EU meets with OECS heads regarding CBI programs, concerned about Dominica’s low-cost/high-volume approach

The European Union (EU) has reportedly expressed apprehension over Dominica’s low-cost/high-volume model of its Citizenship by Investment (CBI) program. This is according to a report from the online migration industry newspaper, Investment Migration Insider (IMI), which said EU representatives, including its head of visa policy and its liaison in Barbados, met with representatives of countries in the Caribbean with CBI programs in Dominica last week to discuss concerns about their programs.

The meetings took place in Dominica at the Intercontinental Dominica Cabrits Resort on Monday, 22 January 2024, and were attended by heads of Caribbean Citizenship by Investment Units and attorneys general from countries with CBI programs, namely Dominica, St Kitts and Nevis, Antigua, Grenada and Antigua.

IMI said its sources stated the meetings were to discuss the future of visa-free Schengen travel, EU concerns about the CBIs, and other matters. The meetings were described as “initial and early stage” in nature.

“The EU has reportedly made it clear while there is no imminent threat to visa-free Schengen access for the Caribbean five, revocation of such travel privileges could be among the consequences if the EU’s misgivings about the region’s CBI programs are not addressed,” the IMI report stated.

It continued, “Of particular concern to the EU are potential national security and immigration risks associated with the granting of citizenship to individuals the EU does not wish to grant access to Europe. Moreover, at least during the meeting with Dominica, the EU expressed apprehension about the low-cost/high-volume model of CBI adopted in the
last few years, a model, they say, [where risk has] been exacerbated by the prevalence of irregular but tolerated discounted schemes.”

The IMI report stated that during the meeting with Dominica, the EU representatives said: “They would like to see Caribbean programs raise their prices by an order of magnitude to obtain similar levels of CBI revenue but from a much smaller volume of applications.”

In recent times, the EU Commission has been publicly expressing concerns over CBI programs in the Caribbean. A report issued on October 18, 2023, gave for first time a glimpse of the magnitude of these programs in Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, Saint Kitts and Nevis, and Saint Lucia. It said at the time of the report, 88,000 passports have been sold by these five countries with Dominica selling 34,500 which is four times more than what the government of Dominica has publicly reported.

This high rate of the sale of passports which offers visa-free access to member states can, according to the EU, “result in risks or threats to the public policy or internal security of the Member States, including those related to infiltration of organized crime, money-laundering, tax evasion and corruption.”

In October 2023, the European Commission sought to revise regulations surrounding Caribbean CBI programmes, as passport holders are granted visa-free access to the EU. The commission aims to simplify the process for the suspension of visa-free travel from countries that offer citizenship to foreigners.

The objective is to prevent misuse of the visa waiver programme and address risks posed by individuals who obtained their citizenship through a CBI programme.

The EU visa waiver programme permits nationals from 60 countries to visit 27 Schengen Zone countries for up to 90 days for tourism and business purposes. The proposals, made in the 6th report under the Visa Suspension Mechanism, suggest expanding the grounds for suspension, including non-EU countries not fully aligned with the EU’s visa policy and visa-free non-EU countries operating investor citizenship schemes. The proposals also recommend extending the procedure duration to allow more time for remedial actions and strengthening the commission’s monitoring and reporting obligations to any visa-free countries where challenges are identified.

Despite the concerns by the EU, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Dominica, Saint Lucia, Grenada, and Antigua and Barbuda want their CBI programs to continue because of the massive amount of money it brings in to their coffers. A report published by the business newspaper, Bloomberg, on January 11, 2024, stated that sales of passports from these five countries bring in a whopping $579 million a year.

“Our national economic prosperity hinges on the robustness of our CBI program,” Terrance Drew, the prime minister of Saint Kitts, said in December. “This program must be protected at all costs.”

Prime Minister of Dominica, Roosevelt Skerrit said that citizens of the island have benefited more from CBI compared to any other country in the world.

“There is no country in the world, and I say so without any fear of contradiction, no country in the world, where the citizens have benefited more from the Citizenship By Investment Program,” he said. “There is no country in the world who can show you [more] visible signs of the Citizenship By Investment Program than in Dominica.”

If the EU were to fully crack down on these programs and their sale of so-called “golden passports”, it may ruin some of these island nations.

“It would pretty much cripple the Caribbean industry,” Rafael Cintron, the CEO and co-founder of Wealthy Expat, which advises people on second passports, told Bloomberg.

Meanwhile, IMI confirmed the meeting took place in Dominica last week via text messages it exchanged with the head of St Kitts’ Citizenship by Investment Unit, Michael Martin. He told IMI it was “more of a fact-finding mission” which was “constructive and informative.”

