Migration, Residency & Citizenship

    Antigua & Barbuda Wants Extra 30 Days For MOA Implementation

In a recent announcement by Charmaine Donovan, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Citizenship By Investment Unit of Antigua & Barbuda, it was revealed that the country will need an additional 30 days to complete the required legislation amendments through the parliamentary process for the implementation of provisions stipulated in the Memorandum of Agreement (MoA). Four nations from the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), including Antigua & Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, and St Kitts & Nevis, signed the MoA in March 2024. St Lucia joined the agreement in June 2024.

The Antiguan bid for time extension moves the deadline for MoA implementation from 30th June 2024 to 30th July 2024. The MoA, albeit signed by the heads of governments of five OECS countries, is not a legally binding document. However, it marks a significant step towards harmonizing citizenship by investment (CBI) programs across the region. One of the basic provisions of the agreement is to ensure that all participating countries implement a minimum investment threshold of US$200,000. Its text reflects a collective commitment to maintaining high standards and transparency within the CBI industry.

Setting the minimum investment threshold at US$200,000 is designed to prevent a “race to the bottom” scenario, where countries might otherwise reduce their investment requirements in a bid to attract more applicants, potentially compromising the quality and integrity of their programs.

In a meeting held on 19th June 2024, the signatories to the MOA discussed the progress of implementing the agreed-upon measures. During this meeting, Antigua & Barbuda reaffirmed its commitment to the MoA but highlighted the challenges in completing the necessary legislative process by the initial deadline of 30th June 2024. As a result, the country sought and obtained agreement for an additional 30 days to conclude these legislative amendments.

Charmaine Donovan emphasized that while Antigua & Barbuda remains fully committed to the MoA, the legislative process requires thorough scrutiny and debate in Parliament to ensure that the amendments align with national interests and regulatory standards. The extension is seen as a practical measure to ensure that all necessary steps are taken without compromising the quality of the legislative process.

The extension of the deadline has significant implications for potential applicants and stakeholders in the CBI industry. The CBI Unit of Antigua & Barbuda has been proactive in addressing queries and concerns from stakeholders regarding the submission of applications. Clear guidance has been issued on the minimum acceptable documentation required to facilitate the processing of applications, ensuring that the transition to the new investment threshold is as smooth as possible.

Stakeholders of the CBI industry have been advised that the harmonized threshold of US$200,000 will be implemented at the end of the 30-day extension period. This means that any applications submitted after 30th July 2024 will need to comply with the new investment threshold, marking a significant change in the operational landscape of the Caribbean CBI programs.

Reports from the Caribbean media outlets indicate that governments are committed to maintaining the integrity and competitiveness of their CBI Programs and addressing international concerns regarding money laundering and security risks. By ensuring that the necessary legislative amendments are thoroughly reviewed and enacted, Caribbean nations offering CBI programs aim to uphold the high standards expected by international investors and stakeholders, contributing to the overall success and welfare of the OECS region.

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