Caribbean CBI Programmes have positive impact on EU economies, finds survey

Citizenship by Investment Programmes (CBI) offer sustainable economic stability in the long run to many countries as it allows individuals to receive second citizenship in return for an investment towards national development. After acknowledging the Programme’s significance, the Caribbean countries such as Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St Kitts and Nevis and St Lucia have adopted unprecedented steps including a comprehensive due-diligence process to ensure only legitimate applicants are accepted into the programmes.

While understanding the significance of streamlined background checks, the governments have adopted robust due-diligence processes and continuously make efforts to uplift it so that only reputable and eligible investors may obtain the citizenship.

As the Caribbean region is becoming a home to High-Net-Worth Individuals (HNWIs), many countries aspiring to become global business hubs are welcoming them by offering visa waiver arrangements. Recently, United Arab Emirates, India, Russia, China and other leading emerging countries signed visa waiver agreements with these Caribbean islands.

The Citizenship by Investment Programme of the Caribbean nations has been positively recognised in various reports asserting that the countries have the best-in-class economic citizenship programmes. In a bid to reveal its actual benefits to individuals taking citizenship, host country and all other nations which have a visa-free agreement with the CBI offering countries, Press Editorials conducted a comprehensive qualitative survey on 100 people who obtained economic citizenship from the Caribbean. The survey based on an open-ended questionnaire concluded with significant revelations.

Caribbean Report Press Editorials

The survey found that the majority of investors bought the citizenship of these Caribbean countries seeking global mobility, business opportunities and status symbol in the society. The largest number of persons obtained the dual citizenship to spend holidays in exotic destinations without any hassle of visa processing.

According to Yichén Bingwen, a Chinese businessman working in real estate said that Dominica’s citizenship helped him and his family with his business with ease of travel. “I am glad that I invested in the Citizenship by Investment Programme and became a citizen of Dominica. Its visa-free access was the facility that attracted me the most so I can grow my global business.”

“The decision I made to invest in the citizenship by investment programme has been great so far; I did it because I wanted to expand my business and buy authentic Italian marbles as there is a massive market in Pakistan. I could not get the quality product through middlemen; I had to make frequent visits, do market research and then move ahead with my work. But due to long visa delays, especially when embassies were closed due to pandemic, things were just getting very difficult for me, so I had to get an alternative,” said Nadeem Qureshi from Pakistan, who obtained citizenship of St Lucia under economic citizenship programme.

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Qureshi said since he received the citizenship of St Lucia, he had been to Italy several times without any problem. He said importing marble from Italy using his St Lucian passport has been more accessible than ever and helped expand his business. He told Press Editorials that he is now planning to expand his stores in UAE and Bahrain.

Another Chinese businessman, Lî Wáng obtained citizenship of Antigua and Barbuda also added that dual citizenship helped him win ample ways. “Visa-free access under the Citizenship by Investment Programme helped me worldwide with impromptu trips. I remember one time I had to attend an urgent meeting in Singapore; all I had to do was get an air ticket and pack my bags. This saved my time a lot, and I have access to different nations. It further helped me to build streamlined communication channels and build a robust network worldwide. I can go to different nations whenever I want to market and advertise my business services”.

“I decided to invest in the second citizenship of Grenada to get a visa to travel to Europe. I am an influential businessman who exports Belgium chocolates and confectionary products in South Africa. As the demand for Belgium chocolates had hiked in Africa, I was required to visit Europe. However, the visa policies of Europe were quite hassling, but the free-visa policy for Grenadian citizens made things easier for me,” said South African businessman David Johnson who received a passport of Grenada.

The study also revealed, over the past five-years, the European countries provided shelters to nearly 300,000 refugees who relocated from war-zones and other crumbling countries such as Iraq, Syria and others. On the other hand, only 20,000 applications were accepted by the economic citizenship countries. Refugee figures outnumber the persons obtaining citizenship by a hundred times. Most of the HNWIs tend to travel for either business or leisure which ultimately benefits the country which is welcoming them. The HNWIs not only generate sustainable employment in the Caribbean, but they also spend millions while their journey in Europe or elsewhere. Meanwhile, no one can guarantee the status of a refugee who is being provided shelter. Plus there are some of the refugees that have been connected with terrorist organisations or other criminal groups.

In complete opposite, with the case of CBI applicants, they are thoroughly vetted by the US, UK and Europe based independent firms before getting a green signal from the government. The multi-layered due-diligence process plays a crucial role as it aids the governments to filter the applicants of the Programme ensuring decent applicants are approved.

To ensure a transparent and thorough due-diligence process, the government of the Caribbean islands of Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St Kitts and Nevis and St Lucia have employed various foreign diligence firms such as Thomson Reuters, Fact UK, Kroll, Exiger, S-RM and others.

The governments of the countries have ensured transparency and comprehensiveness in the due-diligence process to fulfil their responsibility towards national and international security.

After assessing the visa-free travel to the investor of Caribbean nations, the countries have witnessed an enormous boost to the country’s economy as almost 85 percent of the businessman have travelled to these countries to expand their business and invest in these countries. Moreover, Europe was the most beneficial continent from these Caribbean nations’ Citizenship by Investment Programme.

