Demand in immigration business jumps to 250 per cent – the highest in the world – due to the devastating impact of the 2017 hurricanes in the Caribbean that have created a need for funds to re-build the devastated areas, create new jobs and put the economies back on track. The small states in the Caribbean have introduced massive discount required for citizenship by investment programmes to attract more applications and investments to help re-build their economies.
AAA Associates, a Dubai-based immigration services advisory that specialises in second passport programmes and dual citizenship services, announced that St. Kitts & Nevis has dropped required investment by 50 per cent for a limited time - till mid-night of 30th March 2018. The announcement came at a time when the demand for the second passport has increased manifold.
Besides Saint Kitts & Nevis, Commonwealth of Dominica and Antigua & Barbuda also made amendments to substantially decrease the application costs, which have made it a much more accessible process. Obtaining a Caribbean or a European passport has become a crucial requirement for high-networth-individuals (HNWIs). These passports provide a sense of security for families and businesses, as well as freedom of movement.
St. Kitts demand trend is followed by Antigua & Barbuda where this state revealed the country’s Citizenship by Investment programme has raised some US$ 300 million (Dh1101) in the form of direct revenue and capital investment during 2017, equivalent to about 20 per cent of the nation’s GDP.
“The Hurricane Relief Fund (HRF), collectively launched by these states introduced donation funding that will be used to re-build the infrastructure of these countries and create thousands of new jobs that will feed starving families. The HRF not only collects donations but gives incentives to the donors by giving them the passport and citizenship which gives them visa-free entry to over 130 countries. That’s how the donation from the wealthy helps these countries and gives the investors the freedom to move around the world and expand their horizons”, said Mr. Imran Farooq, Chief Executive Officer of AAA Associates - a part of Samana Group of Companies.
“The drastic cut in investment has flooded our consultants with high volume of enquiries that we have never seen before. The generous discount, which will last till March 30, 2018, has increased CBI demand by 250 per cent for St. Kitts & Nevis which ranks first in the region for its CBI programme by The 2018 Passport Index. Along with Europe, the Caribbean is one region that has shown the greatest historical improvement”, Imran Farooq said.
Under the real estate option, the government of Saint Kitts & Nevis in February 2018 announced large reduction in fees for its citizenship by investment programme. The cost for a family of four has now come down to US$75,000 (Dh275,475) rather than the US$125,000 (Dh459,125) which was previously charged.
“The major attraction for HNWIs and for those who can spare $100,000 to $150,000 to invest in Citizenship by Investment programmes is the visa-free entry to over 130 countries, including Schengen region. It’s a relatively cheap bargain that the Caribbean Hurricane Relief Fund has brought to the world. The move is especially beneficial to St. Kitts & Nevis as the small island state recently signed a historic Visa Waiver Agreement with Russia”, Imran Farooq said quoting an industry report.
The small island state of St. Kitts was also the only Caribbean island recognised in Bloomberg BusinessWeek’s travel list for 2018, positioning the island an attractive destination for CBI programmes. Currently St. Kitts & Nevis residents enjoy visa free entry to over 130 countries/territories including Germany, Italy, France and the United Kingdom.
According to the Citizenship by Investment Journal, Grenada received 50 per cent increase in CBI applications in 2017. The concession in donation fee boosted the number of citizenship inquiries to manifold and flooded the UAE CBI advisories with high demand and keeping them busy. On the macro-economy front, discounted citizenship programmes have increased two-way investment, bilateral trade and supporting both of the economies – origin and destination countries.