A Brief History of Caribbean Citizenship by Investment Programs

Updated: 9 July 2021

“…if cabinet is satisfied that such person has invested substantially in St Christopher and Nevis” were the first words, back in the 1980s, that enabled a person to claim St. Kitts and Nevis citizenship. In three decades, citizenship by investment programs not only have grown in number, but also in strength.

After the first appearance of citizenship by investment programs, the industry of economic immigration has been evolving and evolving constantly. As in nature, in this industry too, adaptation is the key to survival and to progress.

Developing Efficient Process for the Citizenship by Investment Program

Coming from the cradle of the sector, Caribbean citizenship schemes have always been sort of a guide to how to manage changes and sustain the quality. Always caring for the demands of the external parties, Caribbean island nations have been successful in satisfying the needs of the investors. However, recently in the sector, internal parties started to get involved in the process, too. Governments and governmental departments working together with program officers aim to make their citizenship by investment countries better and more beneficial for their country and their citizens.

In the second half of 2017 and in 2018, governments started to directly get involved in the process by giving directives to the jurisdictions taking care of citizenship by investment programs. These modifications that are made through exchange of ideas are the reason why Caribbean citizenship by investment programs are very good at adapting to every situation and environment.

Caribbean Citizenship Programs In Response to Challenging Circumstances

Having a bad year in terms of hurricanes, a lot of Caribbean countries had to take steps into recovery in a fast and efficient way last year. Since hurricanes and similar factors do not act on long term plans, governments of these affected countries in these kind of situations have to think quick on their feet or have to have their plan b’s and plan c’s ready to take action at all times. In 2017, after devastating climatic events, Antigua and Barbuda reduced its minimum investment amounts under the National Development Fund by 50 per cent very quickly, and used the increasing and fast generated income for rapid recovery.

St. Kitts and Nevis, similarly, responded quickly and established a provisional route to citizenship through a Hurricane Relief Fund which would enable “the country and its people to recover more quickly and to ensure that the infrastructure and people’s homes are fit and habitable where they have been damaged by this season’s hurricanes”, in the prime minister’s words. St. Kitts and Nevis also started offering a new option in the form of the Sustainable Growth Fund (SGF). Despite its youth, SGF option is today regarded as one of the most popular economic citizenship options around the world and it is a striking example of how to not only survive in the ever-changing and constantly shifting environment, but also thrive in it.

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