A passport to the Caribbean: making memories, growing investments

A passport to the Caribbean: making memories, growing investments

How Citizenship-by-Investment programs are turning the region, known for its beautiful beach getaways and warm weather, into prime destinations for investors from Southeast Asia.

A paradise for both holidaymakers and money-makers. This description aptly fits the Caribbean region. Its idyllic beaches, diverse culture, and the promise of adventure and luxury are top draws for those wanting to discover the exotic islands in the Caribbean Sea.

In recent years, the region's aggressive pitch as a premier and reliable investment centre has given wealthy businessmen who wish to make the islands their second home an offer that's too hard to refuse. The demand is not only from the Western world, but also an increasing one from Asian region.

To propel their economic growth, several Caribbean island nations adopted a citizenship-by-investment program, which gives citizenship to any of the five countries--The Commonwealth of Dominica, Antigua & Barbuda, Grenada, St. Lucia, and St. Kitts & Nevis--in exchange for investments in government bonds, contributions into a government-approved fund or in licensed real estate projects.

For expats and Thais who yearn for a taste of the Caribbean vibe, the program presents a tempting opportunity to acquire a second citizenship and reap the benefits that come with it, such as tax benefits and visa-free travel to other parts of the world.

"Demand for the programs has been picking up among nationals of other countries, including China, Vietnam, and Thailand, due to the Caribbean's promising investment opportunities, and the quality of life that the region offers," said Bastien Trelcat, Managing Partner of multinational immigration and business law firm Harvey Law Group (HLG).

Bastien noted that Southeast Asians' middle class is growing with the changing business culture. "An increasing number of us are exploring more of the world, becoming more adventurous not only for us and our families, but also for our enterprises in order to expand a business footprint abroad," he said.

"In Southeast Asia, people are constantly yearning for different types of investments where they can maximize their benefits and enjoy perks such as dual citizenship, in addition to acquiring visa-free movement around the world."

"The Caribbean programs are an attractive route to a lot of investors, given that they are part of North America, with the islands serving as a jump off point for further investments, especially in outsourcing and other businesses. Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Myanmar are all becoming increasingly globally aware of these opportunities," said Trelcat.

HLG has offices in Antigua & Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, and St. Kitts & Nevis.

Interested applicants have a selection of five prime destinations, each with distinct perks and benefits:

Antigua and Barbuda (Minimum investment of US$100,000)

Known for its mix of reef-lined beaches, rainforests and resorts, Antigua and Barbuda offers an attractive tax regime to foreign investors under its citizenship-by-investment program. The Antigua and Barbuda passport also allows greater travel mobility because of its visa-free entry feature to over 125 countries, including the Schengen area and the United Kingdom.

Foreign investors have an option of either making a minimum contribution to its National Defence Fund, acquiring a property in one of the government-approved real estate projects (US$400,000), or putting in capital into an eligible business. Each option is subject to government processing and vetting, plus legal fees for the application.

The Commonwealth of Dominica (Minimum investment of US$100,000)

Dominica's citizenship-by-investment program offers applicants two potential routes to acquiring citizenship: making a non-refundable contribution to its government fund or purchasing a government-approved real estate property (US$200,000).

To enjoy Dominican citizenship is also to obtain tax-free status for applicants and their direct dependents and visa-free travel to over 120 countries, including the UK and the Schengen area.

Grenada (Minimum investment of US$150,000)

Grenada's program guarantees fast processing and waives interviews, residency requirements, and tax on worldwide income. Similar to the other Caribbean citizenship programs, a Grenada passport holder enjoys visa-free travel to over 125 countries, including the UK and the Schengen Area.

Its investment program requires either making a contribution to the Grenada National Transformation Fund, or purchasing a government-approved real estate project (US$350,000) and holding it for at least five years.

St. Kitts and Nevis (Minimum investment of US$150,000)

The twin-island nation's citizenship-by-investment program, the oldest in the world and touted as the most trusted and successful, doesn't require an applicant to fly to the Caribbean for the processing. However, one can insist and make it an excuse to explore the romantic paradise's quiet beaches and lush mountain forests.

St. Kitts and Nevis passport-holders enjoy visa-free travel to over 130 countries, including the Schengen area, the UK, Hong Kong and Singapore, among others.

Applicants are expected to make an investment in the nation's Sustainable Growth Fund. But for those looking at real estate acquisition instead, the property must be bought from a government-approved development (US$200,000) and held for a minimum of seven years.

St. Lucia (Minimum investment of US$100,000)

St. Lucia's citizenship program, the latest of the Caribbean's offerings, allows applicants, their immediate family, and their parents to apply for citizenship that is accessible to over 120 countries without visa. It also provides multiple tax incentives and waives residency requirements.

A variety of investment options are given to the applicant, such as to the Saint Lucia National Economic Fund or to the nation's five-year government bonds. Investors also have the choice to acquire a real estate property (US$300,000) and hold on to it for a minimum of three years or infuse funds into an approved enterprise project.

"The Caribbean citizenship-by-investment programs are attractive destinations for those who are looking to diversify their investments and expand through real estate and enterprises. HLG combines world-class acumen with local insight to deliver exceptional legal advice and representation to reach and exceed our clients' needs, whether in business or immigration," said Trelcat.

HLG is a leading multinational law firm specialising in corporate law and mobility with a worldwide reputation for representing high-profile clients and corporations. HLG was awarded for Best Immigration Firm at the 13th annual Macallan ALB Hong Kong Law Awards 2014 and 2017. HLG entered Thailand as the top immigration consulting law firm with the most comprehensive mobility packages.

HLG is duly licensed by most CIPs to promote and submit applications on behalf of investors.

For further inquiries or investment immigration program opportunities, contact HLG Managing Partner, Bastien Trelcat (btrelcat@harveylawcorporation.com)

Call 02-670-1848 or visit us www.harveylawcorporation.com and FB: https://www.facebook.com/HLGthailand

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