Saint Kitts and Nevis, whose passport investment program is the original citizenship by investment program, as well as one of the competitive such programs, has undergone a facelift in the last few months. After the risk mitigation company IPSA International finished its 2014 program review of the Caribbean citizenship through investment program, the Saint Kitts and Nevis government acquired their services in advising and improving the second passport scheme in cooperation with the country’s Citizenship by Investment Unit.
According to the Saint Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister, Dr. Timothy Harris, the changes made to the citizenship by investment program were aimed at making it more “transparent and efficient”. After working with IPSA for less than a year, the Citizenship by Investment Unit announced that the program was “open for business” and back as the best program of its kind in the world. Harris continued to say that the program had been restructured to include 20 of IPSA’s recommended changes, and that the program had been administratively and legally improved and strengthened.
Harris also announced the appointment of Les Khan, the lead consultant from IPSA, as the new Citizenship by Investment Unit head. After 18 months of assessing and advising the country’s citizenship by investment program, Khan is now effectively running the program with the promise to continue to improve and strengthen it. He expanded on his efforts only by saying that he had hired a team of experienced professionals to help streamline the program and attract applicants.
Though the government hasn’t divulged the details of the improvements and changes to the program, the results are clear. The current government inherited a backlog of over 1,500 citizenship by investment applications and is currently turning over applications in 45-75 days. The Unit is working on cold cases on a daily basis and providing 24/7 case management (meaning applicants and service providers can check application status at any time). The Citizenship by Investment Unit has also started working with three due diligence providers, hoping to continue improving the speed and efficiency of the program without compromising security or quality, while remaining one of the cheapest citizenship and passport by investment programs in the world.
The rebranding of the second passport program comes some months after controversy surrounding the passports issued by Saint Kitts and Nevis to their passport-by-investment citizens, which allows visa-free travel to the UK and the Schengen region. The current government has expressed concern over the citizenship by investment program in the last few years, worried that corruption in the previous government had allowed the program to deteriorate, and Harris’ government vowed to clean up and rebrand the program to return it to its former glory. Harris himself is working with the U.S., Canada, and Britain in an effort to rebuild trust in the Saint Kitts and Nevis passport and citizenship by investment program, vowing that the Citizenship by Investment Unit and IPSA were reviewing all investment passports on a case by case basis.
If the trust in the Saint Kitts and Nevis passport can be restored, the program would regain its status among the top programs, being the oldest and one of the competitive of its kind. The Saint Kitts and Nevis citizenship by investment program might then live up to Harris’ assertion that it is the best program of its kind in the world.
For more information on the Saint Kitts and Nevis Citizenship by Investment Program (CIP), please click here.
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