Global Mobility is the procedure that allows access to travel to a foreign country without having a tourism visa. So, having access to over 150 nations has become the foremost reason for investors to purchase the economic Citizenship of the Caribbean nations.

To boost their economy, the developed and developing countries in Europe, Asia, the Middle East, etc., have collaborated with the Caribbean islands, growing the visa-free access to the investors having passports of these countries.

Ratio of persons who obtained citizenship through CBI Programmes of the Caribbean
The ratio of persons who obtained citizenship through CBI Programmes of the Caribbean.

Moreover, the United Arab Emirates have signed a visa-waiver agreement recently with the Commonwealth of Dominica and St Kitts and Nevis, which permitted the dual citizens of the countries to visit Emirates freely.

In addition to that, the countries such as India, Russia, Brazil, Egypt, Qatar, and 15 other nations have also signed a visa-waiver agreement with the Caribbean nations, which provides access to visa-free travel.

Meanwhile, to increase the business investment in the countries, UAE has recognized the CBI Programme of the Caribbean frequently and praised their rigorous background checks, which ensure to provide Citizenship to only eligible and respectable investors.

While applauding the CBI Programme with the comprehensive due diligence, Prince Mohammad Bin Salman Al Saud from UAE, in one of his interviews, exclaimed, “I believe that the new Europe will be the Middle East as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabis will be different in the next few years. If we succeed in the next five years, many countries will follow us and the subsequent global renaissance in the next 30 years will be in the Middle East, God willing, and I think this goal will be achieved 100 percent.”

Meanwhile, various delegates from Europe have applauded the CBI programme of the Caribbean nations. The United Kingdom Ambassador to the Caribbean, Scott Furssedonn-Wood has also visited Dominica and St Kitts and Nevis. He lauded the CBI programme and projects funded which are funded by the programmes.

A Russian businessman, having an overseas soap business, Yaroslav Petrov, sharing his experience about Dominica’s Citizenship, cited, “I am having a comprehensive enterprise of exporting soap overseas, in which the Citizenship of Dominica has helped me to visit Africa. I get to know about the mass-market, mid-market, and high-end market”.

While informing about the benefits of Antigua and Barbuda Citizenship for his business, a multi-millionaire businessman from China noted,” I am fond of collecting historic artwork and visiting various European nations to sell and buy the art pieces. So, it was vital for me to have access to global mobility or visa-free access to European countries. To get this, I decided to have a citizenship of Antigua and Barbuda a few years back”.

Even during the difficult times of the COVID-19 outbreak, many businesses had visited different countries that had the passports of the Caribbean islands, which helped their business to survive at the time when the economies were depleted badly.

The Caribbean countries have adopted the Citizenship by Investment Programme to empower their financial status and grow foreign direct investment. With a massive investment through the CBI programme, the countries have compensated for the effects of the pandemic and natural calamities.

The investment has bolstered their economy, which the Caribbean nations have used in multiple sectors such as healthcare, education, infrastructure.

Hence, the Citizenship by Investment Programme (CBI) of Dominica leads the country’s various development projects, including the construction of the over 5000 climate-resilient homes with the CBI funds. The country’s massive and most expensive project called “The International Airport” would also be built with the Citizenship by Investment money.

CBI Programmes

Starting in 2013, the CBI programme of Antigua and Barbuda stood at the forefront for many years and has been renowned as the World’s most efficient and transparent option for economic Citizenship. By reshaping and adopting a rigorous vetting process, the country has gained a great position in the ninth pillar of the CBI Index.

Dominica has started the CBI programme in 1993 and was crowned as one of the World’s best, longest-running and safest programmes. The Smith and Williamson report applauded the Commonwealth of Dominica for its performance in boosting the due-diligence process so that eligible citizens could get the country’s passports.

In 2013, Grenada opted for the Citizenship by Investment Programme (CBI) and gained a commendable place in the CBI Index. Grenada has been praised for offering the country’s passport to the eligible investor with the rigorous vetting process.

St Kitts and Nevis have become the longest-running and the oldest country to run the most-trusted and successful CBI programme established since 1984.

The government of St Lucia launched Citizenship By Investment Programme on January 1, 2016, having the newest and arguably the best position CBI programme in the Caribbean.

Antigua and Barbuda
In the University of West Indies Fund options, applicants will be required to invest Us$150,000 for a family of six or more.
Participation in the option will entitle one family member to a one year, tuition only, scholarships at the University of the West Indies.

The National Transformation Fund is a means of transforming Grenada’s economy. Applicants have to contribute at least USD 200,000 to the fund.
Investment option of Dominica

The Economic Diversification Fund supports public and private projects within Dominica, covering industries such as education, healthcare, sport and tourism. A single applicant must contribute USD 100,000 to the EDF.

St Kitts and Nevis
The sustainable Growth Fund is the newest investment channel under St Kitts and Nevis’s CBI Programme. Prime Minister Dr Timothy Harris introduced it in March 2018.

The Sustainable Growth Fund represents the ongoing advancement of St Kitts and Nevis to realize its potential as a proper small-island nation wCaribbean Report Press Editorials
ith an accelerating economy. With an investment of USD195,000 for family four, the applicant gets dual Citizenship.

Hence, the Citizenship by Investment Programme offered by Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St Kitts and Nevis and St Lucia provides dual Citizenship to reputable investors with the extensive due-diligence process.

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