Les Khan spoke to Investment Migration Insider during the 12th Global Residence & Citizenship Conference in Dubai earlier this month.
Earlier this year, Saint Kitts & Nevis halved the investment requirement for its real estate option, reducing it from US$400,000 to US$200,000. The move has paid off, according to the CIU-boss.
“Our real estate option is really taking off now […] It’s become a viable option and it’s now almost on par with the Sustainable Growth Fund. […]”
Khan also indicates that the restructuring of the real estate investment requirements, as well as the fee changes, have helped bring about a more balanced distribution of capital allocation between the contribution and property options and that it has “invigorated the real estate market and developers who were stagnant are now back in the market, getting sales, and being motivated to complete their projects.
Khan also shared an update regarding his due diligence procedures; henceforth, applicants will need to provide biometric data in the form of fingerprints.
“But it’s not just about fingerprints, it’s about identity verification,” says the CIU-head, and explains that the policy will help prevent cases of mistaken identity as well as serve as a deterrent to applicants of questionable backgrounds.
Continuing on the topic of due diligence, Khan does not accept at face value the notion that the Malta IIP’s due diligence is the industry benchmark.
“I take issue with that,” he says, “because Henley & Partners, in a report from last year, identified Saint Kitts & Nevis as the strongest due diligence entity in the world […] so we’re ahead of Malta, I have to tell you” smiles Khan.
While Khan has consistently refrained from sharing detailed data on applications under his program, he does divulge some remarkable statistics.
“50% of our applicants are from China and another 45% from the Middle East,” notes Khan, and further confirms that the program received “in excess of 1,200 applications under the Hurricane Relief Fund,” as previously divulged by Prime Minister Harris.