Property PopulationStatus is not available for FullTextCatalog '[SearchDB]'. This property may not exist for this object, or may not be retrievable due to insufficient access rights. (Microsoft.SqlServer.Smo)
The error is not self explanatory, but after some investigation I descovered that Full Text Search Service isn't installed on the staging server.
The easy way to validate if Full Text Search is installed on a Sql Server is to execute the following T-SQL statement on Management studio:
SELECT FULLTEXTSERVICEPROPERTY ('IsFulltextInstalled')