Mr. Les Khan, CEO of the Citizenship by Investment Unit, has just returned from a marketing trip to Abu Dhabi and Dubai. In addition to speaking at the International Real Estate and Investment Show in Abu Dhabi and the 12th Global Residence and Citizenship Conference, hosted by Henley and Partners in Dubai, Mr. Khan took the opportunity to have a series of one-to-one meetings with agents across those territories in order to confirm the government’s position with regards to the marketing of its schemes and to reinforce that these remain unchanged at USD $400,000, USD $200,000 for Real Estate and USD $150,000 for the Sustainable Development Growth Fund (for a single applicant).
Mr. Khan said, “Our programmes and the different funds on offer to investors and developers around the world have proved themselves to be resilient and sustainable by continuing to uphold both their integrity and market values. This means that the income flows from the programmes into the government for the benefit of the country and its citizens have been maintained at the level at which they were promoted.”
Mr. Khan reiterated the Government’s position that they do not encourage agents to sell outside of the regulations and that there are no government sanctioned discounts on any of the product offerings. He also noted that for the Sustainable Growth Fund, all monies are received into the Consolidated Fund based on the number of individuals on the application. A commission is also paid to International Marketing Agents after approval and funds are received.
In discussing the process for real estate applications, Mr. Khan emphasized that based on a sale at either USD $200,000 or USD $400,000, a purchase and sale agreement is received by the unit, and citizenship is granted after receipt of the relevant government fees and a Memorandum of Transfer is provided or, alternatively, the face amount is deposited into escrow.
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The UK’s Financial Times Special Report in its publication “Professional Wealth Management: A Guide to Global Citizenship the CBI Index 2018” reported that St. Kitts and Nevis’ Citizenship by Investment (CBI) Programme has been acknowledged as an industry leader in the world’s first comprehensive guide to countries that offer citizenship in exchange for investment: the CBI Index.
The St. Kitts and Nevis Programme was pitted against the 11 other countries that populate the CBI industry, and finished on top in four out of the seven components tested, including due diligence, speed and ease of processing applications, and mandatory travel or residence requirements. In addition, St. Kitts and Nevis rated the highest in due diligence owing to its strict parameters around vetting a potential applicant, which includes collaborating with international partners and non-governmental organisations to perform thorough on-the-ground and online checks of the applicant.
Mr. Khan added, “An integral part of my job is to uphold the Platinum Brand by ensuring that there is consistency in the way that our programme is marketed and managed by our agents and other service advisers. This includes seeking assurance that they do not promote products which the government has not sanctioned as this may inadvertently cause confusion in the market. Spending time with marketing agents around the world therefore is time well spent.”
Looking to the future, Mr. Khan says the Citizenship by Investment Unit will continue to innovate and develop new programmes that are consistent with the Platinum Brand and which add value. He says the new, permanent citizenship option in the form of the Sustainable Growth Fund (SGF) is an example of this.
“The SGF marks a significant maturation in the citizenship by investment market, as the scope of the SGF is closely aligned to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals set by the United Nations to be achieved by 2030. What we do therefore as a country with our CBI is closely aligned to international standards,” Mr. Khan said.