We live in a world where the free-flow of people, goods, and information is at an all-time high.
People are travelling more, businesses stretch across continents, and communication occurs freely and easily.
While this generally means more opportunities for growth and expansion in countries and business, there is a growing need to make sure that those who wish to evade the law, are not free to abuse the systems in place.
Take the St Kitts and Nevis citizenship by investment programme. It allows those who contribute to the economy of the nation to live a life of greater mobility and freedom.
The programme also has some of the world’s strongest security in place to make sure new citizens have a positive impact on the federation.
We asked CS Global Partners, award-winning citizenship advisors, for a breakdown of the system.
Acceptance – but after vetting
The St Kitts and Nevis citizenship by investment programme has a thorough system of vetting in place so that only the world’s most successful and morally sound applicants need apply.
Often referred to as ‘due diligence’, the vetting and security processes are handled by a number of professionals along the way in a discrete, efficient and streamlined way.
An award-winning approach
The multi-layered and ongoing approach to due diligence is a key feature of the St Kitts and Nevis programme, and one of many reasons it is has such a strong reputation of quality and good standing in the industry.
Widely considered the ‘platinum standard’, this title is enjoyed by St Kitts and Nevis because of the level of sophistication the citizenship by investment programme offers.
It has been widely recognised for its due diligence efforts, with international organisations such as the International Monetary Fund noting the strengthening of due diligence “with dedicated resources and global collaboration”.
International media have also praised the federation’s offering, with a special publication from the Financial Times’ covering the CBI Index crediting St Kitts and Nevis as having developed the world’s best due diligence processes.
A new policy was recently put in place in the federation to add another layer of screening to the process.
When an applicant decides to invest in second citizenship of St Kitts and Nevis, they will start the process with an authorised agent to the programme, who advises them to make sure their application fulfils all government requirements before it is formally submitted.
As at 1 February 2017, the authorised representative of the applicant is required to submit proof of their own due diligence check, including police clearance checks from the past 10 years of the applicant.
This new policy is just one example of how St Kitts and Nevis continues to forge ahead in its approach to due diligence.
In the past, other nations worldwide have followed St Kitts and Nevis’ lead in policy relating to due diligence and the processing of applications.
CIU: The government’s unit
Once an application is formally submitted by the authorised agent, the government department in St Kitts and Nevis responsible for the application processing will carry out their own due diligence processes.
The Citizenship by Investment Unit (CIU), led by risk management expert previously of IPSA International, has several members of staff with high-level expertise in anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing preventative measures.
A 24/7 case management system allows applications to be monitored around-the-clock.
The team reviews all submissions and relevant supporting documents to make sure they are valid and authentic, and then the application is checked again by third-party due diligence companies.
The CIU appoints professional firms who will review all aspects of a candidate’s life, ranging from family relations to source of funds.
Only firms with the highest quality standards and reputation are used. They will also typically hold expertise in obtaining information from specific countries and regions, depending on the origin of the application.
These due diligence and risk management firms perform on-the-ground checks to verify that every piece of information submitted by the applicant, from educational achievements right through to family ties, is truthful.
Where required, other international partners may also be utilised.
Any candidate who is found to have provided false information, has a criminal record or is the subject of a criminal investigation, has the potential to be a national security risk to St Kitts and Nevis or any other country, is involved in any activity likely to cause disrepute to the federation, or has been denied an entry visa by any country with which St Kitts and Nevis holds a visa-free agreement, will be denied economic citizenship.
If all parties involved in this process are confident that the potential citizen will be an upstanding and respectable member of the federation, only then will they be granted an economic citizenship.
This is an ongoing process, meaning that once citizenship is granted, the citizen will still be held to the same high level of scrutiny should there be suspicion of criminal behaviour.
Citizenship can and has been revoked where an individual has offended after their application has been processed and approved.