The Bahamas government says it has agreed in principle to increase the threshold of the Bahamas Investor Residence Visa from BS$500,000 to BS$750,000.
There are also plans to reintroduce a fast-track option, where candidates making real estate investments of BS$1.5 million or more would get their residency processed in 21 days.
No indication has been given of when the changes might happen. The government has been talking about raising the threshold for some time, with an increase to BS$1 million mooted in May 2017.
Benefits of holding Bahamas Investor Residence Visa
- Right to reside in the Bahamas without further renewal of permits.
- Right to enjoy all privileges enjoyed by citizens of Bahamas except for the right to vote.
- Right to purchase property in Bahamas.
- Liberal tax regime.
- Easy travel to Commonwealth nations, members of the Caribbean Community and the members of the Organization of American States.
- Eligible to apply for Citizenship of Bahamas after fulfilling residence requirements.
However, realtors have spoken out against such broad stroke changes, saying the threshold would benefit from being adjusted depending on the area the real estate investment is made.
Areas including Grand Bahama are struggling economically, and finding it difficult to attract much-needed investment.
Meanwhile, the sought-after New Providence region is thriving.
Investment Threshold: Bahamas Investor Residence Visa
|Purchase of property in Bahamas||BS$500,000|
One realtor has proposed a lowering of the threshold to BS$350,000 for those investing in Grand Bahama, offset by increasing the threshold in other areas.
Another Bahamas real estate expert, meanwhile, has suggested the government is better off raising the processing fee if it wants to generate more capital.
The current permit fee of BS$10,000 could be doubled without placing too much extra burden on high-net worth investors, but significantly boosting government coffers.
Fees: Bahamas Investor Residence Visa
|Non-refundable processing fee||BS $100|
|Permit Fee – Both With or Without Right to Work||BS $10,000|
|Endorsement of wife and children||BS $25|
With the internal property market flat in the Bahamas, the economy relies on the second home market to generate sales, the bulk of which is funded by the investment immigration program.
Any move to increase the investment threshold could push buyers to use one of the significant number of other programs that exist around the world.
Such an impact could have a trickle down negative effect on the whole Bahamas economy.
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