Longevity, strict due diligence, adaptability and transparency are all reasons why the world’s longest running CBI Programme, Saint Kitts and Nevis, continues to be so successful. In a recent webinar, the Saint Kitts’ Prime Minister joined with other industry experts to discuss the country’s citizenship by investment successes
Launched in 1984 and the longest running CBI programme worldwide, the citizenship by investment programme offered by Saint Kitts & Nevis is considered to be the most secure and the fastest road to second citizenship, with its due diligence systems renowned as the strongest globally. Saint Kitts and Nevis’ fund option entails a one-time contribution of US$150,000 to the Government with no conditions attached and can be sorted in as little as 60 days.
So, apart from the obvious – minimum outlay of US$150,000, quick processing and visa-free access to 156 countries – what exactly has made Saint Kitts and Nevis’ CBI programme one of the most respected and successful ones on the market today?
During a webinar, held on Thursday, July 16, titled ‘Strength and Recovery Through Citizenship by Investment, and hosted by UAE-based newspaper The Khaleej Times, a panel of experts explored why Saint Kitts and Nevis’ CBI programme has been so successful.
The panel included the Prime Minister of Saint Kitts and Nevis, Dr Timothy Harris, the CEO of Saint Kitts’ Citizenship by Investment Unit (CIU), Les Khan, and Natasha Jones, from legal advisory and government marketing company, CS Global Partners.
The fact that the programme is the world’s most established and longest-running CIP, with a reputation as the Platinum Standard of the industry (and upon which many other programmes have been based), is surely a contributing factor to its success. Natasha Jones of CS Global Partners’ Government Advisory Team told Khaleej Times: “Having been in operation since 1984, investors can see that the Programme has truly stood the test of time.
Stringent due diligence
According to Les Khan, CEO of the country’s CIU, the programme’s success comes down to its efficiency and stringent due diligence. “Efficient processing has played a role in establishing the Programme’s success,” said Khan.
This efficiency, he explained, is partly down to its online case management system that allows the CIU to process and review applications remotely. This was particularly helpful throughout the Covid-19 pandemic as it meant operations continued to take place.
Khan further stated that the programme’s due diligence record is so well-respected due to the multi-tiered nature of its processes. This multi-tiered approach involves Authorised Persons who perform ‘know your client’ checks, along with CIU staff trained anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing, plus external bodies including world-renowned agencies and international law enforcement.
He added that by the end of 2020, St Kitts and Nevis is aiming to strengthen its due diligence systems even further with new regulations focused on fingerprint and biometrics and will be able to therefore perform a greater analysis of biometrics.
Adaptability to changing times
With stiff competition among the CBI programmes today and with more countries jumping on the second passport for sale bandwagon, including four other Caribbean countries now offering programmes, Saint Kitts has continued to adapt, evolving its programme in order to maintain its position as the Platinum Standard of the industry and to ensure it stands out from the crowd with unique and relevant offerings and that it responds to industry changes.
With increasingly more CBI programmes offering faster processing times, especially those in the Caribbean, Khan explained how Saint Kitts and Nevis launched a unique processing offer. Saint Kitts is now the only CBI jurisdiction worldwide to offer applicants an Accelerated Application Process (AAP), for example. For an increased fee, applicants using the AAP can receive citizenship in as little 60 days from the submission of application.
In addition, Khan explained, Saint Kitts’ CIU has implemented a Limited Time Offer until January 15, 2021, which reduces the contribution amount required under the fund option for families of up to four (now just US$150,000).
With family reunification so important right now, Khan said he was confident this limited offer would generate lots of interest from larger families worldwide.
Transparency of funding expenditure
Discussing the country’s long-running and well-respected citizenship by investment programme, which grew out of a desire to help the island nation stand on its own two feet after gaining independent from the UK in 1983, Prime Minister of St Kitts and Nevis, Dr Timothy Harris, reiterated how the programme has helped the socio-economic development of the country.
This is certainly a further draw for applicants, knowing that the funds they pay for citizenship are delivered into the country’s Sustainable Growth Fund (SGF) and ultimately fed into important socio-economic projects that directly help the people and future growth of the islands.
And unlike some countries, Saint Kitts is very transparent in explaining where its CBI programme funds do go.
Prime Minister Harris explained that the CBI program can contribute as much as up to 35% of government revenue, with the funds used to develop and sponsor socio-economic programmes on the island.
He pointed to the Poverty Alleviation Programme, which provides a monthly stipend to low-income households; and to the Skills Training Empowerment Programme (STEP), which he explained, had helped approximately 3,000 citizens improve their job prospects.
To find out more about Saint Kitts & Nevis’ CBI Programme, visit the Country Profile by clicking here