The Citizenship by Investment Programs in Vanuatu and Caribbean Countries: A Price War for Wealthy Investors
Citizenship by investment programs have become increasingly popular in recent years, with wealthy investors seeking to acquire a second passport through investment. Vanuatu and Caribbean countries are among the most sought-after destinations for these programs, as they offer unique benefits and simplified participation conditions.
According to James Harris, the Managing Director of the Vanuatu Information Centre, Vanuatu has reduced the cost of its citizenship by investment program to attract high-income foreigners. In April 2018, Harris explained in an interview with Investment Migration Insider that the government of Vanuatu reduced the minimum investment amount for program participants. The new prices for Vanuatu's passport under the Development Support Program (DSP) are as follows: $150,000 for an individual investor, $170,000 for an investor and spouse, $185,000 for a family couple with an underage child, and $200,000 for a family of four. These prices include government fees but not fees from agencies offering immigration services. Additionally, the program provides a unique benefit, allowing individuals to obtain citizenship within one to two months, faster than any other country.
Caribbean countries have also made changes to their passport programs, with Antigua and Barbuda halving the minimum amount of investment required to purchase real estate for citizenship, and Saint Kitts and Nevis reducing the minimum donation amount required to the National Development Fund by 25%. Additionally, the Grenadian government reduced the minimum investment amount for individual applicants from $200,000 to $150,000.
These changes have led to a 'price war' among Lesser Antilles, which has encouraged governments to reduce costs and simplify the citizenship by investment program participation conditions. To promote harmonious relations among the island countries, the Investment Migration Council has recommended setting the minimum contribution amount for all Caribbean programs at $150,000.
As of now, individuals can legally obtain a second passport for no less than $100,000 in five Caribbean countries, Vanuatu, and two European countries: Cyprus and Malta. While the Caribbean programs are popular among those who want to multiply their investments and reduce their tax burden, Vanuatu is a preferred choice for investors who want to obtain a second passport quickly. On the other hand, Cyprus or Malta is a good option for candidates who wish to access all the benefits of European citizenship.
In conclusion, the citizenship by investment programs in Vanuatu and Caribbean countries have become a battleground for wealthy investors seeking a second passport. The changes made to the programs by various countries have led to a 'price war', which has resulted in reduced costs and simplified participation conditions for investors. The Investment Migration Council has recommended setting the minimum contribution amount for all Caribbean programs at $150,000 to promote harmonious relations among the island countries. As the demand for these programs continues to grow, it is likely that more changes will be made in the future to attract more investors.