Grenada: Grenada attends technical meetings with EU in Dominica
Richard Duncan, Chairman of the Grenada Citizenship by Investment (CBI) Committee, and Thomas Anthony, Chief Executive Officer of the Grenada Citizenship by Investment Unit, are among representatives from OECS member states with CBI programmes who are participating in a one-week technical meeting with the European Union (EU) in Dominica.
Representatives of the EU Directorate General of Migration and Home Affairs in Brussels are visiting Dominica for the meeting, which began on Monday, 22 January 2024. The Migration and Home Affairs Commission Department is responsible for EU policy on citizenship, migration and home affairs.
“They are conducting technical meetings with teams from 5 Caribbean countries (Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St Kitts and Nevis, and St Lucia) in the framework of the monitoring of the visa waiver agreements between the EU and those countries,” said a spokesperson in the EU office to Barbados. “The team is particularly looking into the impact on the internal security of the European Union and its Member States, stemming from the visa-free access to the EU granted to the beneficiaries of the CBI programmes. The visit to the region is organised as part of the ongoing monitoring of the visa waiver agreements.”
In October 2023, the European Commission called for an overhaul of regulations surrounding CBI programmes in the Caribbean because the holders of the passports are allowed visa-free access to the EU. Key among the commission’s goals are changes that would make it easier for the EU to suspend visa-free travel from countries that sell citizenship to foreigners.
The EU Commission also adopted a proposal for regulations to amend the current visa suspension mechanism. The amendments aim to prevent abuse of the visa waiver programme along with tackling risks posed by persons who purchased their citizenship via a CBI programme.
The EU visa waiver programme allows nationals from 60 countries to visit 27 Schengen Zone countries for up to 90 days for tourism and business. The proposals, which are made in the 6th report under the Visa Suspension Mechanism, include expanding the grounds for suspension, to include non-EU countries that are not fully aligned with the EU’s visa policy and visa-free non-EU countries operating investor citizenship schemes and increasing the duration of the procedure to allow more time for remedial actions.
It also includes strengthening the commission’s monitoring and reporting obligations to any visa-free countries where challenges are identified.
In the report, the EU expressed concerns about the high number of passports sold by Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St Kitts and Nevis, and St Lucia.
Since the start of its programme in 2013, Grenada sold over 10,000 passports to people who have gained citizenship through the CBI programme.