NEWS

“Business as usual”: Citizenship by Investment Unit continues processing applications for citizenship despite island’s challenges

In keeping with the stability and resilience for which the programme and the island of Dominica is known, the Citizenship by Investment Unit is back in full operation, following the events of last week.

Owing to the rigorous processes that have been established over years of refinement, the Unit has had minimal disturbance to the processing of applications, and continues to provide the product that has been widely acclaimed as the world’s best citizenship by investment programme.

Infrastructural damage to the department’s building is minimal, and all lines of communications have been restored, including emails and phone lines.

Prime Minister of Dominica, Dr Roosevelt Skerrit, has applauded the Unit for its proactive response:

“We’re getting on the with the job. My team is amazing. They may have lost their homes, but they have not lost their will to work. We will continue to provide a programme of exceptional service and quality, and as far as we’re concerned its business as usual.”

The Citizenship by Investment Unit, which is responsible for the processing of all citizenship applications and due diligence procedures, continues to enhance their processes with a recently launched online submission portal. Ambassador Emmanuel Nanthan, Coordinator of the Unit, attributes the programmes stability to its rigorous processes:

“The streamlining of our processes has meant that we have been able to work with minimal disturbance despite everything going on outside our windows. We are fortunate to have robust frameworks that have enabled business to carry on.”

The Prime Minister continued, by explaining that the quick response by the Unit is steeped in the cultural makeup of the broad Dominican community:

“We are an incredibly strong and resilient community – one that is bigger than just our small island nation, with networks and friends all around the world. Some may be surprised by our ability to carry on, but we are not. The Dominican people are not crippled by the events of the past week. As the British would say, we have kept calm. And now we’re carrying on.”

Dominica’s Citizenship by Investment Programme was recently ranked the top programme in the world by the Financial Times’ Professional Wealth Management magazine. The four indicators for which the programme received 100%  – Ease of Processing, Minimum Investment Outlay, Due Diligence, and Mandatory Travel or Residence – remain unchanged and unaffected by the latest hurricane events.

READ MORE September 27, 2017

Updates to the Programme

For applications submitted effective immediately until March 31, 2018:

I. Age of Child Dependants

The maximum age of qualifying child dependants is increased to thirty years, as follows:

The meaning of “dependant” in Regulation 2, paragraph (c) of the Principal Regulations is amended to “a child of the main applicant or his or her spouse between eighteen and thirty years who is in full time attendance at a recognised institution of higher learning after his or her eighteenth birthday and fully supported by the main applicant;”

Regulation 4, paragraph (13) of the Principal Regulations is amended to “An applicant who is applying as a dependant of a main applicant between the age of eighteen and thirty years, in Higher Learning, shall submit official transcripts from a recognised Institution of Higher Learning or a duly notarised letter from the competent authority confirming the applicant’s existing enrolment at that Institution of Higher Learning.”

The meaning of “dependant” in Regulation 2, paragraph (d) of the Principal Regulations is amended to “an unmarried daughter of the main applicant who is aged thirty years of age or under, and is living with and fully supported by the main applicant;”

Following the above amendments, a child aged thirty will be accepted under the Citizenship by Investment Programme, while a child aged thirty-one will not be accepted as a qualifying dependant.

II. Age of Parent of Grandparent Dependants

Where a parent or grandparent is fifty-five, but his or her spouse is aged less than fifty-five, both the parent or grandparent and the spouse will qualify as dependants, as follows:

The meaning of “dependant” in Regulation 2, paragraph (f) of the Principal Regulations is amended to “any parent or grandparent of the main applicant or his or her spouse aged fifty-five or over, living with and fully supported by the main applicant, as well as the spouse of any such parent or grandparent, irrespective of that spouse’s age;”
III. Child Born After Approval in Principle

The Schedule of the Principal Regulations is amended in paragraph (1)(2)(d) to “on registration of a child who is not more than five years of age and who was born to the applicant after citizenship has been obtained, a processing fee of US$500.”

