Barbados: Country and Foreign Investment
Import of Foreign Capital
See Offshore Legal and Tax Regimes for the exemption of offshore activities from Exchange Control.
A non-resident or foreign investor must register funds with the Central Bank that are to be used to make investments into shares or debt of companies incorporated in Barbados (and there are controls over their subsequent repatriation).
Central Bank permission is required for a non-resident (Barbadian or otherwise) to buy real estate in Barbados; permission is usually given if the funds are foreign and if the money is received in Barbados.
Since June, 2004 the country's commercial banks may, without prior Central Bank consent, approve all investment transactions in private unlisted equities in CARICOM countries.
According to the Central Bank, commercial banks are required to request and examine the relevant supporting documentation to ensure authenticity (e.g. sale/purchase agreements, proforma of the investment transactions, confirmation slips, etc.) and to document details of the parties to transactions.
Effective from the same date, commercial banks in Barbados may also approve applications to transfer funds from Barbados to CARICOM countries in respect of personal loans, maintenance and financial assistance without reference to the Central Bank. Where Authorised Dealers are not satisfied with the authenticity of transactions, they must be referred to the Central Bank of Barbados.
As a result of change in 2006, Barbadian residents and CARICOM nationals resident in Barbados who earn foreign exchange may hold foreign currency accounts with a limit up to the equivalent of BDS20,000 without exchange control permission provided the accounts are funded by foreign exchange of at least BDS50,000 annually. For limits in excess of BDS20,000 exchange control permission will be required.
Effective February 1, 2006, returning Barbadian nationals may hold foreign currency accounts with a limit up to the equivalent of BDS100,000 provided the funds credited to such accounts represent foreign currency earnings from abroad in the form of pensions, rental income, interest, dividends or other foreign income.
In its 2007 financial statement, the government announced that all exchange controls relating to Caricom would be abolished by the end of that year. Eventually, all restrictions with respect to non-Caricom transactions are to be removed, although the 2007 statement specified no time frame for this.