the US now share 6th place, along with Belgium, Canada, Greece, Ireland, and Norway.
- The UAE enters the top 20 for the first time. The country has climbed a record-breaking 41 places over the past decade.
- Other strong climbers include Taiwan, which has climbed 24 places over the past ten years and now sits in 30th place, and Serbia, which has also climbed 24 places in the past decade and is now 41st place.
- Afghanistan sits alone in 109th and last place, with a visa-free/visa-on-arrival score of just 25.
Regional headlines for Q3 2019
- In Africa: The Seychelles, Mauritius, and South Africa, respectively, continue to hold the top 3 spots. The Seychelles and Mauritius are the only African countries to have made gains in their scores over the past decade. South Africa has dropped 19 places in that period, as has Kenya.
- In the Middle East: The UAE remains in 1st place, with Israel in 2nd place, and Turkey in 3rd place. The UAE and Israel are the only two countries in the region to have made gains in their scores over the past decade. Iraq, Syria, and Yemen have all dropped 20 or more places during that period.
- In the Caribbean: The top 3 spots are held by Barbados, the Bahamas, and St. Kitts and Nevis, respectively. A number of Caribbean countries have made strong gains over the past decade. The Bahamas and St. Kitts and Nevis have both climbed 12 places, while Antigua and Barbuda and Trinidad and Tobago have both climbed 11 places.
- In Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States: Ukraine holds 1st place, Moldova holds 2nd place, and Russia holds 3rd place. Turkmenistan remains the poorest performer in the region, now in 93rd place globally, having dropped 19 places over the past decade.
- In Southeast Asia: Singapore, Malaysia, and Brunei, respectively, hold the top 3 spots.
- In North Asia: Japan is the global and regional leader, with South Korea and Hong Kong holding 2nd and 3rd place in the region.
About Henley & Partners
Henley & Partners is the global leader in residence and citizenship planning. Each year, hundreds of wealthy individuals and their advisors rely on our expertise and experience in this area. The firm’s highly qualified professionals work together as one team in over 30 offices worldwide.
The concept of residence and citizenship planning was created by Henley & Partners in the 1990s. As globalization has expanded, residence and citizenship have become topics of significant interest among the increasing number of internationally mobile entrepreneurs and investors whom we proudly serve every day.
The firm also runs a leading government advisory practice that has raised more than USD 8 billion in foreign direct investment. Trusted by governments, the firm has been involved in strategic consulting and in the design, set-up, and operation of the world’s most successful residence and citizenship programs.
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