Important factors to consider in residence planning
International citizenship and residence advisory firm, Henley & Partners, has opened a new office in St. Lucia — its fourth office in the Caribbean region. Through the office, Henley & Partners will work closely with the Government of St. Lucia to promote its relatively new and very competitive citizenship-by-investment program. Henley & Partners has over 20 years of experience and expertise in working with governments in North America, the Caribbean and Europe on the design, implementation and operation of the world’s most successful residence and citizenship programs, raising more than USD 6 billion in foreign direct investment.
The St. Lucia office is led by Managing Partner Mark D. Maragh, an experienced local attorney-at-law with an extensive track record both in law and international financial services. Maragh says the firm is keen to promote and position the program to attract only the best applications from around the world. “The program is the newest investment migration program in the region, having launched just over a year ago. St. Lucia has great value to offer, especially to single applicants as they can benefit from the most competitive investment threshold in the region.”
St. Lucia is a wonderful tropical destination that offers guests a front seat to its natural beauty as well as an array of leisure activities. Its coastline makes the island nation ideal for snorkeling and scuba diving, while its National Rain Forest reserve will appeal to those that prefer to hike and enjoy some bird watching. The island is home to twin volcanic peaks, called ‘The Pitons’, which were cited as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005. “The Pitons predominate over the St. Lucian landscape, being visible from virtually every part of the island and providing a distinctive landmark for seafarers,” claims a citation from the UNESCO website. “The combination of The Pitons against the backdrop of green tropical vegetation and a varying topography combined with a marine foreground gives the area its superlative beauty.”
St. Lucia is ranked 36th globally on the Henley & Partners Visa Restrictions Index 2017, a highly-regarded index which the firm publishes annually in cooperation with the International Air Transport Association (IATA) — which maintains the world’s largest database of travel information. The Index is a global ranking of countries according to the travel freedom their citizens enjoy, ranked based on the total number of other countries their citizens can travel to visa-free. The island nation offers its citizens visa-free access to 127 countries, including the EU’s Schengen area, the UK, Singapore and Hong Kong.
On the Henley & Partners – Kochenov Quality of Nationality Index (QNI), St. Lucia is ranked 86th, performing well in terms of its Human Development and Diversity of Travel Freedom scores. The QNI objectively ranks the quality of nationalities worldwide by exploring both internal factors (such as the scale of the economy, human development, and peace and stability) and external factors (including visa-free travel and the ability to settle and work abroad without cumbersome formalities), positioning one nationality as better than another in terms of legal status in which to develop one’s talents and business.
Henley & Partners supports recent improvements to the St. Lucia Citizenship-by-Investment Program. Maragh says, “We aim to build a flourishing private investment market in St. Lucia for the benefit of all its citizens. Currently most of the island nation’s GDP comes from tourism, but there are significant opportunities to attract foreign direct investment through its citizenship-by-investment program. There has been a sharp increase worldwide in the number of individuals wanting to acquire a beneficial second or third citizenship to globalize their family’s opportunities and expand their business interests in a changing and uncertain world. At the same time, more and more governments are seeing these programs as an innovative way of driving economic growth, securing much-needed foreign investment as well as enriching their own nation by attracting people to their shores who have proven business success, many talents and valuable networks.”
Key Advantages of the St. Lucia Citizenship-by-Investment Program
There are currently three routes to citizenship through the program:
1. A purchase of approved real estate with a minimum value of USD 300,000, which must be held for a minimum period of five years (additional costs may also be incurred, depending on the real estate developer)
2. A capital injection into an approved Enterprise Project (as set out in the regulations) or at least USD 3.5 million plus the creation of no fewer than three permanent jobs; or a joint investment of USD 6 million (with each applicant contributing a minimum of USD 1 million) plus the creation of no fewer than six permanent jobs
3. A non-refundable contribution to the National Economic Fund (NEF) of USD 100,000 (for a single applicant)
Options 1 and 2 are subject to various government administration fees when applying.
The requirements of the St. Lucia Citizenship-by-Investment Program are strict but reasonable and the procedures are efficient. The application process takes no longer than four months from the submission of the application to the issuance of the passport, assuming there are no areas of concern. In addition, under the real estate option, the time frame may vary depending on the development chosen.
For more information about the St. Lucia Citizenship-by-Investment Program, please visit our website and download our fact sheet here.