The Caribbean is home to a few small nations, yet its influence on the world is significant. From mouth-watering cuisines to beautiful beaches, it is a must-see for those who live to explore. But besides the lure of a perfect vacation, the region is also the birthplace of the Citizenship by Investment (CBI) Programme, a major industry in the investment immigration realm.
St Kitts and Nevis Citizenship by Investment Programme
In 1984, the dual-island nation of St Kitts and Nevis introduced the world’s first – and now oldest – CBI Programme, hoping to attract foreign direct investment. More than 35 years later, investors continue to flock to the islands. The initiative offers high-net-worth investors a second citizenship in exchange for an economic contribution to the nation. Today, over a handful of countries around the world o er similar programmes.
With over three decades of experience in CBI, St Kitts and Nevis is seasoned to adapt with the times. Prime Minister Timothy Harris and his Team Unity administration were elected in 2015, and since, the programme has been revitalised, becoming even more attractive to foreign investors. The programme has strengthened its due diligence processes, ensuring that it isn’t susceptible to any vulnerabilities. Last year, the country announced the implementation of new biometric checks and stricter legislation to eliminate any dishonourable applicants. “Our multi-agency approach to due diligence, which no doubt has become industry standard across the region, has resulted in our regional programmes being highly regarded as safe and robust,” PM Harris told Truly Belong.
Read also: Ten Reasons to Choose St Kitts and Nevis
But transforming the programme isn’t the only feat accomplished by PM Harris. In 2018, he introduced the newest investment channel under the CBI Programme, the Sustainable Growth Fund. Not only has it been hailed as the most straightforward route to obtaining second citizenship, but it has become a popular route for wealthy investors across the globe. PM Harris confirmed that “Applications to the Citizenship by Investment Programme have increased tremendously over recent years and they continue to rise.”
St Kitts and Nevis bids to investors a wealth of benefits under its programme, including alternative entrepreneurial opportunities, and the ability to pass citizenship down for generations to come. However, the most prestigious bene t is increased access to global mobility. St Kitts and Nevis offers citizens visa-free travel to nearly 160 destinations, including key business hubs like Singapore and the Schengen Area.
For individuals that hail from a country with a passport that limits travel opportunities, CBI enables access to hassle-free mobility for those wishing to conduct business abroad or who simply desire to see the world. Basil Kadara, a businessman living in the UAE with a Syrian passport, is an example of this. Kadara told Gulf News that since travel is a key part of his life, he decided to obtain a St Kitts and Nevis citizenship. Compared to his Syrian passport, St Kitts and Nevis’ is ranked among one of the strongest in the world.
Today, as many borders around the world maintain strict restrictions, travelling has undoubtedly come to a halt. The ones who can still globe-trot are citizens with multiple nationalities whose respective countries can repatriate them.
With the unprecedented and ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the world’s wealthy are considering where they want to be when new crises hit. Investors want to know that the country they become citizens of have efficient systems in place, particularly in healthcare, while still upholding a high standard of living. Though visa-free travel may no longer be a priority, a second citizenship will always be an asset among the world’s wealthiest with St Kitts and Nevis as a top destination for foreign investors.
”Our Platinum Brand is considered the most attractive and that is demonstrated by the confidence of our clients and agents,” PM Harris said.
This story first appeared in the 2021 print issue of Truly Belong under the same title.”