Economic citizenship is offered when an individual completes the legal process to acquire
citizenship in a second country on account of the individual’s financial investment into that
country’s economy. St. Vincent and the Grenadines can benefit tremendously from such a
programme. The New Democratic Party will implement the Citizenship by Investment
Among the countries which have legislation authorizing the procurement of citizenship after
making a substantial investment are: Austria, Cyprus, Malta, Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, St.
Kitts and Nevis, Dominica and St. Lucia; of which five of the Citizenship by Investment
Programmes are in the Caribbean. Furthermore, foreign investors’ residence programmes have
long existed in the U.K, Portugal, Spain and Greece. Most of the EU countries offer in one form
or another some form of investment residency or citizenship programmes. In fact, more than
twenty five countries around the world are offering some form of investment citizenship
The richest country in the world, the United States of America (USA), allows foreign citizens to
obtain green cards. The USA allows foreigners to obtain their green cards under EB-5 Visa once
they meet the requirement of investing $500,000 in a specified employment area and can create a
number of jobs. Although there is an annual cap of 10,000 with regards to the issuing of
passports, the EB 5 programme alone has seen over $6.8bn invested into the US over the past
years. It is of interest to note that in recent years the USA reached its maximum of 10,000
immigrant investor visas before the end of its fiscal year. The IMF has stated that it is the
wealthy, private investors from the emerging market economies that are driving the trend.
Some countries do not offer citizenship for sale per se but offer various options to consider for
residency and citizenship. Not every country and programme is the same. For instance, countries
such as Australia, Belgium, Portugal, U.K, Singapore and Spain do offer programmes with a
difference. In Portugal for instance, foreign investors who spend 500,000 Euros on a property
are allowed the privilege or right to live in Portugal under what the government refers to as a
‘Golden Visa’ programme. The benefits have been tremendous since its inception in 2012. The
Portuguese Government announced in March of 2017, that it has earned more than 440 million
Euros from the Programme to date.
An English firm of advisors on citizenship, which advised their clients on what they consider the
most suitable places to invest their money has estimated that every year thousands of people
spent collectively two billion United States dollars to obtain a second or even a third passport to
their collection. Thus business executives and other wealthy individuals have taken the
opportunity to buy their citizenship. As the advisors stated; just like you diversify an investment
portfolio, you want to diversify your passport. One may go on to say that the idea of having a
second citizenship is adhering to the fundamental investment principle of not putting all your
eggs in one bucket. In recent years the citizen by investment programme has become extremely
popular with citizens from China, Russia and people from the Middle East.
The issue of citizenship is controversial as some argue that a passport should never be sold, it
should not carry a price tag, it should only be granted through birth or more traditional
immigration. Others are against the programme due to the potential for abuse from lack of

transparency and the fact that many, especially those in the Caribbean do not have a residency
requirement thus there is often no long-term connection by the applicants to the country. Others
are also worried about the negative repercussions from granting a passport to an applicant who
may be laundering money or worse yet turns out to be a terrorist.
Despite these objections, the number of Citizenship by Investment Programme is increasing as
they help to increase the flow of Foreign Direct Investment and in term fuel growth in the
economy. For example, during 2014 fiscal year, the government of St Kitts & Nevis which has
the oldest Citizenship by Investment Programme generated EC$767.9million in revenue. Fifty
percent, EC$383.7million was derived from taxes and the rest, EC $384.2million non-tax
revenue was generated from fees from the Citizenship by Investment Programme.
Is this growth in Foreign Direct Investment for St Kitts and Nevis and the rest of the Citizenship
by Investment Programmes sustainable despite the objections? According to, only 15% of the world’s population hold citizenship from leading
countries like Australia, Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and those in the
European Union. These Western and European countries despite their challenges are attractive to
the global elite from the remaining 85% born in such countries like China, Russia, India, and
Lebanon because they are wealthy, politically secure and provide easier access to other parts the
world. For example, Malta has a Citizenship by Investment Program which provides an
opportunity to work and live in Malta plus the other European Union countries. A Maltese
passport also provides visa-free travel to Canada, China, and the United States. That is not the
case for someone who carries a Chinese or Russian passport.
To support the program, senior executives at Henley & Partners who recently hosted the 10th
Global Residence and Citizenship Conference stated that recent unsettling world events such as
the attempted Turkish coup, French terror attacks, Brexit and now the Trump presidency has
increased interest from high net worth individuals for alternative residence and citizenship. Not
just from the global elite in countries like China and Russia but also from the United Kingdom
and the United States.
The New Democratic Party continues to express its commitment to implement the Citizenship by
Investment Programme which will bring tremendous economic growth and development to St.
Vincent and the Grenadines.

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PRO Lavern King. PO Box 1300, Saint Vincent, Kingstown VC0100