The first chapter features an interview with the Prime Minister of the Federation, Dr Timothy Harris, where he explains why foreign investors choose St Kitts and Nevis and how the country is benefitting from this.
What is Citizenship by Investment?
Yuri Bender, FT’s PWM Editor-in-Chief:
“The island nation of St Kitts and Nevis is situated in a part of the world that is both charmed and challenged. The Caribbean islands have long been the subject of colonisation and exploitation by competing western powers for their abundant natural resources and their captivating beauty.
“The appeal of St Kitts and Nevis to Europeans dates back to the 15th century voyages of Christopher Columbus and the English and French settlers of the 1620s. We have come to St Kitts and Nevis to examine the role of Citizenship by Investment in helping the islands transform their economy and adapt to a changing world. As in the past, the hidden treasures of the Caribbean islands are once more in great demand from foreign visitors.
“I am about to speak to the Prime Minister of St Kitts and Nevis. Dr Timothy Harris grew up in a rural community in St Kitts. His university studies later took him to Trinidad and Tobago and Canada, but he returned home to dedicate himself to a long career in politics and public service.”
Dr Timothy Harris, St Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister:
“In fact, when the CBI Programme was first formulated, it was intended to provide our country a new pathway for economic development. We can say that some 35 years after, we have seen the benefits of that vision being realised, with significant job creation opportunities; high earnings for persons involved in the construction sector; the addition of some top-class hotel facilities – like the Park Hyatt, like the Marriot Residences – in our country; and the coming into our shores of significant foreign investment. In fact, we are looking at new areas of engagement for the CBI Programme and new areas in which we can target to invest CBI flows, and agriculture diversification would certainly be one of these.
“The country has experienced a double-digit reduction in crime – thirty-plus percent or close to there – which has been significant. We have had interest from other jurisdictions, Barbados for example, envoys from [the] British government have come in to look at what we have been doing and they have been impressed. So violent crime is no longer a major issue and we hope to keep that.
“What we intend to do is use all the resources, including CBI revenues, to improve upon our social delivery. Education and health have long been priorities for St Kitts and Nevis. We want to bring more accredited institutions to offer education in St Kitts and Nevis to the rest of the world. I think it plays well into the platform that St Kitts and Nevis is a responsible member of the global community.
“I would say the discerning citizenship investor is concerned about not one single thing, but several attributes of St Kitts and Nevis. We look at some growth rates within the EU member states and the OECD – many of them have been challenged. So, they see St Kitts and Nevis as a vibrant economy, doing well and that in itself is an attractor to those who want to invest.
“Mobility always is important to people and so, yes, there is an interest in the ability to move. There is an interest though in finding countries that are strong on the rule of law, that property rights are protected and so St Kitts [and Nevis] offers, I think, all those indicators, all those areas of interest which an informed investor would look to.
“We have opened up to the rest of the world. We have been in dialogue with the US and Canadian governments and we say: come see what we are doing, come see best practice at work and if there are things that can be improved, we have every willing to learn, because we have long said that we are going to be the best, we are going to be a responsible member of the international community, and competition will come.”
About St Kitts and Nevis’ CBI Programme:
St Kitts and Nevis established its Citizenship by Investment Programme in 1984, a year after gaining independence from the United Kingdom. The fund option under CBI offers the fastest route to second citizenship, which, if coupled with the optional Accelerated Application Process, can grant full processing between 45 and 60 days. This includes the issuance of passports, a separate process from CBI.
Qualifying contributions for CBI in St Kitts and Nevis start at US$150,000 for a single applicant. Should they want to obtain citizenship for their spouse as well, they need to contribute US$175,000. Through the Sustainable Growth Fund, families can apply jointly. A family of four must make a one-off contribution of US$195,000, with the possibility to add more dependants for a further US$10,000 each.
In return, successful CBI applicants earn the same privileges as native citizens of St Kitts and Nevis, except for the right to vote. This includes visa-free and visa-on-arrival travel to nearly 160 countries and territories; the right to live, work and study on the islands permanently; accessing the country’s healthcare and education systems; etc. Investors can also pass on their citizenship to future generations and benefit from all the developments they would have contributed to when they applied to the CBI Programme.
There are no minimum residence or visit requirements, however, all applicants must pass the Programme’s rigorous due diligence checks.
St Kitts and Nevis’ Citizenship by Investment Programme
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