Research by Deep Knowledge Analytics (DKA), conducted on six parameters related to healthcare systems, has highlighted this crucial aspect in golden visa programs; Spain, reinforced after the report.

The world before COVID-19, which now seems so long ago, was radically different in many ways. Our way of relating to each other, having fun, or living our daily lives was not the same. Neither were our goals and ambitions. The pandemic has generated a certain sense of helplessness in global society, and many of our life priorities have been recalibrated. Security has overtaken purely economic factors on the right. And that, of course, has led to changes in the Citizenship and Residency by Investment (CBI and RBI, respectively) programs, also known as golden visas.

Before this health crisis, investors chose where to live or get a second passport based on factors such as quality of life, educational options, or freedom of movement. Now, other attractions have emerged: security, access to world-class healthcare, reliability of infrastructure, risk management or, most importantly, stability for families.

This article will therefore delve into a new field of analysis that will prove crucial in the years to come: that of the joint evaluation of health security and the characteristics of each country's golden visa programs. Because, as of March 2020, a passport no longer only offers economic, mobility or legal conditions. It is also a safeguard to a good healthcare system.

Nuestro análisis se apoyará en los seis parámetros principales utilizados en la Evaluación de Seguridad Regional ante el COVID-19 de Deep Knowledge Analytics (DKA). Dichos parámetros son la eficiencia gubernamental en la gestión de riesgos, la preparación para emergencias, la vigilancia y la detección, la eficiencia de la cuarentena, la preparación sanitaria y la vulnerabilidad del país. Cada una de ellas se presentará frente a las puntuaciones del Global Residence Program Index (GRPI) de Henley & Partners.

Our analysis will rely on the six main parameters used in the Deep Knowledge Analytics (DKA) COVID-19 Regional Security Assessment. These parameters are governmental efficiency in risk management, emergency preparedness, surveillance and detection, quarantine efficiency, health preparedness, and country vulnerability. Each of these will be presented against Henley & Partners' Global Residence Program Index (GRPI) scores.

1 Government efficiency in risk management

Canada, Austria and Australia are the countries with the highest scores for governmental efficiency in managing risks. They have strong national defense strategies and their emergency response mechanisms, particularly those to mitigate the negative impact of COVID-19, have proven to be robust. And not only that: they have high political stability, efficient government structures and low levels of corruption.

In short, Canada, Austria and Australia are the antithesis of risk when it comes to governments.

Fig-1: Deep Knowledge Analytics (DKA) governmental efficiency management score

Fig-1: Scoring of Deep Knowledge Analytics (DKA) government efficiency management with Henley & Partners' GRPI (Global Residence Program Index) score. Source: DKA

Out of this trio, it is worth noting that Spain comes out better than most of the surrounding players. In fact, all the southern European countries that would compete with Spain in attracting residents or citizens for investment thanks to their climate, gastronomy, lifestyle and culture —the case of Greece, Italy, Portugal, Cyprus— score ostensibly below Spain.

The Spanish government has shown itself to be highly efficient abroad in this crisis. Without going any further, the European Commission has considered that Spain has been the first country to meet the objectives of the Next Generation program, thus becoming the first EU member to receive the first tranche of its funds. Discover here some of the investment opportunities in Spain that have been identified.

2 Preparación ante emergencias

The DKA report defines emergency preparedness as a state's ability to respond as quickly as possible to any type of sudden event. It is no surprise, then, that the United Arab Emirates (UAE) scores the highest. In a country where the energy sector — electricity, oil, natural gas — dominates, its ability to cope with internal and external threats is a top priority.

The UAE has national plans to respond to tectonic activity, climate change, nuclear disasters, terrorism and war, and health emergencies, such as COVID-19.

Fig-2: Deep Knowledge Analytics (DKA) Emergency Preparedness Score

Fig-2: Deep Knowledge Analytics (DKA) emergency preparedness score with Henley & Partners' GRPI (Global Residence Program Index) score. Source: DKA

In this sense, other countries such as Australia or the island of Jersey, which are more isolated or used to dealing with all kinds of disasters, are the ones that score higher in this ranking. Especially when compared to southern European states.