IV. Due Diligence Fee for Spouses

The Schedule of the Principal Regulations is amended in paragraph (1)(2)(c)(ii) to “US$4,000 for processing fees and due diligence checks on each applicant who is over the age of sixteen, including the main applicant’s spouse,”

V. Processing Fee

The US$3,000 processing fee is reduced to US$1000 for the submission of applications under the Citizenship by Investment Programme.

VI. Certificate of Naturalisation Fee

The Certificate of Naturalisation Fee is reduced from US$750 per certificate to US$250 per certificate.
VII. Adding a Dependant Prior to Approval in Principle

The main applicant may request for a qualifying dependant to be included in an application that has already been submitted to the Citizenship by Investment Unit, but that has yet to be approved in principle. The request shall be granted by the Citizenship by Investment Unit so long as all relevant fees are properly paid, and so long as, where necessary, forms and investment thresholds are amended to include the new dependant. The Citizenship by Investment Unit reserves the right to deny an application on the basis that the added dependant does not pass its due diligence checks.

VIII. Removing a Dependant After Approval in Principle but Prior to Payment of the Investment

The main applicant may request for a dependant who was approved in principle as part of his or her application for citizenship by investment to be removed from that application, so long as the request is submitted in writing to the Citizenship by Investment Unit prior to the full payment of the investment. The Citizenship by Investment Unit shall review the request and, upon its discretion, determine whether to remove the dependant from the application. The main applicant will receive no reimbursement of fees, including any due diligence or processing fee, as a result of the removal of a dependant from his or her application.

READ MORE September 27, 2017

A Prosperous Dominica for All: New Tax Residence Strategy

In delivering his Budget Address for 2017/2018, the Prime Minister of Dominica, Dr the Honourable Roosevelt Skerrit, reflected the dynamism and optimism of this thriving Caribbean island, noting that the fiscal year would open under the theme “Realising a modern prosperous Dominica,” and urging citizens to come together and participate on all levels in the transformation and growth of the country’s economy.

And Dr Skerrit did truly mean all citizens, including those who received citizenship through the country’s renowned Citizenship by Investment (CBI) Programme. “We are examining a plan to encourage some of our new citizens who do not reside in Dominica, to consider becoming tax resident here,” he said, signalling a strategy that would render Dominica even more inclusive than it currently is, encouraging these foreign-born citizens to create even stronger bonds with the Caribbean island. “[I]t would ensure that our engagement with our new citizens is deeper and more continuous,” underlined the Prime Minister.

The strategy also mirrors the win-win philosophy that is at the heart of the CBI Programme. To CBI citizens, it promises tax residence without prolonged physical presence requirements, as well as a much-coveted tax identification number that could be used internationally. To the nation of Dominica, it augurs a new source of revenue, as CBI citizens would be asked to pay a minimum amount of income tax every year. “It is likely that this new proposal, which must be designed carefully so as to maintain the integrity of our existing Programme, could yield more than the $34.0 million raised last year by all of our existing income taxes,” highlighted Dr Skerrit.

The Prime Minister, who could already boast a 2.8 percent economic growth for 2016, and a 3.1 percent Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) forecast for 2017 and 2018, said the Government was excited at the prospect of “graduat[ing] the CBI [Programme] to a new level,” and of realising a modern prosperous Dominica indeed.

READ MORE July 28, 2017

“Dominica has worked tirelessly over decades to become the leader” Prime Minister Skeritt responds to the country’s strong performance in the CBI Index

Following Dominica’s top ranking in a newly released Citizenship by Investment Index (CBI Index), Prime Minister of Dominica, Dr the Honourable Roosevelt Skeritt, has shared his thoughts on the results.

In a study launched recently by Financial Times’ Professional Wealth Management, the Programme ranked highest against the 12 other countries who provide programmes worldwide.

