In 2023, medical tourism remains a dynamic force in the healthcare realm. This practice allows individuals to undergo medical procedures, frequently at reduced expenses, in foreign nations, all the while benefitting from top-tier medical services. Blending healthcare with travel, it grants patients the chance to receive specialised treatments while immersing them in new cultures.
Medical tourism is a vital source of income for any country. The UK’s medical tourism industry accounted for $6 billion in 2022, and it is widely expected to breach the $20 billion mark by 2032. More than 34,000 people traveled to the UK for medical purposes in 2021, highlighting the massive industry that is medical tourism.
Canada is currently the top-ranked country for medical tourism worldwide, a status that didn’t come by accident. The Canadian government actively pushed to increase capacity to draw in more medical tourism, with Kevin Falcon, former British Columbia deputy premier and minister of finance, aiming for “British Columbia be the Mayo Clinic of the North.”
So medical tourism is a big business that benefits all sides, but its less glamorous facade means that it isn’t always at the forethought of people, that is, of course, until they need it.
By having a higher global mobility ability, people can access a wider range of medical institutes worldwide, and through residency or citizenship by investment, they can achieve it.
Citizenship by Investment & Medical Tourism
The easiest way to obtain greater global mobility is by getting a second passport, and citizenship by investment helps investors do that without having to wait years till naturalisation.
In three to six months, investors can become dual citizens for investments as affordable as $100,000. Currently, seven countries offer citizenship by investment programs: the Caribbean Five, consisting of Antigua & Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St Kitts & Nevis, and St Lucia, as well as Malta and Turkey.
The Caribbean passports have excellent visa-free travel scores, providing unhindered access to the United Kingdom, EU, and many more. Since nine out of the ten top healthcare systems in the world are in the EU, a Caribbean passport would give those looking for top-tier healthcare services quick and easy access.
Antigua & Barbuda, St Kitts & Nevis, and St Lucia also have visa-free access to Canada, which can combine medical tourism with birth tourism, as Canada’s Jus Soli (birthright citizenship) law means anyone born on Canadian soil is automatically a citizen. Canada’s Jus Soli combines excellently with its outstanding healthcare system, which ranks 14th worldwide, to double the benefit for those with visa-free access.
Malta, being part of the EU and UK Commonwealth, has visa-free access to the entire EU, UK, and even Canada, the United States, and New Zealand, which is the only country outside the EU to be in the top ten healthcare system rankings. But Malta itself has an excellent healthcare system, ranking 24th worldwide with a higher capacity than average due to its smaller population.
Turkey’s passport doesn’t have the same visa-free access ability as the aforementioned ones, but the country itself has a high-functioning medical tourism sector. Over 870,000 medical tourists flew into Turkey within the first nine months of 2022.
Residency by Investment & Medical Tourism
On the face of it, EU Golden Visas can also boost global mobility by granting their holders visa-free access to the Schengen Zone, hence providing a similar benefit to citizenship by investment, but the differences are more nuanced than that.
While a Caribbean passport may grant a person the right to enter, say Portugal, for 90 days, a Golden Visa allows them to stay indefinitely.
Residency permits’ longevity comes into play when medical tourists have chronic conditions or require procedures that take a long time to complete, providing the holder unlimited access to the medical facilities in their country of residence.
Contact us today to speak with an expert to learn more about investment migration and how it integrates with medical tourism.
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