On May 18th, at the China Offshore Summit 2021 in Beijing, the Head of the Dominica Citizenship by Investment Unit, His Excellency Emmanuel Nanthan, invited investors and families in China to apply for citizenship of Dominica. China Offshore is a media company that provides financial news and information to businesses and investment leaders in the region.
Hello and welcome to my presentation. I am hoping to give you an overview of the Dominica Citizenship by Investment Programme and the benefits it brings to Chinese investors. I am Ambassador Emmanuel Nanthan, and I have been the head of the Dominica Programme from 2015 as a proud Dominican citizen. I’m a huge proponent of the Dominica Citizenship by Investment Programme and its values as a tool to help Dominica reach its full potential.
Dominica’s Citizenship by Investment Programme has been in operation since March of 1993, making it one of the world’s oldest and most successful economic citizenship programmes. The Programme was implemented following Dominica’s independence from [the United Kingdom], [when] the Government [was] trying to attract more foreign direct investment into our country.
Since then, investors from around the world, some [searching for] a better quality of life, and others [searching for] wide-ranging travel rights, have obtained citizenship of Dominica and used [it] to their benefit. Dominica now has a great programme, and now, as they grow in diaspora in the Middle East, in Asia, in Africa, and of course, in China, the majority of our citizens have contributed to Dominica’s development.
Dominica attracts individuals from far and wide to [our] Programme [that has an] international[ly] renown[ed] reputation. The Dominican Citizenship by Investment Programme is widely recognised as the world’s most successful programme of its kind.
For four consecutive years, the Programme has been ranked by the CBI Index published by the Financial Times of London’s Professional Wealth Management magazine that ranks the world’s active citizenship by investment programmes against key investor priorities. And the [CBI Index has] ranked us consistently for four consecutive years as the best programme in the world. The reasons for our success, you may ask, what are the reasons Dominica has been successful, and my answer would be simple.
In the 2020 edition of the CBI Index, Dominica achieved full marks in six categories. First, Dominica was praised for its affordable minimum investment threshold. Under the Programme, investors can make a direct monetary investment of only US$100,000 and be eligible to be [citizens] of Dominica once their due diligence has been recognised as credible and they have passed that test. We [also] have the option of real estate, but that we’ll come to later.
Secondly, Dominica was praised for its streamlined application process. Applicants to the Dominica Programme do not need to complete a travel or residence requirement either before, during, or after the process, however, we will never seek to discourage our new citizens from visiting […] Dominica. On top of this, applicants need not complete a language requirement, a mandatory interview requirement or a culture or history test. So, we rank very well and with maximum points on those.
Importantly, the CBI Index [recognised] Dominica’s commitment to conducting stringent due diligence on applicants. So, our due diligence has been very important for us, and in our process, we got maximum points for that.
When we do our due diligence in Dominica, we only accept applications from recognised agents approved and appointed by the Government of Dominica. Due diligence is the cornerstone of our CBI Programme as Dominica has [a] duty to protect and preserve the safety of the international community. As such, at this stage, Dominica shows that persons who have been denied visa-free [access] to a country [with which] Dominica has visa-free travel with are not eligible to apply for the Programme.
In addition to this, we also have a multi-layered due diligence process. I mentioned before that your agent[s] must vet you and provide [those vetting results]. Once that is done, we get the applications, then they’re sent to our regional partners to cross-check against any international checks that support any security or financial crimes. Then we send the file to a recognised due diligence firm, and we use the best firms that offer due diligence in the world to do on the ground, boots on the ground, due diligence checks for us.
Finally, Dominica was recognised for its strong certainty of product, thanks to its stability and adaptability and its positive global reputation.
The impact of the Programme, in addition to receiving recognition [in] the CBI Index in 2019, [was analysed in a report] published by PricewaterhouseCoopers, [which] found that the Citizenship by Investment Programme had touched almost every aspect of life and every individual in Dominica. In Dominica, for example, citizenship by investment funds are being used to take care of the elderly in Dominica [through a] programme which is called the “Yes, We Care” Programme.
Citizenship by investment funds are the sole driver of Dominica’s housing revolution, which was initiated following the devastation of the island [after Hurricane Erika]. The Government is now building 5,000 climate-resilient homes and those have been given to people across the country, to ensure that all citizens have proper safe and secure homes because we live in a hurricane belt.
Our Programme in Dominica provides funding for our healthcare programme. The Government is currently building two hospitals and 12 health centres around the country, and that has been done thanks to funds [from] the Citizenship by Investment Programme. Funds from the Programme also have been used for the construction of a geothermal plant which should provide clean renewable energy to 90 percent of Dominica, which we may be able to export to our neighbouring countries or territories, neighbours [such] as Guadeloupe and Martinique.
In Dominica, in addition to helping Dominica meet [the UN’s] sustainability goals and improve its healthcare system, the Programme has contributed to the creation of numerous jobs in Dominica, including [in] the construction sector and tourism. The Programme has also been used to fund our airport and to continue infrastructure development for roads, bridges, and schools in Dominica.