With a final score of 90%, and perfect results in aspects testing affordability, ease of processing, as well as due diligence, Prime Minister Skeritt commented on the results in respect to the longevity of the Programme:

“Dominica has worked tirelessly over decades to become the leader in providing citizenship by investment opportunities for high net worth individuals and their families.”

The Prime Minister also described what the programme and its high performance mean to Dominica:

“Private investment has a major role to play in mobilising and realising Dominica’s potential, so our programme has to be of the highest quality. The CBI Index results confirm that it is.”

But, the Prime Minister is not resting on the strong results of the Programme. He perceives Dominica’s CBI Programme to be a constantly evolving product, and one that must remain agile in the face of an ever-changing and sometimes uncertain political and economic environment:

“Even though the results show Dominica is the best overall choice for applicants looking to obtain a second citizenship by investment, we will continue to adapt and advance our processes, particularly with respect to our due diligence, to ensure that our programme remains robust and failproof in the face of international political and economic tensions.”

You can find the full report at CBIIndex.com.

READ MORE July 19, 2017

Dominica ranked world’s best Citizenship by Investment Programme

The Commonwealth of Dominica has reaffirmed its status as an industry leader, receiving top marks in the inaugural Citizenship by Investment (CBI) Index – a newly launched Special Report published by the Financial Times’ Professional Wealth Management (PWM) magazine.

Despite increasing competition in a growing market, Dominica placed first out of the 12 countries currently occupying the economic citizenship industry.

After receiving full marks in four of the seven factors evaluated by the Index, Dominica finished with an overall score of 90%, declared to be strongest in the following areas:

  • Minimum Investment Outlay: The programme garnered a high approval rating in this segment, thanks to its affordable price-point of US$100,000 per applicant
  • Ease of Processing: A perfect assessment was attained due to Dominica’s clearly outlined and streamlined procedures, which have been refined during the country’s longstanding history in the industry.
  • Due Diligence Analysis: In addition to its thorough vetting procedures and extensive screening of an applicant’s source of funds, Dominica’s programme also collects fingerprints and other biometric data, and works internationally with partners and non-government organisations to perform online and on-the-ground background checks.
  • Mandatory Travel Rules: Because there is no stipulation requiring an applicant to travel to the island to qualify for citizenship, the programme was adjudged to be tailor-made for time-poor applicants who travel widely for business and therefore cannot easily process their application face-to-face.

The full report can be downloaded at cbiindex.com.

READ MORE July 12, 2017

CBI Funds New Sports Complex in Dominica

The Prime Minister, Dr the Honourable Roosevelt Skerrit, announced that Dominica’s new multi-sport complex, a project estimated to cost $40 million, will be fully financed by the Citizenship by Investment Programme.

Dominica’s Citizenship by Investment Programme has been in existence since 1993, and is one of the most trusted economic citizenship options in the world, drawing applicants from all continents. The Programme offers two choices for citizenship: a donation to the Economic Diversification Fund (EDF) or an investment in pre-approved property, particularly hotels and resorts. Qualifying donations made to the EDF start at US$100,000 for single applicants, increasing to US$175,000 for a main applicant plus a spouse, and US$200,000 for a family of four with two children under the age of 18. EDF funds are used by the Government to improve infrastructure, promote personal development, and sponsor state projects including the multi-sport complex.

The Programme is “a major source of non-tax revenue for [the] country,” said the Prime Minister, who underlined: “We are not going to be looking for the money, we have the money to build the facility. The entire sum will come from the Citizenship by Investment Programme.”

Plans for the complex envision outdoor and indoor courts to play basketball, netball, volleyball, and tennis, as well as swimming facilities. “This is going to be a significant investment in our young people and in sports development,” noted Dr Skerrit, whose vision for the sport complex is one of a development that will inspire Dominica’s youth to develop their sporting skills, and even choose professional sport careers.

