iSt Kitts & Nevis has announced plans to add a residency program to its list of investment immigration options.
The Caribbean country has previously only offered a citizenship-by-investment program, but now Les Khan, CEO of the St Kitts Citizenship by Investment Unit, feels there is sufficient demand to expand into residency.
Khan says enough people would want to live and work in St Kitts to make a residency program viable.
“St Kitts and Nevis is in a unique position to offer a residency programme without having to change any tax laws,” Khan said.
Benefits of St Kitts and Nevis CIP
- Visa free travel to Schengen Area
- Visa free travel to Switzerland, UK and Ireland
- No minimum residence requirements
- Simple Procedure with minimal government formalities
- Option to include family members in the application form
- No income or wealth tax
- Option to reside in any of 15 Caribbean countries
- Lifetime citizenship
Without revealing hard details of how the new stream will be structured, Khan did say it would be the only legitimate program with a physical presence requirement.
Agents for the program in both China and Eastern Europe welcomed the idea of a residency option, Khan added.
Experts have told St Kitts it may need to look at how it structures its VAT policy in order to get more of the program’s applicants actually living in the country.
At the moment, St Kitts relies on its high end property investment opportunities to keep the world’s ultra high net worth individuals interested in its program.
But if more of those individuals chose to live in the country, the benefits in terms of tax dollars could be substantial.
Prime Minister Tim Harris has spearheaded an overhaul of the St Kitts program since he came to power. Previously, the program was mired in alleged corruption and had a reputation for not properly vetting candidates. This resulted in Canada imposing a visa restriction on St Kitts passport holders.
Harris said: “With the St Kitts and Nevis programme now globally recognised for its integrity and platinum standard, it made sense that the natural next step would be to offer a residency programme that would meet a specific customer need. It will also stimulate tourism, as well as offer our developers another avenue for marketing their projects. It’s a virtuous circle of mutual benefit.
“The programme will still maintain its now high standards of due diligence and it is intended to offer our economic citizens the ability to obtain a residency card as long as they are willing to spend a period of time on the island. In addition, individuals not wanting citizenship at this time, can apply for residency status and in the future convert to citizenship should they wish to do so.”
St Kitts made several changes to the country’s citizenship-by-investment program earlier in 2017, aimed at drawing more applications from families.
The changes include a number of alterations to ages of dependents and a lowering of investment thresholds for larger families.
|Single applicant plus three family members
|Each additional dependent
Under the changes, the age limited for parents and grandparents of the main applicant has been reduced from 65 to 55.
Elsewhere, the age limit for financially dependent offspring has been raised from 25 to 30.
The government also clarified that children under 16 born after the main applicant received citizenship will no longer be processed by the country’s Citizenship-by-Investment Unit. Instead, these children can be added with a direct application to the Ministry of National Security.
Further alterations were made to the investment thresholds under the Sugar Industry Diversity Foundation stream.
Previously different thresholds existed for a single applicant, an applicant plus three family members, an applicant plus five family members and an applicant plus seven family members.
Under new rules, the five and seven family member categories will be eliminated, and any further dependents above three will required an investment of US$25,000.
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