Grenada Moves to Strengthen its Economic Citizenship Program

The government of Grenada has reduced the minimum investment requirement for the real estate option of the country’s citizenship by investment (CBI) program from US$350,000 to US$220,000.

The new reduced investment is only applicable where applicants co-invest in a unit, for a total of US$440,000 each.

Changes to Grenada’s citizenship by investment program (CBI), including the appointment of Thomas Anthony as chief executive of its citizenship unit, led to a strong fourth quarter (Q4) last year. Revenue was up by more than 25 percent in Q4, inclusive of 83 applications approved by the cabinet of Grenada.

Grenada is fast establishing a reputation as the most prudent and dynamic country for second citizenship investment in the Caribbean, or even the world. It has not been beset by allegations of financial irregularity, as has been the case recently in St Kitts and Nevis, where agents are advertising illegal cut-price citizenships with financing options.

The government of Grenada and the CBI unit is taking the lead in running a successful and prudent citizenship programme prefaced on due diligence, recently reiterating the importance of security and integrity in the program.

Minister of foreign affairs, Peter David said, “Grenada has one of the most rigorous due diligence programmes; there are checks conducted electronically, and there are also persons on the ground who would knock on the doors of applicants to verify the accuracy of what is stated on applications.”

“Grenada is not dependent on CBI; therefore, we do not have to compromise on security to maintain our program,” said Grenada’s Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell, last week. “It is important that we stay competitive, but at the same time, we must maintain the integrity of the programme. Any action by one country that compromises security can have serious consequences for the entire region; therefore, we must all be mindful of that.”

One of the things the CBI unit is taking very seriously is the avoidance of the so-called ‘financing walk away’ option. In such cases, an applicant is offered a real estate citizenship and asked to pay a deposit, with the rest of the fee financed. The real estate share is then transferred back to the vendor, who far too often, does not complete the construction of the project.

“We will not permit the sort of sham financings that are plaguing other markets,” said Anthony, “promoters of such schemes will be banned, and their projects stopped.”

Total amounts due for the programme for Q4 are also significantly up from 2017 as the total amount due in Q4, 2018, is US$51.5 million. Last year, Q4, 2017, the total amount owing was just $29.95 million. This noticeable increase, in addition to the significant increase in the number of approvals, is said to be primarily attributed to the changes in the CBI programme last year which coincided with Anthony’s appointment as the new unit head.

The Amendment Act 2019 offers a greater range of benefits, making the program a more attractive value for money.

In the first instance, the amendment will expand the definition of dependents as it relates to CBI applications to include parents and grandparents who are below the age of 55, unmarried siblings of the principal applicant and spouse, as well as children born within 12 months of the granting of citizenship.

Dependent children between the ages of 18 and 30 will not be required to be enrolled at an institution of higher learning and for parents or grandparents over 55 years to be fully supported.

The amended CBI Act also provides for secondary purchasers of CBI units in approved projects to acquire citizenship.

“Grenada has the most transparent CBI program in the region, publishing a report every six months on the number of files that were approved or refused,” said Sam Bayat, head of Dubai-based Bayat Legal Services. “It offers visa-free to China and an E2 visa to the United States. It’s quickly becoming the most impressive program in the region, and better value than European competitors.”

 

Source: caribbeannewsnow.com
Published: 20 March 2019

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