The US has told Caribbean nations with citizenship-by-investment programs to make sure each individual application is given the correct level of due diligence.
Now the US Embassy in Bridgetown, Barbados, has issued a statement warning these nations to make sure they are not granting citizenship to undesirables, such as those with ties to criminal or terrorist organisations.
“The United States strongly believes that all countries have an inherent responsibility to their citizens and the international community to review fully all applicants who seek a nation’s citizenship,” the statement said.
St Kitts Prime Minister Dr Timothy Harris said recently that his country’s program now had the best due diligence of any in the world.
This comes following an overhaul of the system in response to a decision by Canada to impose a visa restriction on St Kitts passport holders over concerns about the type of candidates being granted citizenship.
The US also specified its concerned the program was being used to bypass sanctions on Iran.
“We believe that we have now one of the strongest due diligence mechanisms,” the Prime Minister said.
The US statement added that it respected the right of any nation to generate revenue using investment immigration, provided the right checks were being made.
“The United States does not approve or disapprove individual aspects of citizenship by investment programmes,” the statement added.
“While the United States Government is willing to consult with governments on their citizenship investment programmes, the ultimate decisions to offer and how to operate such a programme, including the issuance of citizenship and related identifying documents, such as passports to applicants, lie with each individual government and not with the United States.”
The US offers its own permanent residency-through-investment program, the EB-5, which can lead to citizenship in the long term.
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