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A Closer Look at the Saint Kitts & Nevis Golden Passport Program

A Closer Look at the Saint Kitts & Nevis Golden Passport Program

The Saint Kitts and Nevis Golden Passport Program has been a magnet for wealthy international individuals, drawing their interest due to its alluring benefits. However, recent European Union (EU) and the United States (US) investigations have been launched into passport sales via citizenship-by-investment schemes in several Caribbean islands. This heightened scrutiny comes as demand for such programs has surged in the region.

Intriguingly, international applicants can acquire citizenship in select Caribbean nations for as little as $100,000, affording them enticing advantages, including tax benefits and visa-free access to Europe, as reported by SchengenVisaInfo.com.

Saint Kitts, in particular, has seen its Golden Passport initiative projected to generate approximately $192 million, constituting a substantial 51 per cent of the country's revenue in the past year, as revealed by a Bloomberg report. However, this program has not been without its share of security concerns, raising eyebrows and inviting a closer look.

The Economic Impact

Kitts-Nevis Prime Minister Terrance Drew

Nonetheless, Prime Minister Terrance Drew of St. Kitts-Nevis has underscored the significance of the Citizenship by Investment Programme (CBI) for his twin-island Federation. He emphasised that the CBI program continues to be a compelling avenue for high-net-worth individuals and families seeking legal citizenship within this territory. Prime Minister Drew asserted that the CBI has undergone rigorous reforms to bolster its integrity and reliability.

The Citizenship by Investment Program, a concept adopted by several European countries, extends an opportunity to affluent foreign nationals to obtain citizenship in participating countries, contingent upon a financial investment and the fulfilment of specified conditions.

Prime Minister Drew is unwavering in his commitment to enhancing the program's quality, emphasising that maintaining the program's integrity remains his foremost priority. He highlighted that the government has instituted significant updates, including mandatory interviews and stringent controls, aligning with local regulations and international best practices.

Prime Minister Drew's Commitment to Integrity

He elaborated, "We require mandatory interviews and have multilayered due diligence checks at every stage of the process. Each stage has sub-stages, showing the depth of our commitment to due diligence. We are enforcing strict compliance with the rules within our country and within the internationally accepted best practice."

Furthermore, Prime Minister Drew proudly noted that Saint Kitts and Nevis is an inspirational model for other nations in this realm. He highlighted the international community's recognition of their efforts, citing a notable example: "We serve as an inspiration to the rest of the world in our programming, and the international community is taking notice of our work. For example, Saudi Arabia recently granted us e-visa access; it is the only Caribbean country with this."

Critics and Concerns

While these citizenship and residency by investment programs contribute significantly to the economies of their respective nations, they are not without their detractors. Critics often accuse such programs of being entangled in irregular activities, including money laundering and tax evasion.

Also Read:

FATF and OECD logo

Last year, a collaborative effort between the Financial Action Task Force and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) undertook a project to scrutinise illicit activities associated with the CBI/RBI programs. Their findings revealed that criminals and corrupt individuals exploit these programs for money laundering and other illegal purposes.


What is the Saint Kitts and Nevis Golden Passport Program?

The Saint Kitts and Nevis Golden Passport Program is a citizenship-by-investment scheme that allows international individuals to acquire citizenship in select Caribbean nations in exchange for a financial investment.

What benefits does the program offer?

The program offers enticing benefits, including tax advantages and visa-free European access for those who obtain citizenship.

Why are there EU and US investigations into passport sales via citizenship-by-investment schemes?

The investigations have been launched due to increased demand for such programs and concerns about potential security risks and irregular activities.

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