3 Health surveillance and detection

Here is one factor where the UAE, Canada, St. Kitts and Nevis, New Zealand or Hong Kong have clearly come out on top: that of surveillance and detection. Why? Thanks to their active development of artificial intelligence health initiatives and solutions. As in so many other social areas, the application of the latest technologies implies progress, and that is what these states have done.

Fig-3: Deep Knowledge Analytics (DKA) tracking and detection score.

Fig-3: Deep Knowledge Analytics (DKA) tracking and detection score with Henley & Partners' GRPI (Global Residence Program Index) score. Source: DKA

In view of the implementation of these innovative technological measures, it is worth highlighting here what is perhaps the biggest black spot in Spain's track record: that of tracking. In certain communities in Spain, problems with trackers still persist.

4 Effectiveness of quarantines

Not surprisingly, quarantines started out more effective in countries whose isolation lies in their very nature. Thus, New Zealand scores best in terms of quarantine efficiency. New Zealand is followed by Australia, Singapore and the political island of Switzerland.

However, it is worth noting here the time bias of the DKA study. Having been carried out in February 2021, the analysis ignores the fact that it is precisely countries such as New Zealand and Australia that have suffered the most from successive waves of the pandemic among the wealthy states since then. Because if COVID-19 has shown anything, it is that reality is volatile and that those countries that seem to have done well, in the end, are likely to fall.

Fig-4: Deep Knowledge Analytics (DKA) quarantine efficacy score

Fig-4: Deep Knowledge Analytics (DKA) quarantine effectiveness score with Henley & Partners' GRPI (Global Residence Program Index) score. Source: DKA

5 Sanitary preparation

Another point on which the fact that the analysis was carried out in February 2021 creates a very important bias. Because, without going any further, although Spain and Portugal already scored ostensibly well in terms of the preparedness of their healthcare systems, the report overlooks a crucial fact: the Iberian Peninsula states have the highest percentage of vaccinated people in the entire EU.

Fig-5: Deep Knowledge Analytics (DKA) Health Readiness Score

Fig-5: Deep Knowledge Analytics (DKA) healthcare readiness score with Henley & Partners' GRPI (Global Residence Program Index) score. Source: Source: DKA

Obviously, the success of Portugal and Spain is not only due to the strength of their healthcare systems. The effectiveness of their awareness campaigns or purely cultural issues come into play here, but this high percentage speaks volumes about their public health.

6 Health vulnerability

The nature of each state plays a crucial role here. For example, Monaco and Cyprus are in the high-risk category of vulnerability due to their "travel connectivity", as both tourism and business remain frequent motives for virus transmission. Also, for example, it is worth noting the case of the USA, which does not have a comprehensive, federal public health system.

Fig-6: Deep Knowledge Analytics (DKA) country vulnerability score

Fig-6: Deep Knowledge Analytics (DKA) country vulnerability score with Henley & Partners GRPI score. Source: DKA


The first conclusion that can be drawn from the DKA report is the importance of health and health systems in the global RBI and CBI landscape. Wellness has become a very important asset in the post-COVID world, and DKA has anticipated this social demand by presenting a study that meets this concern. The economic factor is no longer the only factor to be taken into account when applying for a golden visa.

Thus, one could already speak of a triad of elements when looking for a CBI and/or RBI. On the one hand, the purely economic and mobility factors; as well as the lifestyle, climate, or cultural attractiveness of each country. Both factors were already present before March 2021. Now, however, a new one must be added: health risk.

From what we have seen, Spain has done nothing but climb the ranks in this global race. It already had the climate, the lifestyle, and the culture; an attractive cost of living and a very competitive golden visa program. But, to all this, it has added two very important assets in this post-coronavirus world: the efficiency of its government and the robustness of its healthcare system.

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