Britain to investigate Citizenship By Investment Programme in Antigua and Other Caribbean Countries

Britain to investigate Citizenship By Investment Programme in Antigua and Other Caribbean Countries

ST. JOHNS, Antigua and Barbuda, January 27, 2023 - English-speaking Caribbean countries that have instituted a Citizenship by Investment Programme, CIP, are  to be investigated by the United Kingdom,  with a view to determine the extent to which those programs undermine the Security of the UK.

Information Minister Melford Nicholas told a Cabinet press conference Thursday that the Antigua and Barbuda government believes that when the United Kingdom evaluates its Citizenship by Investment Program, the results or findings will be quite “favorable.”

He said “Antigua and Barbuda has an extremely strong due diligence investigative machinery in place; it ensures that only those high-caliber applicants that have no negative reports are approved for citizenship.”

”The island is among other regional countries, including Dominica, St Kitts-Nevis, Grenada, and St Lucia with CBI programmes that provide citizenship to foreign investors in return for making a substantial investment in the socio-economic development of these islands,” Nicholas said. 

He said Cabinet held discussions with the chief executive officer of the CBI programme here, Charmaine Quinland-Donovan, who assured them that there were no issues with the local programme. 

Nicholas said that since Brexit, the United Kingdom has been putting out “feelers” concerning border security issues. 

Additionally, he said Quinland-Donovan informed the Cabinet that “none of those breaches would be associated with any CBI citizen based on those who have been approved.
“She was able to indicate that a number of the OECS jurisdictions who have similar CBI programmes have made certain changes and are looking towards adopting some of the measures that we have in place. 

I really hope that other regional governments will work more collaboratively “to ensure that as a common group, we are doing everything possible to stave off any debilitating changes that may occur in the European Union,” Nicholas added.

Adding, “if we were to receive any early indication that (the UK) is going in a direction other than we would like, I am certain we will put the necessary resources to lobby for a more favourable outcome,”

Discussions are expected to be held between Prime Minister Gaston Browne, Quinland-Donovan and the British High Commissioner, Lindsy Thompson, will shortly be held to further discuss the matter.

All this comes as the government is actively considering alternatives to the country’s lucrative CIP should the European Union follow through with threats to remove visa-free travel to Europe’s Schengen Area from countries that currently have CIPs.

The Cabinet believes that Antigua and Barbuda’s digital nomad programme is one alternative that could be fully exploited, since it does not involve alleviating tax burdens which the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) deems to be unfair competition.

CIP has been a significant source of income in Antigua and Barbuda, adding more than EC$123 million to public coffers in 2021 and EC$115 million the year before.

The United Kingdom said recently that it intends to scrutinize the regional Citizenship by Investment Programmes (CIP), in all English-speaking territories. The intent is to determine the extent to which those programs undermine the Security of the UK.

Antigua and Barbuda’s Citizenship by Investment programme was first launched by the government in 2013. The programme helps Antigua attract direct foreign investment to the country, boosting economic growth across the nation and fund key community-focused projects and infrastructure. High-net-worth individuals and their families from all over the world apply for the programme to increase their global mobility and obtain a ”Plan B” passport. Successful applicants will be granted Antiguan citizenship and a passport which will enable them to gain visa-free travel to more than 160 countries worldwide.

The citizenship by investment programme for Antigua and Barbuda provides a second passport to investors offering visa-free travel to over 160 countries including the UK, EU Schengen zone, Hong Kong and Switzerland.  There are several options for investment to gaining citizenship in Antigua. Investors can choose to contribute $100,000 to the Antigua National Development Fund or invest $400,000 in a government approved real estate project. For connected investors this can be reduced to $200,000. Applicants also have the option to invest $1.5m in establishing a business ($5.0m for two or more investors).

 

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