With Caribbean citizenship and passports gaining global popularity, the twin island of St. Kitts and Nevis is increasing its efforts to not only rank among the best of the best in the Citizenship by Investment (CBI) market, but to dominate the industry as the “platinum standard.”
When it comes to Citizenship by Investment (CBI) schemes in the Caribbean, St. Kitts and Nevis hold the title as the oldest amid its competitors. The program was created in 1984 by the St. Kitts and Nevis government to attract foreign investment to aid the development of the country’s economy. Applicants can choose between two avenues for investment under the Program: the Government’s Sugar Industry Diversification Foundation (SIDF) and investment in pre-approved real estate. In return, successful applicants and their immediate family are granted second citizenship to St. Kitts and Nevis.
However, the program has faced a number of setbacks and criticism over the last several years surrounding its integrity—an issue Timothy Harris, the Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis, has stanchly vowed to improve since taking charge of the government in 2015.
According to Harris, the government and the island’s Citizenship by Investment (CBI) Program is working together in a positive spirit to ensure its success. It appears the cooperative effort is already making a confident splash among the Caribbean nations, as the St. Kitts and Nevis passport now ranks as #1 in the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) and #2 in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). This improvement has also had an effect on the island’s global ranking for 2017, which positions the St. Kitts and Nevis passport among the Top 50 on the Nomad Passport Index.
In a recent address to the nation, Harris spoke with assurance that the administration’s more transparent and cooperative attitude is the “responsible and engaged approach” needed to counter the policies of the previous government, which aligns with the country’s joint efforts to reform and improve the country’s Citizenship by Investment (CBI) Program.
Harris’ track record among reform efforts include meeting with international partners to re-evaluate applications that have been granted, which number in the thousands. The process is being managed by IPSA International, a due diligence firm hired by the St. Kitts and Nevis government and tasked to identify problematic applications and take corrective measures. As Harris stated, “We have comprehensively implemented the reforms suggested by IPSA […] hired new, additional due diligence firms of high international repute [...] increased partnerships with friendly governments such as the United States, United Kingdom, Canada and the European Union […] and commanded high praise from the IMF, CDB, ECCB, and other International Partners.”
Indeed, Harris’ endeavors to reform the St. Kitts and Nevis Citizenship by Investment (CBI) Program have not gone unnoticed by reputable international organizations. In a recent statement, the International Monetary Fund praised the Caribbean nation’s reform measures, noting “[The St. Kitts-Nevis authorities] have strengthened the due-diligence process [of the Citizenship by Investment Program] with dedicated resources and global collaboration, as this is essential to reduce integrity and security risks, preserve the program’s credibility, and avoid a race-to-the-bottom.”
Arab interest in the St. Kitts and Nevis Citizenship by Investment (CBI) Program has grown over the years.
For more information on the Saint-Kitts and Nevis Citizenship by Investment (CBI) Program, please click here.
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