International citizenship and residence advisory firm, Henley & Partners, is opening a new office in St. Lucia, its fourth office in the Caribbean region. The firm 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 the 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.”
Henley & Partners supports recent improvements to the St. Lucia Citizenship-by-Investment Program. St. Lucia is ranked 37th globally on the Henley & Partners Visa Restrictions Index, a highly-regarded index which the firm has published annually with the International Air Transport Association (IATA) for more than a decade. 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, St. Lucia is ranked 86th, performing well in terms of its Human Development and Diversity of Travel Freedom scores.
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.”
There are currently four routes to citizenship through the program; a contribution of USD 100,000 (for single applicants) to the National Economic Fund (NEF), a real estate purchase of USD 300,000 with a five-year holding period, an investment of USD 3.5 million into an approved enterprise project, or an investment of USD 500,000 into government bonds.
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 with the application.