Marques and Marques Architectos, a Puerto Rican firm, has been tasked with the construction of the complex.

READ MORE June 20, 2017

Caribbean countries plan for future of Citizenship by Investment

The five Caribbean nations who offer Citizenship by Investment (CBI) Programmes have met to discuss new ways they can work together, particularly in respect to due diligence.

On Friday, countries belonging to the OECS (Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States) attended a meeting in Saint Lucia, and reinforced their collective commitment to maintaining strong international credibility in respect to their CBI programmes.

Representatives from Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St Kitts and Nevis, and St Lucia focussed their conversation on opportunities for collaboration to ensure the programmes maintain their integrity on a world stage, and that the services offered are as efficient and streamlined as possible.

Attendees discussed their due diligence processes and how these could become more uniform among the OECS. The idea of creating a platform where countries could share their finding in relation to applicants was also explored. In relation to vetting potential applicants, incoming OECS Chairman and Prime Minister of Saint Lucia, the Honourable Allen Chastanet believes the process can be streamlined among OECS Member States:

“If an applicant applies in St. Lucia and is rejected, mechanisms must be in place to ensure that this person does not surface elsewhere in the region as a citizen through another CIP (Citizenship by Investment Programmes).”

The Director General of the OECS, Didacus Jules, noted in his report that OECS countries continued to face scrutiny from particular countries, despite many having similar investment programmes offering citizenship. Of this issue Jules said, “Our only chance of winning is to make the integrity of these programs unassailable.”

READ MORE June 20, 2017

The Jungle Bay Eco Resort

Perched on an expansive 20-acre plot that used to be part of the Elrose estate that overlooks Scotts Head, the under-construction Jungle Bay Eco Resort will integrate some of the original artefacts into the property when it’s complete. The 60-villa property will boast and two of the Caribbean’s largest yoga studios and will provide full-time employment for at least one hundred citizens when complete.

After the original property in Delices was ravaged by tropical storm Erika in 2015, owner and developer of the resort, Sam Raphael, chronicled the various developments that facilitated the resort’s re-emergence, and was effusive toward the Citizenship By Investment (CBI) programme during the ground blessing ceremony in Soufriere on Sunday.

“We all have a vested interest in our island and our community, and whether we are batting or we are fielding, we are in the same game,” he charged. “We have a lot of opinions in this island, but sometimes we are short of facts. CBI is a gift to this island. I know some of us may have apprehensions, but as small island states we have challenges.”

The Honourable Denise Charles, parliamentary representative for the area, expressed gratitude to the CBI and developers as she spoke on the behalf of residents from the surrounding community. According to Charles, “The relocation of Jungle Bay is truly a blessing to us in Soufriere. I want us to take ownership of it and protect it like it is our own. We have to be the keepers of Jungle Bay. I congratulate Mr. Raphael, Oliver St. Jean and my men from the constituency for their work so far [on the property’s development].”

PM Skerrit praised the CBI programme and said that Jungle Bay was yet another example of the success of the programme and its impact on the country.

“CBI has proven to be an important source of non-tax revenue for Dominica. Because our country was so cash strapped, it was difficult to acquire loans, but look at what we’ve done since Erika, thanks to the CBI,” he said.

 

READ MORE May 23, 2017

New West Bridge Inaugurated in Roseau

Starting the month on a strong note, Dominica celebrated 1 May 2017 with the opening of Roseau’s new West Bridge. The Bridge, an EC$18,182,437.35 project, is one of the crowning projects of the Skerrit Administration following the passage of Tropical Storm Erika in 2015 – demonstrating the ability for resilience and rebirth of the nation’s capital.

