LONDON - 12/10/2018 (PRDistribution.com)
A record number of investors queued this year in the hope of obtaining the citizenship of St Kitts and Nevis. The small Caribbean twin-island nation created the first ever Citizenship by Investment (CBI) programme in 1984 which allows reputable individuals who invest in the country’s economy to apply for its citizenship. Government officials recently reported that, up until November, more applications had been submitted in 2018 than over the past four years.
The spike in demand was partly credited to the new investment option, known as the Sustainable Growth Fund (SGF), introduced in March, 2018. The SGF is often quoted as the most straightforward, easiest and fastest route to St Kitts and Nevis’ citizenship. In return, successful candidates can enjoy visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to nearly 160 destinations worldwide. In the long term, the new economic citizens and their descendants can benefit from their investments, as they would be contributing to their adoptive country’s future development. Their impact is already felt on the islands, as the popular CBI programme, along with the growing tourism sector, are two of the main pillars of the nation’s economy.
On Thursday, Prime Minister Timothy Harris announced that, this year, St Kitts and Nevis registered the best debt-to-GDP ratio in the past quarter of a century, with surplus registered in several areas. As a result, a number of initiatives are rolled out during the winter holidays, to benefit current citizens. Amongst them are opening new public transport terminals; double December salaries for public servants; restoring the holiday pay for non-establishment workers; and launching the Poverty Alleviation Programme, designed to offer a $500 monthly stipend to households earning less than $3000 per month. “Good things are happening here in St Kitts and Nevis,” concluded PM Harris in his public address.
Under the Sustainable Growth Fund, investors can make a one-off, non-refundable contribution of US$150,000 per main applicant, while their spouse and children can be included in the same application for an additional fee. The funds are transferred directly to a Government account, which cuts out intermediaries and makes the processing faster and more transparent.
As many investors seek second citizenship as a physical safety measure against turbulent circumstances in their home countries, time is of the essence. To accommodate critical cases, St Kitts and Nevis offers the possibility for investors to speed up their applications via the AAP (Accelerated Application Process), which guarantees eligible candidates citizenship and the issuance of passports within 60 days.
The country’s due diligence framework – the vetting procedure every citizenship hopeful must pass before being considered – complies strictly with international security laws. This helps uphold high safety standards of the programme and ensures that its integrity remains intact. In August, Financial Times experts recognised the islands’ strong stance on due diligence in its annual CBI Index report. As a result, St Kitts and Nevis’ CBI programme is considered the Platinum Standard of the investor immigration industry.