BASSETERRE, St. Kitts-Nevis, March 21, 2018 (CMC) – The St. Kitts-Nevis government has announced new initiatives, it said will further “maintain the high quality” of the controversial Citizenship by Investment Program (CBI), under which foreign investors are given citizenship of the twin-island federation in return for a significant contribution to the socio-economic development of the country.
Prime Minister, Dr. Timothy Harris, said that, over the past several weeks, his administration had been engaged in a consultative process with developers and other stakeholders regarding the CBI, and that “to date, our program has been a success”.
He added, the authorities have improved the efficiency, enhanced the governance, and insisted on high standards of due-diligence under the CBI, and that the country recently signed visa-waiver agreements with Russia, India and Indonesia.
“Citizens of St. Kitts and Nevis enjoy visa-free entry to more than 140 countries, including Germany, France, Holland, Italy and the United Kingdom. This shows that our strategies are working and that the government should continue to develop its CBI platinum brand,” Harris said.
He said that the Hurricane Relief Fund (HRF), which his government launched, in October 2017, has been well received by the market and has exceeded all expectations. He noted that a number of applications are still being processed.
“We said, at the time, that the HRF was only temporary, and would expire at the end of March 2018. We are now ready to announce its successor, as well a revised real estate offering that will further invigorate our CBI program.”
Harris explained that the new fund, to be called the Sustainable Growth Fund, will invest in sustainable areas, benefitting every citizen in areas such as healthcare, education, alternative energy, heritage, infrastructure, tourism and culture, climate change and resilience, and the promotion of indigenous entrepreneurship.
“The Sustainable Growth Fund for a single applicant will require a contribution of US$150,000, inclusive of government fees. The contribution for a family of up to four will be US$195,000, following incremental steps. We think this is attractive and sustainable,” Harris said.
He said that the government would retain the existing real estate investment option at US$400,000, plus US $75,000 in government fees.
“This investment can still be resold after five years. However, in order to attract luxury resort developments there is now being proposed another option, where a real estate offering that requires a US $400,000 investment may attract two applicants at US $200,000 each, plus government fees, but this can only be resold after seven years.
“We have given favourable consideration to the recommendation by real estate developers for existing developments to qualify for inclusion in the new option,” he added.
The St. Kitts-Nevis Prime Minister said that despite the new initiatives, “we will maintain our very high standards of integrity, rigour and robust due diligence”.
“In fact, we continue to improve our due diligence process and, in the near future, we will be introducing biometrics, starting with applicants from high risk countries. We shall continue to refine our program and will continue to strengthen our platinum brand,” he said.