As published on wicnews.com, Friday 5 March, 2021.
Citizenship by Investment Programme has become the hallmark for high net worth individuals to travel visa-free to countries that are restricted by their current citizenship.
The Small Pacific nation of Vanuatu’s CBI programme is set to suffer a major setback as European Union and the United Kingdom have decided to place them out of the visa waiver heaven, said officials of the EU and UK Middle East.
Most of the nations offering Citizenship by Investment, mainly in the Caribbean, follow a multi-layered Due Diligence procedure by third parties. It is used to vet the applicants of the CBI Programme – to ensure that an individual or a family has not been involved in any illicit activity. However, both programmes of Vanuatu lacks proper due diligence procedure, which could be the reason leading to be in blacklisting.
According to officials, by the near future, the arbitration to blacklist Vanuatu from the visa-free list of the EU and UK would be recommended due to the inadequate procedure of vetting the applicants, which might pave the path for illegal activities in the respective countries.
The continue to increase as ordinary passport of Vanuatu issued under the CBI Programme can travel the Schengen area without requiring a visa for up to 90 days within any 180 days. They can also travel to the UK and it’s crown dependencies for up to 6 months without a visa, including the Republic of Ireland.
The world is moving towards global integrity, where more and more businesspersons are opting for an easy and quick route to aggrandize their wealth and status. Visa-free travel to most of the countries in the world is paramount of Citizenship by Investment programme and losing the world’s financial countries would place the country’s CBI Programme in undervalued stigma.
Succeeded by Marc Ati, former Foreign Minister Ralph Regenvanu had agreed to the international lobby’s concerns that the bilateral relations are affected due to lack of due diligence of the CBI Programme.
During an interview with Financial Times, he said that they are getting some negative implications. However, the efforts made by the current Prime Minister Bob Loughman likewise failed to bring a more vigorous vetting process into the programme.
Vanuatu currently operates two CBI programmes, The Vanuatu Development Support Programme (VDSP) and the Vanuatu Contribution Programme (VCP). Both of the programmes’ vetting procedures are minimal, forming a prodigious concern for the nations offering visa waivers or visa-free travel to Vanuatu citizens.
Vanuatu’s citizenship applicants will have to bite the bullet as the most treasured benefit could be torn off from them.
The CBI Programmes of Vanuatu plays a significant role in the national economy as more than 50% of revenue was represented by sales income in citizenships in the year 2020.
While most of the world was suffering the economic and health crisis, CBI Programme resulted as a savior for for the small Pacific country. The nation cannot afford to lose the key reason for the applicants – visa-free waiver from 148 countries worldwide.