For the second time in less than three months, the government of Antigua and Barbuda has attempted to clarify the relationship between its citizenship by investment programme (CIP) and a real estate development in the United Arab Emirates, which appears to claim that purchasing homes in the project somehow qualifies persons to become citizens of Antigua and Barbuda.
In late December last year, in a diplomatic note sent to its international partners, the government of Antigua and Barbuda made it clear that, as it relates to the Sweet Homes’ project, there is no automaticity whatsoever between persons purchasing such homes and the acquisition of Antigua and Barbudan citizenship. However, the government was forced to respond again on Friday to a report in local media that raised new questions about the UAE project.
Chief of staff, Lionel Hurst, said: “There is no requirement under the Antigua and Barbuda citizenship by investment programme for anyone to purchase any of the units under the Sweet Homes project in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The contractual arrangement with the UAE project is that it can refer persons to the CIP for consideration, and would be paid a commission for doing so in an open and transparent manner.”
Hurst emphasized that persons referred to Antigua and Barbuda’s Citizenship by Investment Programme (CIP) by the Sweet Homes project are required to invest in Antigua and Barbuda, in accordance with the laws of the country.
He said that there are only three ways in which any applicant could be considered. These are by: (1) investing at least US$400,000 in real estate in Antigua; or (2) contributing US$200,000 to the National Development Fund; or (3) making a business investment of US$1.5 million in the economy.
He stressed that: “All applicants for citizenship by investment from the Sweet Homes project who have been successful have paid the full sum of money due under the programme, consistent with the law.”
Hurst said that the officers of the CIP unit have requested sight of the advertisement by Sweet Homes and, if it is in anyway misleading, Sweet Homes will be instructed to correct it.
However, the claims by Sweet Homes are readily accessible on its website and, although the official position of the Antigua and Barbuda government seems to be that any purchase of a Sweet Homes unit does not confer any actual eligibility for citizenship, merely the eligibility to apply, the website in fact claims: “Buy this unit and get Citizenship/Passport of Antigua & Barbuda.” [. . .]