分类: bahamas

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Bahamas Amendment Lays Foundation for New Residence by Investment Program

 

An amendment to the Bahamas Immigration Act will outline and better define the process for investors wishing to obtain “economic permanent residence” (EPR) in the West Indies nation.

The Immigration Amendment Bill of 2021 would introduce a new section, 17A, into the principal immigration act, highlighting the requirements for any non-Bahamian citizen who does not hold a Bahamas permanent residency card but wishes to apply for an EPR.

The key amendments are highlighted below:

(1) Any person, who is not a citizen of The Bahamas or the holder of a permanent residence certificate, and who —

(a) has —

(i) purchased a residence in The Bahamas for such an amount as may be prescribed from time to time by order of the Minister; 

(ii) made investments in The Bahamas of such a kind and of such an amount as may be so prescribed; or

(iii) purchased a residence and made investments in The Bahamas; and 

(b) shall reside in The Bahamas for a cumulative period of no less than ninety days per year, IMMIGRATION (AMENDMENT) BILL, 2021 may, upon application to the Board in prescribed form and upon payment of the prescribed fee, be granted an economic permanent residence certificate permitting him to reside permanently in The Bahamas and to engage in gainful occupation where that gainful occupation is in his own business. 

Applicants must maintain their property or qualified investments for ten years and file a declaration every decade confirming that the information contained in the application they relied upon to obtain EPR remains unchanged. This period coincides with the time needed for permanent residents of the nation to become eligible for naturalization, should they reside at least six years in the Bahamas before applying.

Another consequential effect of the amendment is that it would enable the investor to endorse his/her spouse and dependent children below 18 years of age for permanent residence, reports the Nassau Guardian.

The amendment also highlights that the EPR shall remain in full force for the entirety of the holder’s lifetime unless the government revokes it under section 18 of the immigration act. 

See also: As Bahamas Govt. Considers Citizenship by Investment, Opposition MP “Will Fight to the Death” to Stop It

A chance to specify hitherto vague investment criteria

While the new bill, expected to take effect on the 1st of July, 2021, goes further in defining economic residence than previous versions of the law, the most significant change is the specification of the required investment amount applicants must meet to be considered for EPR.

The amendment itself does not set an amount but clarifies that the amount will be prescribed from time to time by the Minister’s order. The current law states no amount whatsoever and two different government websites offer inconsistent information on the matter. 

While both the Bahamas Department of Immigration and the Bahamas Government websites list no minimum amount, they provide differing amounts for “speedy consideration”; U$750,000 and US$1.5m, respectively.

EPR holders can apply for citizenship by naturalization after ten years if they meet the conditions. Under the current law, they would have to first apply for a Home Owner’s ID Card, which allows them to get annual residence in the Bahamas, whereupon they can apply for permanent residence. 

To speak of a Bahamas residence by investment program, however, is premature; the competent Ministry must still articulate specific investment amounts and designate eligible forms of investment. This amendment would give the government the necessary mandate to do just that. Whether it will is an altogether separate question.

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An amendment to the country’s Immigration Act would allow the Bahamian government to specify investment amounts and types starting next month.

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A US$300,000 investment leading to permanent residency in a matter of weeks, and citizenship in 1-5 years, depending on nationality.

 

The post Bahamas Amendment Lays Foundation for New Residence by Investment Program appeared first on Investment Migration Insider.

As Bahamas Govt. Considers Citizenship by Investment, Opposition MP “Will Fight to the Death” to Stop It

When Bahamas’ Minister of Immigration, Elsworth Johnson, told local press on November 25th that the government was “looking at” introducing a citizenship by investment program, opposition figures quickly expressed vehement misgivings.

While he could not speak to the details of the ongoing review, Minister Johnson revealed the government was actively considering the possibility of opening for the naturalization of investors in the country and that it was evaluating the experiences of other jurisdictions with such programs.

“Some countries, when we do our comparative analysis, have had a bad experience from it,” Johnson said, according to the Nassau Guardian. “It is something that we are looking at. No decisions have been made and so right now I’m not able to speak directly to it.”

The impetus for the deliberations, Johnson implied, had come from the local business community.

“I’ll tell you there are any number of conglomerates or companies in The Bahamas who have been making the approaches to the ministry saying, ‘listen, can we have a discussion on this?’”

While Bahamas already offers residence by investment for those willing to acquire properties in the country valued at $750,000 and up, the Ministry is looking into whether it could go further in capitalizing in investors’ interest in the country.

“We are also looking at the economic permanent residency and how we broaden that for persons who want to come live, work and invest in The Bahamas, to make that process easier,” said Johnson, according to EyeWitness News.

“I think one of the things we must appreciate as Bahamians is our locality, stable judiciary, stable country, friendly people. In terms of persons wanting to move away from big countries and go into the Family Islands, we present that and they [foreign investors] want that. And we have to get the best bang for the buck and create a symbiotic relationship where we are benefiting just as much as the people who are coming here to The Bahamas.”

Citizenship “untouchable”
Reacting to Johnson’s statements via a Facebook post, opposition MP Glenys Hanna Martin promised to “fight to the death” any attempts to introduce a CIP in the country.

“I heard the minister of immigration say on a local news station that the Cabinet has under consideration ‘citizenship by investment’ aka selling Bahamian citizenship. Facilitating the purchase of Bahamian passports. This (government) has to be stopped.”

The government, she said, was “ruining our nation and, if left to their devices, will drag us to a place of no return. I will fight them to the death on this. Citizenship is precious. It is who we are. It is ‘untouchable’. They must be voted out of office.”

Considering the prospect of a Bahamian CIP, Arton Capital’s Philippe May pointed to a number of aspects about the country that might make such a program popular.

“The Bahamas offer an attractive way of life and are located in convenient proximity to the USA. Bahamians do not need a visa to enter the US (if they enter from the Bahamas). This would make a CIP appealing.”

The Bahamian passport, which offers visa-free access to 154 destinations (including the all-important Schengen-countries) ranks 27th on the Henley Passport Index.

May further pointed out that the country was “the wealthiest black-majority country in the world and Bahamians guard their citizenship from immigrants more carefully than others in the Americas. For example, it is one of only a handful countries in the Americas that do not have birthright citizenship.”

IMI will continue to monitor the situation in Bahamas and will report any CBI-related developments should they arise.

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The post As Bahamas Govt. Considers Citizenship by Investment, Opposition MP “Will Fight to the Death” to Stop It appeared first on Investment Migration Insider.