Internationals are eligible to obtain citizenship in some Caribbean countries for just $100,000, thus receiving tax benefits and visa-free access to Europe, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.
According to a Bloomberg report, in Saint Kitts, the golden passport initiative was scheduled to generate about $192 million, or 51 per cent of the country’s revenue last year. However, the program is often subject to security concerns.
Nonetheless, in December last year, St. Kitts-Nevis Prime Minister Terrance Drew emphasised the importance of the Citizenship by Investment Programme (CBI) for his twin-island Federation. In addition, he noted that the program continues to be “an illustrative pathway” for high-net-worth persons and families seeking legal citizenship in this territory.
He said that CBI has undergone strict reformation aimed at fortifying its integrity and reliability.
The Citizenship by Investment Program, offered in several European countries, gives wealthy foreigners the opportunity to acquire citizenship in countries that run such programs, provided they make a financial investment and meet some needed conditions.
Prime Minister Drew said that the government is committed to improving the program, stressing that the integrity of the program is his priority.
In addition, Drew also noted that important updates, such as required interviews and thorough controls, follow both local rules and the best global practices.
We require mandatory interviews and have multilayered due diligence checks at every stage of the process. Each stage has sub-stages, showing the depth of our commitment to due diligence. We are thereby enforcing strict compliance with the rules both within our country and within the internationally accepted best practice.
In addition, he stressed that the country serves as an inspiration to the rest of the world in terms of this program, adding that the international community is taking notice of their work.
We serve as an inspiration to the rest of the world in our programming, and the international community is taking notice of our work. For example, Saudi Arabia recently granted us e-visa access; it is the only Caribbean country that has this.
In spite of contributing significantly to the countries’ economies, citizenship and residency by investment schemes are often accused of being involved in irregular affairs such as money laundering and tax evasion, among others.
Last year, a joint project of the Financial Action Task Force with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) that explores illegal acts related to the CBI/RBI programs revealed that such programs are being used by criminals and corrupt, who want to launder their money or carry out further crimes.