In an interview with the October, the British High Commissioner to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, Victoria Dean, expressed serious concerns about the way the St. Kitts & Nevis’ Citizenship by Investment Program was being run. According to the top British official in the region, the Program was posing a serious security threat to the UK.
The controversial CBI Program offers citizenship to investment immigrants fulfilling the minimum investment requirements laid down under St. Kitts & Nevis’ Citizenship by Investment Program. Speaking about the CBI Program, Victoria Dean said that her government was seriously concerned about how due diligence of interested applicants was being done.
Acknowledging that the Program may be beneficial for countries seeking steady inflow of foreign investments, Dean highlighted that the UK Government was concerned about the type of investors applying under the Program, the extent of detailed checks being conducted by the authorities, and the possibility of misuse of the Program.
Highlighting a specific issue, Dean said that the removal of details of the country of origin from the passport issued to individuals who had obtained citizenship under the Citizenship by Investment Program was an issue that could have serious ramifications for the UK’s security. While acknowledging that the issue has been corrected, she said that the existence of passports without such vital details was a worrisome issue.
The Commissioner has stated that absence of residency requirement of any kind and that applicant were not even required to make a personal visit to St. Kitts and Nevis before obtaining citizenship were some features that were making foreign governments jittery about the Program. She pointed out that most applicants were seeking passports of St. Kitts and Nevis not for any love or affection for the country, but merely to enjoy the travel benefits that it offered. Referring to the recent decision of the Canadian government to impose visa requirements on citizens of St. Kitts and Nevis, the Commissioner indicated that the misuse of CBI to gain visa-free access was a serious concern for other governments.
On the issue of whether the UK too would require citizens of St. Kitts and Nevis to obtain a visa, the Commissioner indicated that the UK government is likely to offer the benefit of the doubt to the Program, and was unlikely to insist on a visa.
However, she pointed out that concerns about the potential security implications resulting from misuse of the CBI program must be addressed. She exhorted the SKN government to focus on measures that will minimize instances of misuse of such programs by individuals who are merely interested in gaining unrestricted access to other developed countries through the investment immigration programs in the Caribbean region.
Source: the stkittsnevisobserver.com
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