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November 16, 2020

Following eight months of uncertainty thanks to Covid, the British Virgin Islands (BVI) is the latest nation to announce investor visa programmes aimed at replacing lost tourism dollars. Both the proposed Invest-and-Stay and In-Stay programmes will provide foreigners with residency/remote working visas in exchange for investment.

This month, the British Virgin Islands’ Premier Andrew Fahie announced plans to develop an Invest-and-Stay programme with the aim of attracting potential investors from all over the globe.

This comes at a time when the pandemic has “created a lot of uncertainty about how global tourism will perform in the upcoming year”, stated Premier Andrew Fahie, adding that the government was subsequently taking adequate measures to address this.

Following the previous announcement of an In-Stay programme, Premier Fahie announced that an Invest-and-Stay programme is also set to be unveiled.

“We are working out the details for Invest-and-Stay programme to attract persons who would like to invest in specific areas of our economy,” he announced. “They would be allowed to live in the BVI but they will not be afforded the benefits that go with Belongership. However, they will be mandated to employ an agreed number of persons in the BVI based on the size of their investment.”

Premier Fahie further spoke about the VBI In-Stay Programme, which had previously been announced by the Immigration & Labour Minister Vincent Wheatley. At the time of announcement, the government had been assessing other countries who had implemented similar programmes to find the best suitable model for the nation.

In an update, Premier Fahie stated that the government was currently developing the terms and conditions for the In-Stay Programme, which would “allow persons to come to the BVI and stay for an extended period”.

The main target group, he said, would be those “able to do remote working for jobs in their home countries”.

He added: “These individuals will not be competing in the local job market, but at the same time they would be renting accommodations, patronising our businesses, enjoying what the BVI tourist experience had to offer and contributing to economic activity.”

This comes following a flood of similar digital nomad visa programmes launched since the pandemic kicked in in March. Designed to attract digital workers, who can now work remotely and wish to reside somewhere pandemic-free, the programmes give foreigners the chance to work visa-free for up to 24 months.

Since Barbados’ unveiling of its 12-month visa in July, there has been a continual roll-out of similar programmes, including from The Cayman Islands, Bermuda, Antigua & Barbuda, Dubai, Georgia and Estonia.

To read more about the array of digital remote working programmes on offer worldwide, click here

The British Virgin Islands are a British Overseas Territory in the Caribbean, to the east of Puerto Rico, consisting of the main islands of Tortola, Virgin Gorda, Anegada and Jost Van Dyke, along with 50 other smaller islands and cays. Just 16 of the islands are inhabited. Tourism makes up around 45% of the nation’s GDP. Back in 2018, the government discussed launching a citizenship by investment programme.