In 2021, the rule of law declined globally. Because of the pandemic, 104 out of 139 countries counted were partially failing to respect human rights: for example, assemblies were banned and freedom of expression was restricted. Bureaucratic procedures, whether dealing with residence permit applications or court cases, took longer than usual.
Denmark, Finland and Norway topped the list of countries that respect laws and human rights in 2021. Uzbekistan and Moldova significantly increased their positions, by 4.1% and 3.2% respectively. Belarus and Myanmar recorded the strongest declines in respect for rights and laws – by 7.5% and 6.3%. Russia ranked 101st in the ranking.
Top 10 countries with a high rule of law index
Rule of law index in countries with investment programs
11 of the countries in the ranking offer foreigners residence permits and citizenship by investment. Let’s take a look at each country’s compliance situation.
Ranking of countries with residence permit and citizenship programs by investment
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Austria was ranked 9th. Since 2015, the country has shown stable results: the rule of law index ranges from 0.81 to 0.83.
Wealthy foreigners can obtain a residence permit in Austria for financially independent persons and live in a safe, economically developed country. The minimum investment amount is from € 100,000.
The UK was ranked 16th. Researchers praise the country’s respect for the basic rights of its citizens.
Foreigners can obtain a residence permit in the UK for investing in British companies. Along with the main applicant, family members receive a residence permit. The minimum investment amount is £2 million.
Spain was ranked 21st. Since 2015, the rule of law index has risen from 0.68 to 0.73.
Foreigners can obtain a residence permit in Spain by purchasing real estate or government bonds. An investment of € 500,000 or more is required.
Portugal was ranked 26th. The country has performed consistently well in the rule of law rankings since 2015.
Foreigners can obtain a residence permit in the country by investment under one of eight options. Investors most often choose to buy a property worth € 500,000 or more.
Malta was ranked 30th in the ranking, despite being a first‑time participant. Researchers praised the country’s security.
Foreigners can obtain a residence permit and a permanent residence permit by purchasing real estate. And Maltese citizenship is by naturalization only: for Exceptional Services by Direct Investment
The minimum investment amount for a residence permit in Malta – € 30,000, residence permit – € 110,000. Citizenship can be obtained by those who invest € 690,000 or more in the Maltese economy.
Antigua and Barbuda was ranked 39th: its Rule of Law Index has remained unchanged since 2017. The country offers foreigners citizenship by investment of $ 100,000 or more.
St Kitts and Nevis ranked 40th. Researchers praise the country’s level of security, but note that the state does not sufficiently involve citizens in the discussion of political decisions.
St. Kitts and Nevis offers foreigners to obtain citizenship by investment of $ 150,000 or more: making a contribution to a government fund or buying real estate.
Saint Lucia ranks 43rd in the index. In calculating the index, experts assessed the high level of public safety and the effectiveness of the civil justice system.
Citizenship of St Kitts and Nevis can be obtained with an investment of $ 100,000 or more.
Greece was ranked 48th in the 2021 ranking. The country offers foreigners a residence permit by investment of € 250,000 or more in real estate – commercial or residential. Unlike other European countries, Greece grants residence permits for five years at a time.
Grenada ranks 50th in the rankings with high scores for public safety. But there is little government involvement in the governance of the country.
Grenada offers foreigners citizenship by investment of $ 150,000 or more in the form of a non‑refundable fee or the purchase of real estate.
Dominica’s index placed the country 53rd in the rule of law rankings. The Caribbean country ranks higher than Northern Macedonia, Hungary and Russia in 2021.
An investor who invests $ 100,000 or more in the country’s economy can become a citizen of Dominica.
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Villa for sale on the coast of Crete.
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Villa with panoramic ocean views in Grenada.
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Townhouse in St Kitts and Nevis 50 metres from the ocean.
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Who compiles the rule of law rating and how
The Rule of Law Index is compiled annually by experts from the World Justice Project (WJP). It is an independent organisation that researches, promotes and stimulates action to promote the rule of law around the world.
The WJP has been calculating the Rule of Law Index since 2010 based on surveys of 138,000 households and 4,200 legal practitioners. A total of 139 countries are included in the rankings.
Countries are measured by eight indicators, including levels of corruption, rule of law, transparency of institutions and protection of fundamental rights.
In 2021, 11 new countries were included in the index: Cyprus, Haiti, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Paraguay, the Republic of Congo, the Slovak Republic and Sudan. With these changes, the index covers the whole European Union for the first time.
The full research can be found on the WJP website.
Immigrant Invest is a licensed investment program agent in European and Caribbean countries. If you want to relocate to one of the rated countries, seek advice from investment program experts.