SAINT KITTS AND NEVIS ECONOMY IMPROVED IN 2018 BECAUSE OF ITS CITIZENSHIP BY INVESTMENT PROGRAM
We often think of the benefits of citizenship by investment programs solely in terms of the “citizen-investors” who acquire citizenship in a new country. However, we should also think of the economic benefits to the countries that have citizenship by investment programs from receiving investment funds. This point is made clear from the recent report of the Caribbean Development Bank, “Country Economic Review 2018 St. Kitts & Nevis”, which describes how the economy of Saint Kitts and Nevis improved in 2018 because of its citizenship by investment program.
The Caribbean Development Bank report states, “Economic growth in St. Kitts and Nevis increased in 2018. . . . It is estimated that economic growth in 2018 increased to 2.5% from 1.2% in the previous year. . . . Central Government’s fiscal position improved following the introduction of a new citizenship-by-investment (CBI) option. The 2018 launch of the Sustainable Growth Fund led to a strong rise in CBI revenue flowing directly to the Consolidated Fund . . . GOSKN [Government of St. Kitts and Nevis] achieved a primary surplus of $195 million (mn) – or 7.1% of gross domestic product (GDP) – and an overall surplus equivalent to 5.6% of GDP. . . . While full-year data are not yet available for CBI receipts, inflows reached $287 mn – or 39% of total GOSKN revenue – between January and September. Total revenue rose 23.5%, mainly due to the CBI-driven 84.0% increase in non-tax revenue, while tax revenue was just 8.0% higher. . . . The capital account surplus increased from $91.8 mn to $140.2 mn, mainly because of stronger CBI inflows. These inflows also contributed to a $78.3 mn rise in international reserves. . . . The strong 2018 CBI inflows and resulting construction activity in hotel and condominium projects, are expected to add to sector growth this year”. The Caribbean Development Bank report also projected a decline in the economy of Saint Kitts and Nevis if its citizenship by investment program would be restricted.
Saint Kitts and Nevis is a 2-island Caribbean country, known for its year-round warm climate, beaches, clear water snorkeling, low taxes, and use of English as an official language.
The Saint Kitts and Nevis citizenship by investment program is considered one of the first citizenship by investment programs, commenced in 1984. Currently, the Saint Kitts and Nevis citizenship by investment program requires either (a) a minimum contribution (donation) of $150,000 ($195,000 for a family of up to 4 people) to the above-described government “Sustainable Growth Fund” (which will invest in “healthcare, education, alternative energy, heritage, infrastructure, tourism and culture, climate change and resilience, and the promotion of indigenous entrepreneurship”), or (b) a minimum investment of $400,000 in certain designated real estate projects (which must be held for at least 5 years). The “real estate investment” option can also be met by 2 unrelated principal applicants each contributing $200,000, with each receiving a fractional interest in real estate (then the real estate investment must be held for at least 7 years). A spouse, dependent children up to the age of 30, and dependent parents from the age of 55, can also qualify for citizenship in Saint Kitts and Nevis.
Citizens of Saint Kitts and Nevis can enjoy visa-free travel to over 150 countries, including most countries throughout Europe and Brazil.