SAINT LUCIA AMENDS ITS CITIZENSHIP BY INVESTMENT PROGRAM BY PASSING NATIONAL ECONOMIC FUND BILL
Saint Lucia’s citizenship by investment program offers foreigners the opportunity to be a citizen of a country known for its unspoiled exotic beaches and year-round tropical climate, and to benefit from visa-free travel to over 120 countries, and zero taxation on worldwide income (solely based on citizenship). One financial alternative to achieve citizenship under Saint Lucia’s citizenship by investment program is to make a one-time “donation” to the Saint Lucia National Economic Fund (established for funding government-sponsored projects); the amount of this “donation” varies – $100,000 for a single applicant, $165,000 for an applicant applying with a spouse, and $190,000 for an applicant applying with a spouse and up to 2 other qualifying dependents (with an additional $25,000 for each additional qualifying dependent). On June 11, Saint Lucia amended its citizenship by investment program by passing a bill concerning the Saint Lucia National Economic Fund.
In supporting this “Saint Lucia National Economic Fund” bill, Saint Lucia Prime Minister Allen Michael Chastanet noted inadequacies with the existing legislation concerning the Saint Lucia National Economic Fund, including that the Saint Lucia National Economic Fund was established with only three lines under Saint Lucia’s Citizenship by Investment Act, and stated, “On this basis, the provisions under the Act were considered to be absolutely inadequate. . . . In relation to governance, the Bill identifies the Fund as a special fund that will be used to advance loans and provide investment for Government approved capital projects, reduce debt, purchase Government bonds or for monies required for a purpose approved by Cabinet. The Minister of Finance is authorized under the Bill to make an Order that will identify the Government approved capital projects once approval is obtained from Cabinet. The monies of the Fund will be the qualifying investments of cash that is currently stated under the Act and these monies will be deposited to the credit of the Minister in a financial institution approved by the Minister. . . . We know where the funds are going and there will be detailed reports done by independent entities. I believe that we are well on the way in order to make sure that the funds that we are earning from the CIP are going to the best use of the people and the country of Saint Lucia”. Prime Minister Chastanet further explained that the “Saint Lucia National Economic Fund” bill set forth clear application procedures for obtaining loans and investments from the Saint Lucia National Economic Fund and made the process for the use of “citizenship by investment” funds transparent and accountable.
One aspect of the “Saint Lucia National Economic Fund” bill is the establishment of the Saint Lucia National Economic Fund Board, which will include the Director of Finance (as Chairperson), the Budget Director, the Chief Economist, a representative from “Invest Saint Lucia”, a representative from the Ministry of Commerce, a representative from the Attorney General’s Chambers, and a representative from the private sector. The Saint Lucia National Economic Fund Board will have to submit independent auditor’s reports and annual reports.
Besides the “Saint Lucia National Economic Fund donation” approach, there are 3 other financial options to achieve citizenship under Saint Lucia’s citizenship by investment program. First, you can purchase real estate (for 5 years) for at least $300,000 from a list of government-approved real estate projects. Second, you can invest at least $3,500,000 ($6,000,000 if there are multiple applicants (joint venture), with each applicant investing at least $1,000,000) in a “business enterprise project” on a government-approved list from 7 categories (specialty restaurants, cruise ports and marinas, agro-processing plants, pharmaceutical products, ports, bridges, roads and highways, research institutions and facilities, and offshore universities). Third, you can purchase non-interest-bearing Saint Lucia government bonds (for 5 years) in an amount of $500,000 for a single applicant, $535,000 for an applicant applying with a spouse, and $550,000 for an applicant applying with a spouse and up to 2 other qualifying dependents (with an additional $25,000 for each additional qualifying dependent).