St Kitts and Nevis: The Citizenship by Investment Programme of St Kitts and Nevis has been ranked as the “World’s Number 1” in the CBI Index 2023 for the third consecutive year.
The achievement of St Kitts and Nevis for the third year in a row underscores its commitment in strengthening the Citizenship by Investment Programme. While reigning the index, the Federation has stand out for taking immediate and decisive action and scored the top spot with a score of 86%.
Featured in the Financial Times, the CBI Index 2023 was launched on Thursday, September 14, 2023 under the title- “A Guide to Global Citizenship: The 2023 CBI Index”. This year, the second place was occupied by Dominica, while Saint Lucia has also maintained its position of top third for the second consecutive year.
The CBI Index scrutinizes all Citizenship by Investment Programme across the world and gives them scoring on the basis of nine different pillars. St Kitts and Nevis scored a perfect score of 10 in four and 9 scores in one out of the nine pillars of excellence.
The CBI Index 2023 report stated that St Kitts and Nevis has taken decisive action based on the “Six Principles’ framework, a significant factor behind achieving the top spot in this year’s CBI Index with a score of 77 points. The twin-island Federation has been leading the investment migration industry with its long-term sustainability, good governance and enhanced due diligence.
As the world’s longest-standing CBI Programme, St Kitts and Nevis has almost a four-decade history of leading the field of economic citizenship.
St Kitts and Nevis ranked on the top in the four pillars of excellence including Due Diligence, Certainty of Product, Ease of Processing and Mandatory Travel or Residence pillars.
St Kitts and Nevis topped four pillars of excellence
- Mandatory Travel or Residence Pillar
The rankings of the countries in the Mandatory Travel or Residence have not changed from the 2022 CBI Index. St Kitts and Nevis scored a perfect 10 score and ranked first in the pillar of excellence. As per the CBI Index 2023, St Kitts and Nevis have no travel or minimum residency requirements and all achieve the maximum score.
- Ease of Processing Pillar
The Caribbean jurisdiction of St Kitts and Nevis secured the top rank with a perfect score of 10 for the Ease of Processing Pillar. CBI Index 2023 said that the ranking in the pillar reflects the programme’s ability to balance the administrative demands of the application process with quick and efficient processing.
- Due Diligence Pillar
St Kitts and Nevis retained its top position in the due diligence pillar with the score of 10. The Federation secured first rank from the previous year due to the CIU’s changes made as part of a rapid implementation of the ‘Six Principles’, which include mandatory interviews and measures to stop financial irregularities in the real estate option to safeguard the Programme’s reputation.
- Certainty of Product Pillar
The certainty of product pillar has been occupied by St Kitts and Nevis in the CBI Index 2023. As per the report, as the only country to attain a score of 10 in the Certainty of Product Pillar, St Kitts and Nevis’ performance reflects its swift response to the recent unprecedented international pressure imposed on all Caribbean Citizenship by Investment Programmes.
On the other hand, St Kitts and Nevis scored a perfect of 9 in the Minimum Investment Outlay Pillar. St Kitts and Nevis doubled its Sustainable Island State Contribution (SISC) donation option minimum threshold to US$250,000 in July 2023.
Scores of St Kitts and Nevis in other pillars
- Standard of Living Pillar
St Kitts and Nevis secured the third position with a score of six in the Standard of Living Pilar. CBI Index 2023 said that St Kitts and Nevis outperformed in the GDP Growth measure.
- Freedom of Movement Pillar
Within this pillar, St Kitts and Nevis has visa-free/visa-on-arrival access to 155 countries and maintain a score of seven. It ranked second in Freedom of Movement Pillar.
- Citizenship Timeline
St Kitts and Nevis secured second position with a score of eight points, with all programmes quoting end-to-end processing times of under five months. While St Kitts and Nevis previously attained a top score for its timeline, the country’s CIU increased processing times to 120 days and rescinded its ‘accelerated CBI application’ option in July 2023, which impacted its timeline score.
Sustainable Island State Contribution (SISC)
The government of St Kitts and Nevis has replaced the Sustainable Growth Fund with the Sustainable Island State Contribution. The aim of the investment option is to promote sustainable development with good governance.
SISC is used to support the economic and social development of St Kitts and Nevis. The minimum investment for a single applicant is US$250,000.
St Kitts and Nevis have been leading in due diligence ever since and gained top score in the pillar in the CBI Index 2023. All applicants or sub applicants over the age of 16 are subjected to background checks to ensure that no illicit individual receives citizenship. The due diligence process guarantees the safety of existing and upcoming citizens of the country.
The report stated that the Due diligence procedures of St Kitts and Nevis remain among the industry’s most robust and are expected to be further strengthened by upcoming processes focusing on fingerprinting and biometrics.
One of the expert in immigration law- JEAN-FRANÇOIS HARVEY said,” The current push to improve the standard of due diligence in the industry could ultimately lead to a situation where, as seen in the US, only regulated law firms will be permitted to offer investment immigration services.”
CBI Programme: St Kitts and Nevis’ nation building
The funds generated by the Citizenship by Investment Programme are used for the socio-economic development of St Kitts and Nevis. These small island with limited resources has experienced significant economic boosts through the infusion of funds into their economies.
CBI programmes ploughed into building schools, hospitals, and necessary infrastructure such as roads and bridges.