With its main investment vehicle, JAMPRO confirming the government’s interest in implementing an investment immigration program, Jamaica is set to become the next Caribbean country to offer residency in exchange of investment from wealthy citizens of foreign countries. The program is expected to offer a special immigration status to individuals bringing significant investments into the island.
The confirmation came after speculation that the Jamaican government was in the process of creating a program similar to the ones implemented by St Kitts and Nevis, Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, St Lucia, and other countries in the Caribbean. Those associated with the process have stated that the creation of the Residence by Investment program was at an advanced stage.
JAMPRO officials have made it clear that Jamaica merely plans to offer an economic residence visa, which will be distinctly different as compared to the citizenship by investment schemes offered by other countries in the region.
The Vice President in charge of Investment and Promotion in JAMPRO has clarified that the authorities intend to will with immigration and citizenship agencies to avoid issues that have plagued programs offered by other nations.
While seeking to enjoy the economic benefits of investments made by wealthy foreigners, authorities have emphasized that the program will not result in unrestricted sale of passports to individuals without proper background and security checks. Officials of JAMPRO said the country intends to avoid a situation where nations like the USA and the UK impose restrictions on its travelers due to security issues in its investment immigration program. Recently, Canada revoked its visa-free travel facilities to citizens of St Kitts and Nevis due to concerns about its investment immigration program.
Although authorities have refused to provide specific details, there is speculation that the program will involve minimum investment of around US $500,000 for a period of around 10 years. Jamaica plans to allocate the investment to a capital fund for financing various capital-intensive projects.
It seems unlikely that Jamaica will offer residency in lieu of investment in its real estate sector. Authorities have indicated that they are considering investment strategies that will have a bigger impact on the economy.
St Kitts and Nevis was the first Caribbean nation to offer a citizenship by investment program in 2006. In lieu of minimum investment of US $250,000, immigrants became eligible for a passport that enabled them to travel to more than hundred countries all over the world without onerous visa restrictions.
In 2013, the Minister of Transport and Works had suggested that Chinese investors participating in the Goat Islands project could be permitted to obtain Jamaican citizenship in the future. With JAMPRO confirming that an investment residency program is on the anvil, opposition political parties are expected to provide their eventual support. As of now, the Jamaica Labour Party has refused to take an official stand on the proposal.
However, this proposal has won support from leaders who have been lobbying for the implementation of such a scheme. Stimulation of investment and creation of jobs are being viewed as the two biggest advantages of such a program. With the proposal set to be a part of Cabinet discussions, the residence through investment option is going to form part of the overall immigration reform being implemented by the Jamaican authorities.
Source: Jamaica GleanerGeneral Information: Contact us to receive more information about this article.
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