Article, originally published at HedgeCo
By David Drake
Countries either create or adopt investment programs to boost their economic development. The Citizenship by Investment Program and the Immigrant Investor Program are two programs toward this end. These programs grant residency and citizen rights to individuals that invest in a country of their choice.
I have researched this as a Special Advisor to Ambassador Paolo Zampolli, Dominica’s ambassador to the United Nations. In Dominica, the economic citizenship program dates back to 1993. The program takes the form of direct non-refundable payments to the Government of the Commonwealth of Dominica. Under the Commonwealth of Dominica’s citizenship investment program, enacted in 1993, a foreigner must invest $220,000 in a government approved real estate project. In St. Kitts-Nevis, where the citizenship investment program has been in place for 30 years, individuals must invest at least $430,000 in a government approved real estate project. To qualify for the US immigrant investor program, an individual, singly or with family, must invest a minimum of $500,000 to generate 10 jobs for Americans within the next two years.
The USA, UK and Australia have the most successful immigrant investor programs in the world. Switzerland is claimed to be the most friendly immigrant country to live in, but “expensive.” Other countries with immigrant investor programs are Bahamas, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, France, Hong Kong, Hungary, Ireland, Monaco, Montenegro, Panama, Portugal, Seychelles, Singapore, Spain, New Zealand and United Arab Emirates. Antigua and Barbuda approved its Citizenship Investment Act in 2013. Cyprus, Grenada and Malta also have similar programs.
Two real estate projects are ongoing in the Commonwealth of Dominica and at St. Kitts. These are attractive projects, not only because of their location’s natural beauty but of the investment potentials they offer. On the other hand, the United States offers options for individuals availing of the immigration investors program.
Cabrits Resort Kempinski at the Commonwealth of Dominica
The Government of the Commonwealth of Dominica invites individuals to take advantage of its first approved real estate project in the country – the Cabrits Resort Kempinski. This project is under the citizenship by investment program. An investment of $220,000 from an individual is required to qualify for citizenship in Dominica. Payment of this amount plus other government fees will give the individual an investment share in the Kempinski luxury resort and yearly income yield. The investment must be held for 5 years.
Located in the Cabrits National Park, the Cabrits Resort Kempinski is set to rank among the top five star resorts in the Caribbean. Designed to maintain a natural equilibrium between sea and land, the resort offers modern experience for guests.
Dominica’s outstanding beauty is formed by volcanic activity over decades, and aptly called, “The Nature’s Island.” Its tropical forests cover two thirds of the country with a rich fauna, and 1,200 species of plants. Its numerous rivers with invariably fast and steep streams flow to hundreds of pristine waterfalls.
The Government of Commonwealth of Dominica offers full citizenship status to persons that invest in approved real estate projects, and fulfill due diligence requirements. This means having a citizenship status for life; holding a Commonwealth of Dominica passport; and travelling visa free to more than 90 countries including Singapore, United Kingdom and Hong Kong. This project offers a lower cost investment in citizenship acquisition than in other Caribbean countries.
Park Hyatt at St. Kitts-Nevis
The Government of St. Kitts-Nevis has the oldest citizenship for investment program in the world spanning 30 years. The twin-island nation allows investors to acquire citizenship by investing in government sponsored projects. Individuals must invest at least $430,000 in a government approved real estate project such as Park Hyatt St. Kitts. With this investment, they will be entitled to a share of a 5-star hotel and a promise of annual income.
Park Hyatt St. Kitts is nestled within Banana Bay. Investing in this real estate project gives investors a wide array of benefits – St Kitts-Nevis citizenship status, passports, tax waiver, visa free travel to more than 139 countries, right to work and reside in St. Kitts-Nevis. This project also has a 5 year mandatory holding period.
Dominica is likely to raise investment to $450,000 to place it at par with St. Kitts-Nevis. It is also a means to reduce the number of applicants who qualify to the citizenship by investment program. Due to crimes committed in St. Kitts-Nevis by persons who have previously received citizenship, applicants are now expected to undergo background checks with Langley and Interpol in the U.S. before being approved for citizenship and passports. Dominica has started implementing stricter requirements for investors to gain citizenship.
United States Immigrant Investor Program
An individual, with or without his/her family, can apply for citizenship in the United States via its immigrant investor program. To qualify, the individual is required to create 10 full time permanent jobs for qualified U.S. workers and employees. To be able to fulfil this requirement, the applicant must invest $1 million, or at least $500,000. These 10 jobs will be assessed at the end of the two year conditional residency period.
At the end of the conditional residency of two years, the 10 jobs created will be assessed. Once this requirement is satisfied, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will issue a green card, or permanent resident status. The United States may issue up to 10,000 visas every year for eligible entrepreneurs.