Prime Minister Dr the Honourable Roosevelt Skerrit addressed thousands of citizens at the opening ceremony, and launched an appeal to locals to suggest a new name for the Bridge, to be announced on 3 November 2017, Independence Day. He also entreated Dominicans to take care of the Bridge, and proudly noted that: “This bridge we are commissioning today is but the first phase of what is earmarked to become the gradual and deliberate modernization of Roseau. It will not all be accomplished under my watch, but I am determined to lay and leave the foundation of a new Dominica capital city; that will not only be the envy of the Caribbean, but the pride and joy of every Dominican, resident at home and abroad.”

The Bridge was constructed by NSG Management and Technical Services Limited of Barbados, which was in charge of demolishing the previous bridge and completing all aspects of rebuilding. The construction phase alone resulted in the hiring of 253 Dominicans, and seven non-citizens, all of which were applauded by the company for their ability to deliver the Bridge “on time and on budget.”

But the new West Bridge is just one iteration of Dominica’s commitment to restoring its infrastructure in the wake of the storm. Senator Miriam Blanchard, Dominica’s Minister for Public Works, said the project only heralds the end of phase one of the Roseau Enhancement Project – and that more is to follow. Three streets – Independence Street, Great George Street, and King George V Street – will also be repaired.

Another bridge in the capital, the Emmanuel Christopher Loblack (E. C. Loblack) Bridge, which celebrates one of Dominica’s most prominent politicians and trade unionists, was also restored with the consent and approval of Mr Loblack’s children.

READ MORE May 2, 2017

Petite Savanne Constituency Receives CBI Funds Amounting to EC$1,212,441

Our Citizenship by Investment Programme is once again playing a key role in sustaining our people, revitalising our economy, and supporting our country’s journey to prosperity, as over EC$1.2 million of Programme funds were presented to the Petite Savanne Constituency for infrastructure rehabilitation and enhancement projects.

In a special handover ceremony held on 13 April 2017, Petite Savanne MP Dr the Honourable Kenneth Darroux, who is also the Minister for Health and Environment, gave a detailed account of the allocation of funds, stating that the disbursement was the result of “a lot of interaction with the village councils and intercession… on behalf of the council and the communities.”

The Bagatelle Village Council was presented with a cheque totalling EC$365,318, EC$211,008 of which will be used to complete the Stowe community road, and EC$154,310 of which will be used to rehabilitate the Fond St Jean link road. Minister Darroux explained the significance of the Stowe community road funding, adding that “never before in the history [of Stowe] has any government or administration or Member of Parliament paid any attention to the little road network in Stowe, and it’s quite a growing community.”

He also explained that the Fond St Jean area is fast-expanding, and that it is important to make it accessible by “vehicular traffic.”

The Bellevue Chopin Council benefitted from a sum of EC$547,123 for the completion of three main roads. Meanwhile, the Village Council of Pichelin received EC$300,000 towards the construction of a river wall. The Chairman of the Pichelin Village Council, Mr Albert Cuffy, said he was “very happy this morning that the presentation to be made to the community of Pichelin is to put up a retaining wall to mitigate the damage that has already started taking place along this riverside.”

All funds provided were made available by revenue from the Citizenship by Investment Programme, one of the world’s most popular and well-respected citizenship options. Investors under the Programme are encouraged to contribute to the Economic Diversification Fund (EDF), which then redirects moneys towards local development projects. A staunch supporter of the Programme, Minister Darroux remarked that “without Citizenship by Investment funding, none of what we see happening now would be happening.” He also went on to say that citizenship by investment “is a very important source of revenue, because from this revenue we can see now what we are trying to do now to improve the lives of our citizens, especially serving those in the rural areas.”

In 2015, Tropical Storm Erika caused nationwide devastation, and the Citizenship by Investment Programme has been instrumental in hastening recovery and assisting hard-hit communities such as Petite Savanne. It is thanks to the Programme and the leadership of Prime Minister Dr the Honourable Roosevelt Skerrit, that the Government has been able to remain committed to mobilising recovery efforts, promote resilience, and bring about the country’s socio-economic regeneration.

 

READ MORE April 28, 2017