Basseterre, July 19, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — St Kitts and Nevis has yet again strengthened the administration of its Citizenship by Investment (CBI) Programme, announcing that all main applicants are to partake in a mandatory interview as part of the application process to its investment migration programme.
The twin-island Federation becomes one of the first Caribbean nations to introduce the soon-to-be industry standard. Instituted by regulations published on July 19, 2023, the new policy applies to all applications, including those already received but not yet approved by the Citizenship by Investment Unit (CIU). The new regulations also provide that dependants may be asked to be interviewed.
This new step in St Kitts and Nevis’ CBI application process confirms that St Kitts and Nevis has now fully implemented the six principles agreed between the United States of America and governments of the five Caribbean nations with Citizenship by Investment Programmes in a roundtable meeting held on February 25, 2023. That meeting was convened to discuss and agree on common ways to deal with threats to international communities in the investment migration ecosystem.
The five Caribbean participating governments are Antigua & Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St Kitts and Nevis and Saint Lucia. Their Prime Ministers and other senior state officials met with a USA delegation led by Anna Morris, Deputy Assistant Secretary at the USA Department of Treasury.
The group collectively committed to six CBI principles proposed by the USA, several of which were already adopted by the five Caribbean participating governments of their own volition as part of their risk management framework to strengthen and safeguard the integrity of their CBI programmes.
The six principles agreed were:
- Treatment of denials: Not to process applications from persons whose applications have been denied in another CBI jurisdiction, by proactively sharing information on denials.
- Interviews: Conduct interviews with applicants, whether virtual or in-person.
- Additional checks: Each jurisdiction will run checks on each application with the Financial Intelligence Unit of its respective country.
- Audits: Audit the Programme annually or every two years in accordance with internationally accepted standards.
- Retrieval of passports: Request law enforcement assistance to retrieve revoked/recalled passports.
- Treatment of Russians and Belarusians: Suspend processing applications from Russians and Belarusians.
A delegation from St Kitts and Nevis, headed by the country’s Prime Minister, Terrance Drew, also attended this year’s annual European Union-Community of Latin American and Caribbean States Summit (EU-CELAC) Summit in Brussels.
During the Summit, St Kitts and Nevis, along with the other Caribbean CBI islands, met with the European Commission and agreed to establish a joint task group to engage the stakeholders and keep both regions abreast of ongoing developments and find a common ground to work from.
“We are very happy about how the meeting went in Brussels. There is definitely a spirit of cooperation between ourselves and the European Commission, and we will continue to make our efforts in mitigating international security risk very clear so all our international partners are confident of the integrity of our programme,” noted Prime Minister Drew.
The third edition of EU-CELAC was held from July 17 to July 18, 2023, and aims to discuss key matters of interest that impact the Caribbean and the European Union and effective resolutions.
From July 19, 2023, main applicants, 16 years and older, for St Kitts and Nevis’ CBI programme will be required to be interviewed – virtually or in person – as part of the application process.
Head of St Kitts and Nevis’ Citizenship by Investment Unit, Michael Martin, commented that “St Kitts and Nevis remains committed to cooperating with our international stakeholders and takes the safety and integrity of our Citizenship by Investment Programme extremely seriously.”
Due diligence and risk mitigation remain a very important aspect of how St Kitts and Nevis approaches its CBI programme.
The country has one of the best regulated programmes in the world. St Kitts and Nevis is the only country with a CBI Board of Governors responsible for providing general oversight of the operations their CBI Unit; developing and implementing policies and procedures; ensuring that application processing is completed within the timeframes advertised without compromising the integrity of the programme; and constantly monitoring the global investor immigration industry to ensure that the country’s CBI Regulations align with international market forces.
The country is the also the only one with a CBI Technical Committee charged with ensuring all due diligence background checks are comprehensive in keeping with the country’s multi-sectoral good governance transformation into a sustainable island-state.
Caribbean CBI nations remain at the pinnacle of due diligence excellence and St Kitts and Nevis continues as a trailblazer for many CBI nations across the world.
The due diligence for the St Kitts and Nevis CBI Programme is conducted by highly respected international due diligence agencies from the USA, Canada and the United Kingdom, and vetted by the CBI Unit, Financial Intelligence Unit and international policing authorities. These agencies work together to facilitate a multi-layer due diligence investigation online and on-the-ground.
St Kitts and Nevis boasts the oldest CBI programme in the Caribbean, established in 1984, and continues to be a firm favourite among international investors across the world.