The Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis, Timothy Harris, has warned that the country will become more stringent with its citizenship by investment scheme, and is considering raising the investment requirement above the current $250,000.
“We must bring the best of the best to St. Kitts & Nevis, so that our product can be more discerning, and certainly changes in the fee structure is one option that will bring that,” Premier Harris said. “We will exclude some and bring the more discerning of prospective economic citizens to our shore.”
Existing investors may have their passports revoked if they are found to have a criminal history, he added.
St. Kitts & Nevis has operated a citizenship-by-investment program since 1984. The scheme has helped the twin-island country of about 51,000 people to prosper despite the global financial crisis. The program contributed over $74 million into the St. Kitts & Nevis economy in 2013, while the IMF predicts the program will generate about $37 million per year over the next three years.
Individuals obtaining citizenship through the CBI scheme aren’t required to reside or even visit the islands, according to the government. The scheme’s minimum required investment of $250,000 goes directly into the nation’s Sugar Industry Diversification Foundation, though another option allows the investment of $400,000 in designated real estate developments.
However, the CBI scheme has come under criticism from several countries. Last November Canada canceled visa-free travel for St. Kitts & Nevis citizens’, while the US issued a security advisory against holders of citizenship-by-investment passports, after some Iranian nationals used the St. Kitts CBI scheme to evade the sanctions placed on their country.
The St. Kitts & Nevis government has promised to address the concerns with the scheme. In 2013 the government announced it would no longer accept applications from Iran and Afghanistan, while later this year the nation will organize an international conference to help formulate common standards for citizenship programs.
The island’s successful CBI scheme has inspired several other nations to introduce similar schemes. For investors, such schemes can offer freedom from visa restrictions, a refuge from political or civil unrest, or a way to reduce their tax bills.
Source: Bloomberg.comGeneral Information: Contact us to receive more information about this article.
Interested Investors: Kindly complete the following form and we will contact you to discuss your global residency and citizenship investment options.