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SKN Ensuring Robust Safeguards For Citizenship Program

by Mike Godfrey, Lowtax.net, Washington
14 November, 2014

Speaking at a presentation in Vietnam, St Kitts and Nevis Premier Denzil L. Douglas emphasized the importance that the territory is placing on maintaining the reputation of the nation's Citizenship by Investment scheme.

Douglas reported that his Government welcomed recent US Treasury Department advice regarding safeguards to prevent misuse of the Citizenship by Investment Program. In response, he said, the territory engaged with a wide range of domestic and international stakeholders (including the US Treasury) to protect the program from such abuse.

Douglas also highlighted the importance of ongoing communication with service providers, developers, and leading public sector partners worldwide.

Douglas said: "Where citizenship by investment programs are concerned, stable, well-managed members of the world community simply must work together to ensure that the highest standards of due diligence and cooperation are met. Focus and discipline have produced levels of economic growth in St Kitts and Nevis that exceed that of both our neighbors as well as leading nations farther away."

"Key to this upward movement is our well-managed, carefully monitored, and highly selective Citizenship by Investment Program, and my Government has ensured that all protective triggers and safeguards are securely in place and [are] under careful review. Standards and strict adherence to these standards is what has enabled St Kitts and Nevis to maintain a social and economic steady in a harsh, unpredictable global environment."

The Citizenship Program of St. Kitts and Nevis was established in 1984 and requires applicants to make an economic contribution to the country. In exchange, they and their families are granted full citizenship. To qualify for citizenship, the applicant must make either an investment of at least USD400,000 in one of the approved real-estate developments, in addition to paying government fees and taxes, or alternatively make a contribution to the Sugar Industry Diversification Foundation (SIDF) to the amount of USD250,000 (for a single applicant), inclusive of government fees with the exception of due diligence fees.

Once the application is approved, the passport affords the bearer visa-free travel to 120 countries. Apart from its lifestyle benefits, the islands are a popular choice for tax residency since income tax was abolished in 1980.

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