Transparency International, a global anti-corruption organization, has urged the European Union to review its visa-free agreements with those Caribbean jurisdictions that operate citizenship by investment (CBI) programmes.
In a recent report Transparency International said, “In light of the risks of admitting the corrupt and the criminal, the European Union must review its visa free agreements with these Caribbean jurisdictions and encourage governments to set high due diligence and integrity standards. Ultimately, if the EU is not confident in the ability of these schemes to identify and reject high-risk applicants, it should consider following Canada’s lead by suspending the visa waiver to golden visa schemes outside the EU.”
In the Eastern Caribbean, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, Saint Lucia and St Kitts and Nevis all run citizenship by investment programmes where foreign nationals can pay as little as US$100,000 for citizenship, or invest in real estate. Citizenship can be granted within 90 days.
There are no requirements to reside in these countries, with the exception of Antigua and Barbuda, which has a five-day residence requirement, and applicants do not even need to pick up their passports in person.
These passports give foreign nationals access to the EU Schengen Area and the UK without having to apply for a visa or undergo any enhanced checks by authorities in EU member states.
According to Transparency International, recent events raise red flags regarding the due diligence process in some of these countries.