Why nations should follow the Caribbean’s lead on the regulations of Citizenship by Investment

Dominica and St Kitts and Nevis are setting a global standard for the efficiency and regulations of Citizenship by Investment.

Citizenship by Investment (CBI) Programmes have become increasingly popular as a means for countries to attract foreign investment and foster economic growth. Among the diverse range of CBI Programmes, the Caribbean nations, particularly Dominica and St Kitts and Nevis, have set a noteworthy example throughout 2023. This is especially evident in the way they prioritise the regulations of Citizenship by Investment.

The Sustainable Island State Agenda

St Kitts and Nevis, as well as Dominica, have taken significant strides to transform their countries into sustainable island states.

St Kitts and Nevis Minister Konris Maynard emphasises the pivotal role of transitioning to green energy for the federation to achieve sustainability.

Green energy is a core pillar in the government’s Sustainable Island State Agenda. It stands alongside food security, economic diversification, sustainable industries, the creative economy, COVID-19 recovery, and social protection.

Minister Maynard asserts that addressing energy dependency is crucial for solving multiple challenges, including water, food, industries, and salaries.

The government aims to reduce reliance on fossil fuels, leading the way to 100 per cent renewable energy by 2030.

The establishment of a large solar photovoltaic and battery energy storage project, along with a geothermal energy project on Nevis, will play a key role.

Nevis’ geothermal potential, exceeding one gigawatt, presents an opportunity to power the entire federation sustainably. This highlights significance of energy in the nation’s pursuit of sustainability.

Dominica has also secured its geothermal power plant deal with Ormat Technologies Inc., during the COP28 that took place in Dubai.

Dominica’s geothermal power plant will align with the Government’s agenda to stabilise electricity. Subsequently, it will reduce energy waste and harness the power of green energy.

Transparency and Credibility

One of the hallmark features of Caribbean CBI programmes, especially those of St Kitts and Nevis and Dominica, is their commitment to transparency and credibility.

These nations have established robust regulatory frameworks, ensuring that the application process is clear and consistent.

This commitment to integrity enhances the trustworthiness of their programmes. They attract high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs) seeking a secure and reliable pathway to citizenship.

The World Citizenship Report (WCR) 2023 ranked Dominica as the safest and most secure Caribbean CBI country.

Accessibility into Dominica and St Kitts and Nevis CBI Programmes

St Kitts and Nevis and Dominica have set a precedent by offering CBI programmes that are comparatively more accessible than many others globally.

The investment requirements for these programmes are structured in a way that makes citizenship attainable for the discerning investor.

This inclusivity not only diversifies the pool of applicants but also contributes to the socioeconomic development of the host countries.

Stringent Application Processes

The efficiency of the application process is a crucial factor in the success of any CBI programme.

Both St Kitts and Nevis and Dominica have implemented streamlined procedures that expedite the citizenship acquisition process.

By minimising bureaucratic hurdles, these countries make it more attractive for investors. Essentially ensuring a quick and efficient journey towards obtaining citizenship.

Dominica recently announced changes to its CBI regulations to strengthen the Programme and ensure that it remains exemplary in the investment migration industry.

The new rules enhance due diligence, formalise information sharing, and align with international standards.

Regulation changes include increased scrutiny on Authorised Agents (AAs) and Licenced Promoters, reflecting Dominica’s dedication to transparency.

The regulations address dependant eligibility, name changes, and impose stringent requirements on AAs and Licenced Promoters.

Dominica’s focus on continuous improvement, exemplified by incorporating the Six Principles, reinforces its CBI Programme’s credibility, attracting investors with a commitment to sustainability.

The Programme’s impact on climate resilience, infrastructure development, and ecotourism further solidifies Dominica’s position as a leading destination for responsible investment.

Prime Real Estate Investment Opportunities

Real estate investment is a key component of many CBI programmes, and the Caribbean nations have capitalised on this by offering enticing opportunities.

Dominica and St Kitts and Nevis provide investors with the chance to invest in approved real estate projects. These projects stimulate economic development in the process.

The careful selection and monitoring of these government-approved properties ensure that they align with the countries’ broader developmental goals.

St Kitts and Nevis anticipate a substantial increase in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the short and medium term, following negotiations by Senior Minister Honourable Dr Denzil Douglas.

During St Kitts and Nevis’ 2024 Budget Debate, Honourable Dr Douglas revealed cabinet-approved concessions for a luxury hotel. He projected millions of US dollars in investment and job creation.

And additional projects, totalling over half a billion US dollars, are in the pipeline.

Driven by the minister’s efforts in engaging economic partners, these investments focus on sectors like health tourism, manufacturing, offshore education, green energy, and public infrastructure.

The Government’s proactive approach aims to achieve economic rebound by the end of 2024. The St Kitts Investment Promotion Agency supports these promotional endeavours.

Global Mobility and Visa-Free Travel

The Caribbean CBI programmes, particularly those of Dominica and St Kitts and Nevis, grant successful applicants visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to numerous countries worldwide.

This enhanced global mobility is a major draw for investors seeking the flexibility to travel for business or leisure.

The inclusion of strategic visa agreements enhances the value proposition of these CBI programmes, making them even more attractive.