Citizenship for sale: how tycoons can go shopping for a new passport

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Jon Henley (The Guardian) focuses on citizenship-by-investment programs that offer the super-rich an opportunity to acquire a new nationality. Although the article mentions Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, China, India, Israel, Latvia, Russia, Mexico, New Zealand, Thailand, and Vietnam, among others, here are excerpts centering on Caribbean countries such as Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, and St Lucia. Henley writes:

It’s the must-have accessory for every self-respecting 21st-century oligarch, and a good many mere multimillionaires: a second – and sometimes a third or even a fourth – passport. [. . .]

The first launched in 1984, a year after young, cash-strapped St Kitts and Nevis won independence from the UK. Slow to take off, it accelerated fast after 2009 when passport-holders from the Caribbean island nation were granted visa-free travel to the 26-nation Schengen zone.

For poorer countries, such schemes can be a boon, lifting them out of debt and even becoming their biggest export: the International Monetary Fund reckons St Kitts and Nevis earned 14% of its GDP from its CIP in 2014, and other estimates put the figure as high as 30% of state revenue. [. . .]

The Caribbean

The best-known – and cheapest – CIP schemes are in the Caribbean, where the warm climate, low investment requirements and undemanding residency obligations have long proved popular. Five countries currently offer CIPs, often giving visa-free travel to the EU, and have recently cut their prices to attract investors as they seek funds to help them rebuild after last year’s hurricanes. In St Kitts and Nevis a passport can now be had for a $150,000 donation to the hurricane relief fund, while Antigua and Barbuda and Grenada have cut their fees to $100,000, the same level as St Lucia and Dominica. [. . .]

For full article, see https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/jun/02/citizenship-by-investment-passport-super-rich-nationality

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