Jamaica Investment Immigration
Jamaica’s official trade and investment agency JAMPRO has confirmed that the government is set to launch an immigration through investment program. The scheme is said to involve Henley and Partners, who administer similar schemes in St Kitts and Nevis, Grenada, and Malta.
Jamaica Investment Immigration program will allow wealthy foreigners to apply for Jamaican citizenship upon making a minimum investment in the island nation.
JAMPRO’s vice president for investment and promotion, Claude Duncan, has said that discussions about starting a residence by investment program were at an advanced stage. “What we are looking at is economic residence which is a distinct difference from what St Kitts has done. A lot of consultation has taken place between us and the Passport Immigration and Citizenship Agency and the other relevant agencies in order to avoid the pitfalls which have affected other jurisdictions,” said Duncan.
“But we are now at the point where a Cabinet submission on the matter is ready, and we are hoping that this will be included as one of the planks of overall immigration reform.”
Duncan also mentioned that while the program would offer many benefits to interested investors, it would also require them to pass several security and background checks in order to be eligible for Jamaican residency. “That is where our program would differ from say a St Kitts because what previously happened was that St Kitts’ citizens could just arrive in Canada without the need for a visa. The moment they started selling citizenship, so to speak, that was reversed, because countries like the United States and Britain that are usually concerned about their security would heighten their monitoring of certain countries where anyone can just buy a passport and extra scrutiny of Jamaican nationals at overseas ports is definitely something we are extremely wary of,” he explained.
St Kitts and Nevis was one of the first countries in the world to offer a citizenship by investment program, which granted rich investors citizenship upon making an investment of at least US$ 250,000.
According to Duncan, Jamaica is still consulting on how utilize the foreign investment generated through this investment program. “Without getting into specifics we also wanted to ensure that the investment is of maximum benefit to the country, because in some countries the investor would be required to basically set aside up to US$ 500,000 that can not be touched by him or her for about 10 years, and it would go into a capital fund which provides funding for other projects.”
“Where as in others the investment has to be in the form of a real estate purchase, which could be just a house in the country, so we are looking at investment projects that make maximum impact,” he elaborated.
Daryl Vaz, member of parliament for western Portland, has voiced his support for the initiative. “I am extremely supportive of it and my view has not changed at all. Right now, Jamaica needs to do everything it can to stimulate investment and create jobs. So, if this will help to do that then I am behind it one hundred per cent,” he said.
Source: Jamaica Gleaner