The Dominica Citizenship by Investment Programme has wide ranging benefits for our Chinese friends. These are visa-free access and or visa on arrival […] to over  countries. Business opportunities and a number of incentives for businesses are available. [Investors can enjoy] life in [a] country with a stable democracy and a government that respects the rule of law, [and] access to high quality life and to abundant natural beauty [in] the ‘Nature Island’ of the Caribbean. Dominica, the ‘Nature Island’ of the Caribbean, [is the] nature island of the world.
Our Chinese investors can come to Dominica, they can visit, they can stay, they can buy property and they can operate. In fact, our Programme has [had] a very strong Chinese base from the very beginning. So, we are developing a very healthy Chinese community in Dominica, and a number of Chinese investors are involved in business in Dominica, be it in construction, be it in sales, be it in manufacturing, be it in water bottling, be it in supermarkets or elsewhere. There are just so many businesses available in Dominica being done by Chinese brothers and sisters.
Applicants have two choices, either a direct contribution to [the] Government, as I mentioned before and I said, for a single applicant that would be US$100,000, or an investment in a pre-approved real estate project that could be a hotel – and there are a number of hotels available and [that] have been constructed in Dominica. As a matter of fact, in Dominica, we have built five five-star hotels, all being done with funds from the Citizenship by Investment Programme. Most of those are international brands that our investors would know. We just completed the Kempinski, it is open now, and running very, very well in Dominica in Portsmouth. And the Kempinski is Europe’s oldest luxury hotel that opened [its] first chain in the Caribbean in Dominica, just two years ago.
We also have Marriott, the world’s largest [hotel chain…] again in Portsmouth. Not too far down the road, we are doing the Hilton Tranquility Beach Resort. So, these are the names that you know. We have opened our own local, very luxurious, Secret Bay. We also have our own very natural, very well-known, very well-regarded eco-tourism product, the Jungle Bay, that is already open.
So, for a main applicant, it would be US$100,000 for a direct Government application under the fund option. If you want to add your spouse, your spouse would add US$50,000 and [for an additional cost] you can add your children, you could add your parents or the parents of your spouse. You could add your siblings, your brothers and sisters, [if] they are under 18 or under 25 and they are not married and don’t have children of their own. You could add your brothers and sisters because to us in Dominica family is important. And when we know that our citizens, our investors are looking to take care of the[ir] families, particularly in these hard COVID times, we can be families together.
Under the real-estate option, [the] minimum investment is US$200,000 no matter the number of family members included in the application. The money is given to the relevant real estate developer as part of [a] standard sale and purchase transaction, it does not go to government treasury. So, the funds go to your private sector development. The [investment results in] a Marriott, Kempinski, Jungle Bay, Tranquility Beach– all logical investments. You could sell your shares in three years or in five years. [If you] sell your shares after five years, […] the person buying from you after five years will also be able to be a citizen of Dominica once they themselves go through our screening and due diligence process.
So instead of the Government collect[ing the whole investment] there is a fixed Government Fee [under] the real estate option and that’s for the main applicant, which is just US$25,000, [or US$35,000] for a family of [up to] four, not including your brothers and sisters [I.e.] siblings. [A] a family of [up to] six persons not including siblings would be US$50,000, a family of seven persons or more not including siblings would be US$70,000. Siblings from 0 to 17 if you are applying for real estate would [cost an additional] US$25,000. And if your sibling is 18-25, you have to pay a fee of US$50,000 for a sibling over 18 to 25 under the real estate option.
In Dominica, we strive to better our Citizenship by Investment Programme year on year. In [the] interest [of] ensur[ing] that Dominica maintains [its] commitment to due diligence and to provide an extra layer of protection for citizens, Dominica is in the process of phasing out machine-readable passports in favour of biometric passports and that should be in effect within a few months from now, this year in 2021. Additionally, Dominica is embarking on a campaign to increase its visa-free travel destinations by 25 percent by 2021.
My brothers and sisters, I am saying that you, as Chinese investors, [you] have an ideal opportunity to invest in a programme that is well-known. Our programme has been in place for almost 30 years.
In our programme, we have investors, who have children and grandchildren, who themselves have become citizens of Dominica. We actually have a programme [in which] our processing is quick: we do it within three months. The threshold for investment is very, very low – just US$100,000 in the direct government fund.
I, as someone involved in the Programme for a number of years, I take great pleasure, and great pride in welcoming you to invest in Dominica [and in] welcoming you to be citizens of Dominica, a country that has a commitment to natural beauty, a country that has a commitment to be the world’s first climate-resilient country, a country where we respect the rule of law, [a] country where we [ourselves] are in nature, where we live in line, and in tune with, nature.
In this hard COVID time, we [have been] able to manage all our cases so far. We have not had a single death by COVID in Dominica. Our cases are down to single digits, maybe just one or two, not more than five. We do [all] this because we are a committed country. Our economy has been one of the fastest-growing in the region for the last three years.
I thank you for listening to me. I thank you for giving me the opportunity to speak to you. I thank you for giving me the opportunity to appeal to you to reach out to invest in Dominica, so take care of yourselves. An investment in our programme is an investment for you, it’s an investment for your children, and an investment for your future generations.
I thank you for being here with me, and I wish you a very good day. Thank you.
This speech has been lightly edited and condensed for length and clarity.
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