The Caribbean opens up to Gulf Investors

Caribbean Island countries are offering second citizenships to attract investors

“The paradox of the world becoming at once more globalized and more mobile, yet at the same time more restricted, means that holding just one passport puts you at the mercy of just one government,” according to Wealth Report. This resonates particularly with investors from China, Russia and the Middle East and Africa who are constantly clinging to a background of uncertainty.

“Second residency and citizenships are becoming increasingly sought after among wealthy foreign investors as a means of improving their travel freedom and their families long term security,” said Armand Arton, President and CEO of Arton Capital, a global advisory firm that specializes in international migration and citizenship planning for the wealthy.

Although African investors have traditionally looked to countries like the UK and Canada before its recent closure, which offered established Immigrant Investor Programs, Arton says that strict quotas and residency requirements have pushed investors towards newer programs in the Caribbean which still offer the ability to travel freely to 140 countries without any visa restrictions.

Four Caribbean countries currently allow citizenship by investment; Antigua and Barbuda, St. Kitts and Nevis, the Commonwealth of Dominica (not to be confused with Dominican Republic) and Grenada.

St. Kitts and Nevis is the longest running and most established of all the programs so it comes as no surprise that it acts as a blueprint to its Caribbean neighbours who have more recently started to offer second citizenships and residency programs in return for substantial investments to their ailing economies. The only nationalities who ‘need not apply’ are the Iranians, due to recent international pressure, which prompted the Kittitian government to completely ban Iranians regardless of their residency status.

New citizens will enjoy visa free access to more then 120 countries, which include the United Kingdom, France and Canada.

Grenada reopens

Grenada re-opened their passport-for- investment scheme, which had ceased since 9/11. The Grenada Citizenship by Investment Act 2013 offers citizenship in exchange for a certain level of investment in the country. Two options are available — the first allows applicants to apply for direct citizenship with an investment of $500k in an approved real estate project, the second which is for residency requires a non refundable donation followed by a second if they wish to apply for citizenship after a minimum of one year.

Another added benefit is that the Grenadian law similar to St. Kitts and Dominica does not have any residency requirement in place for foreign investors. (Currently it’s only Antigua that has a residency requirement in place.)

Prime Minister, Keith Mitchell said the move would “provide tremendous job opportunities for Grenadians who, for years, have not been able to get a chance to earn their bread.”

Antigua and Barbuda

Meanwhile, after months of negotiation Antigua and Barbuda have also opened up an economic citizenship program. Similar to St. Kitts and Nevis, a $250,000 contribution to the country’s national Development Fund or a $400,000 real estate investment in approved developments is required. A third option is a $1.5 million “business investment” that allows an applicant to put money in a government approved business. An additional $50,000 application fee and a $7,500 due diligence fee exist on top of the investment amount.

Participants in this program will enjoy visa-free access to more then 120 countries, which include the United Kingdom, France and Canada but as mentioned there’s a strict residency requirement, investors will have to spend a minimum of 35 days over the first five years after acquiring citizenship in Antigua. The country says it will also take due diligence seriously. Investors “must have an impeccable record,” said Fitzmaurice Christian, the chairman of the new program. Christian expects his country will be naturalising around 450 new Antiguans per year by 2016.