(Wednesday, 25 April 2018)
In 1984, St Kitts and Nevis became the first nation-state to authorise citizenship to those willing and able to contribute to its economy. More than three decades later, the twin-island Federation remains at the forefront of the economic citizenship industry, with a Citizenship by Investment Programme that is today widely recognised as the Platinum Standard. Driving St Kitts and Nevis’ success is its commitment to innovating in a shifting market, while preserving a strong focus on due diligence, and the highest quality of service.
Early 2018 has demonstrated why the St Kitts and Nevis Citizenship by Investment Programme (CBI) continues to be a pacesetter in the industry, with a number of constructive changes to the Programme. The CBI’s temporary funding module, the Hurricane Relief Fund (HRF), drew to a close, which delivered economic stimulation against a particularly difficult hurricane season in 2017. The Prime Minister of St Kitts and Nevis, Dr the Honourable Timothy Harris, said the HRF had “exceeded all expectations”, attracting worldwide investment that would secure the twin-island nation’s future.
Prime Minister Harris signalled the closure of the HRF with the announcement of the Sustainable Growth Fund (SGF) – a new ongoing investment pathway to achieve second citizenship through the CBI. Made available from 1 April 2018, the fund will provide a permanent alternative to the long-standing Sugar Industry Diversification Foundation (SIDF) contribution model, in existence since 2006. The Sustainable Growth Fund is representative of a nation that is future-conscious, forward-thinking, and finding ways to stimulate the economy in a strong, and yet consistent, manner. Moving beyond the need to diversify from the sugar industry, the SGF is symbolic of the nation taking great strides to achieve prosperity.
The SGF presents a lower minimum contribution to achieve second citizenship, and simplifies the costs for each family member included in the application. The investment threshold for a main applicant is US$150,000, the threshold for a spouse is US$25,000, and the threshold for any other family member is US$10,000. Therefore, a typical family of four, composed of a main applicant, a spouse, and two children, is required to contribute a total of US$195,000. The contribution of US$10,000 per dependent (excluding the spouse) is a welcome change to larger families, who can affordably include additional children or parents of the main applicant and spouse who fulfil the requirements.
The SGF path to second citizenship offers all the same quality assurance for which the St Kitts and Nevis Citizenship by Investment Programme is known. For example, investors will still be able to apply to the Accelerated Application Process (AAP) – a unique feature of the CBI that guarantees the processing of an application in 60 days or under (including the issuing of a passport). The strict vetting procedures, which earned the Programme the perfect score for due diligence in the Financial Times’ PWM publication, will be maintained with the same simple and efficient process.
While prospective applicants are unlocking their future of greater stability, the economic stimulation received from the SGF will provide St Kitts and Nevis with equalled opportunities to thrive. The Sustainable Growth Fund will focus on stimulating the areas of education, health and infrastructure, mitigate the effects of climate change, support economic growth, and promote, preserve, protect and develop the culture and heritage of the nation.
Simultaneously to introducing the SGF, the Government also unveiled a new option for real estate investors. Before April 2018, applicants for citizenship of St Kitts and Nevis wanting to purchase property were required to single-handedly invest US$400,000, plus pay any applicable taxes. A further requirement was to hold that property for a minimum of five years. Real estate investors now have the alternative option to invest into a share scheme paying a minimum of US$200,000 into a luxury hotel resort. The real estate must be held for a period of seven years to maintain their economic citizenship status. Additional Government fees apply to both real estate options.
Early 2018 bore witness to a Federation determined to retain its legacy in the citizenship by investment industry, providing discerning applicants with new investment opportunities in the quest to achieve second citizenship. Investor immigration is growing and evolving, and globally, it moves quickly to adapt to the demands of the international market. That may bring with it some unpredictability, but one thing is certain: St Kitts and Nevis has been evolving their Citizenship by Investment Programme since 1984, and they will continue to make improvements in the quest to ensure the twin-island nation’s prosperity.