There’s been not much movement on intentions or suggestions by the European Union (EU) to phase out the Citizenship by Investment Programs (CIP) in the Caribbean.
Last year, the EU Parliament voted, to ask the Commission to formulate a strategy to eventually request that CBI programs be removed in Antigua and Barbuda and the other countries like Dominica and St Kitts and Nevis and all other countries allowing citizenship by investment.
So, these countries could be given an ultimatum by the EU, to end their Citizenship by Investment Program or face visa restrictions.But Nuri Katz , the President for Apex Capital Partners; a licensed agent throughout the world for CIP said since the announcement, the EU has not made any official request.
“They have not made an official request really, there have been internal discussions within the EU about making that request but they have not done it. The EU is very complicated and things take a long time to go through their bureaucracy,” Katz said.
When the EU signaled its intentions, to make a request to phase out the CIP, Prime Minister Gaston Browne was among the first Caribbean leader to speak out against the move.
In fact, he wrote officially to the EU asking that they rethink the position, proving evidence that Antigua and Barbuda probably hold the most robust due diligence process before citizenship can be granted.
“There are contacts between all the Caribbean countries and Europe I think those discussions should continue. More energy should be put into it. There are a lot of discussions going on a hopefully they will bear fruit. At the end of the day I believe they are actually going to make the CIP better.
The CIP expert said further that the EU just needs to be satisfied that the due diligence process is solid and robust and “if they satisfied then I think this issue will be settled”, Katz added.
In 2014, when Antigua and Barbuda first entered into the CIP initiative, it reeled in a whopping $200 Million during its first year of operation. According to reports, on an average, the country yields about 100M every year.
All this comes as a group of concerned leaders in the global investment migration industry remains convinced that if CIP’s are phased of, the economy in Antigua and Barbuda and other countries could collapse.
The group which consists of a CIP representative from each country said a meeting should be held with the EU to “explain to the European Commission the depth of global due diligence performed on all applicants, including using the services of international due diligence firms as well as various national and international law enforcement agencies,”
Stéphane Tajick, a leading investment migration researcher and industry stakeholder, the meeting should consist of “officials of the European Commission, including the CIP governments, due diligence agencies, as well as members of the legal, banking and financial services communities of the CIP countries, in addition to a dialogue with the EU parliamentarians to address their concerns”.
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