BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, JUNE 4TH 2014 (CUOPM) – A leading service provider in the global Citizenship By Investment programme says the St. Kitts and Nevis’ Citizenship by Investment Programme despite issues is relatively well run and a model.
BBC News Business section in a feature on the global programme noted that the programme has recently been singled out by the US Treasury, which cautioned that Iranian nationals could be obtaining passports and then use them to travel to the US or make investments, which could violate US sanctions.
BBC News noted that St. Kitts and Nevis closed its programme to Iranians in December 2011.
However, it said that Mr. Kalin of Henley and Partners, which helped to set up the programme, says that while the programme has its issues, “St. Kitts is relatively well run – it’s in a way a model.”
Mr. Kalin adds that Caribbean locations are good for interim passports for “global citizens” who are looking to eventually establish themselves via investments in other “economic citizenship” programmes like those in Portugal or Singapore
BBC News noted that St. Kitts and Nevis has the longest running citizenship-by-investment programme (CIP) in the world, which was founded in 1984, noting that there are two methods to obtain citizenship, with the cheapest option being a US$250,000 non-refundable donation to the St Kitts and Nevis Sugar Industry Diversification Foundation, a public charity. A second option involves a minimum $400,000 investment in real estate in the country.
Kalin in the BBC News feature estimates that every year, several thousand people spend a collective $2bn (£1.2bn; 1.5bn euros) to add a second, or even third, passport to their collection.
“Just like you diversify an investment portfolio, you want to diversify your passport portfolio,” he says. The option has proven popular with Chinese and Russian citizens, as well as those from the Middle East.
Cash-strapped countries have taken notice. In the past year alone, new programmes have been introduced in Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, Malta, the Netherlands and Spain that either allow direct citizenship by investment or offer routes to citizenship for wealthy investors.