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Investors Looking Away From Europe, Towards Caribbean Because of ‘Brexit’

Investors Looking Away From Europe, Towards Caribbean Because of ‘Brexit’

Candidates for investment immigration programs could start turning their attention away from European countries and towards the Caribbean – and it’s all because of ‘Brexit’.

Britain’s impending exit from the European Union means the investment immigration programs run by the likes of Cyprus, Malta and Portugal may no longer be able to offer visa-free travel to the UK.

As a result, programs operated by the likes of Dominica and St Kitts & Nevis look likely to regain popularity.

The Caribbean islands have traditionally been the leaders in the investment immigration field, with St Kitts pioneering the idea of awarding passports in return for investment dollars.

Investment Requirements: St Kitts & Nevis Citizenship by Investment Program

Real estate
Investment of $400,000
Processing fee of $50,047 (main applicant), $25,047 (spouse and/or children)

Sugar Industry Diversification Foundation
Investment of $250,000 (single applicant, increases with family members, see here)
Processing fee of $7,500 (main applicant), $4,000 (per dependent aged over 16)

But when European countries started to launch their own versions – many of them in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis – the world’s high net worth individuals began to favour those programs.

Portugal is currently one of the most popular, offering permanent residence in return for a €350,000 investment in property.  The re-emergence of Lisbon’s property market is almost entirely as a result of the program.

Investment Requirements: Portugal Golden Residence Investor Program

Capital Investment
Transfer of capital of minimum value of €1 million into Portugal including through purchase of shares in companies

Creation of at least 10 new positions in Portugal

Real Estate
Purchase of unencumbered real estate in Portugal of a minimum value of €350,000. Co-ownership or purchase of property through finance is permissible provided each individual makes a mandatory minimum investment of €350,000.

Urban Rehabilitation
Investment of at least €350,000 in constructed 30 years ago or investment for rehabilitation of properties located in Urban Rehabilitation Areas

Scientific Research and Development
Investment of at least €350,000 in R&D activities of institutions that are part of the national technological system.

Promotion of Culture
Investment of at least €250,000 towards financing of bodies pursuing cultural or artistic activities or towards renovation or maintenance of cultural heritage.

Small-Cap and Mid-Cap Finance
Investment of at least €500,000 towards purchase of units of small-cap or mid-cap venture capital funds.

Investment in Low Population Areas
20 per cent reduction in minimum investments in the above-mentioned categories when investment is made in a low population-density area.

Malta and Cyprus took it further by offering citizenship programs, similar to those offered in the Caribbean.

Investment Requirements: Malta Individual Investor Program

  • Main Applicant: €650,000
  • Spouse: €25,000
  • Child under 18: €25,000
  • Unmarried child aged 18-26: €50,000
  • Dependant parent over 55: €50,000

After approval, the applicant must

  • Invest at least €150,000 in approved instruments and hold the investment for at least five years.
  • Buy residential immovable property in Malta with a minimum value of €350,000 and hold the property for at least five years or lease a residential immovable property in Malta with a minimum annual rent of €16,000 for a period of five years.

But one of the key benefits of all of these programs was access to the UK, which has been thrown into doubt by the vote to leave the EU.

Although the UK is yet to begin proceedings to leave, the uncertainty is enough to force investors to look elsewhere, and they are apparently looking to the Caribbean.

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