Martin also said the EU representative did not express anything definite.

“I suspect they will issue a report after they finish the round of meetings”, he said, according to IMI.

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  1. out of south city
    February 1, 2024

    The passports’ money should have been invested into the country to provide jobs instead of so many buildings which some people will never own. Some of our parents planted and reaped and provided funds for their children’s schooling. They did not depend on the government for housing. THEY WORKED FOR WHAT THEY NEEDED. Some people have depended on this regime for so long that they do not know independence. There is a dependency syndrome in Dominica and it is stiffling many people. Unless we get rid of the corruption that has tarnished our island by a few men in power, Dominica will not rise to to where she once was. It’s a shame that now more money has been flowing in Dominica than years past but Dominica’s situation is worse than ever. There are people who don’t know what to do so they resort to crime, violence, theft,etc., It is really a shame that men have envied POWER so much that it’s no big deal for them, for those who suffer under their control.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1
  2. If we knew better
    January 31, 2024

    Our heads of government are of the opinion that if things arent cheap noone will want it. Everybody wants diamonds. Diamonds arent cheap. Dominica should market itself like a diamond in the rough. Not easily accessible, very high value. however, the problem is also inside of Dominica. Once you get here, and you realize the level of customer service, amenities, service diversification, you realize why we are cheap. Meanwhile other islands are improving on these matters and charging prices that give you actual value for your money.

    So go ahead and make excuses for our poor management of our CBI project. just do what the UK want you to do so that i dont need a visa anymore. Nonsense allyu doing. Other islands can give their people tax breaks and even dry cash, but never once has an average dominican seen a dollar for our so robust and popular CBI program. Nor will we ever under this DLP administration. they wil continue to lie and steal the money and nothing developed properly for us.

  3. Vena meade
    January 31, 2024

    all theat man in dominica care about is stealing the country resources, unlike the other countrys who invest in their citizons he investing in himself and a thew of his goons, wickid . you all see that what he reported sold is 4 times less than what was actually sold, which is 34,500. so he cant be trusted, what he did with the money? he gives some people some old houses that is detiriorated already water weting them still from maria, and still havent fix it

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0
  4. January 30, 2024

    The truth usually hurts.

  5. DNO Reader
    January 30, 2024

    The EU Commission report of October 18, 2023 stated that Dominica sold FOUR TIMES MORE passports than the government publicly reported!!..and we okay with that..
    It’s wrong to “impugn improper motives”..but what else can we believe except that “the inner circle” is “living large” on the 75% of the sales of our sovereignty..but we okay with that..
    “There’s no country in the world, and I say so without any fear of contradiction, no country in the world,…” that is so dependent on the CBI for it’s very survival.
    But what’s the plan for when the inevitable happens and the “bottom drops off”?
    We all know that there’s no “Plan B”..but we okay with that..
    Guess we really are the like the crapaud in the cooking pot full of water..we never going to jump out no matter how hot the water gradually gets..and we all know how that story ends.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1
  6. Uk anguilla Dominica
    January 30, 2024

    thank God I got 3 passport don’t used my Dominica one

  7. dissident
    January 30, 2024

    Fake news!!!!!
    Henley is like Skerrit saving grace in de media
    de EU came to Dominica to discuss raising de price of our passports because it too cheap and readily available to any crooks and criminals looking to hide their identity
    that doesn’t impress de EU…….we use de EU name to market our passports that’s why our economy is so lopsided and Skerrit unable to pay government workers and other companies and individuals that they owe?
    why did Skerrit close de World Bank housing project?
    did de government settle all it’s outstanding accounts?
    dat ranking coming from de mouth of Henley is useless
    They have done better ranking before and we still see crooks like de latest Russian owner of de Paxum bank and his association to narcissist Thrump
    That ranking is fake and useless……….de treasury brokes!
    DDA brokes!
    DFC brokes!
    NEP brokes!
    Dat is fake news!
    watch your plate!
    watch de prices on de supermarket shelf!
    Fake news dat!!!!!!

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1
  8. LifeandDeath
    January 30, 2024

    Many Dominicans choose to stick their heads in the sand, but what is certain is that soon whether they ignore or take action the passports will become less attractive. What that means is that it will cease from being a viable source of income for the country. It’s a very sad state to be in after having collected monies like never before, enough to have transformed the economy but like spoilt children they refused to invest the moneys as capital but instead in end products like large apartments and other unexplained large buildings. How about one production plant for agro producers, how about one water bottling plant, how about a Marina, a refrigerated boat for Dexia maybe, a fund for small businesses??? Naah, that’ll put ppl to meaningful work. We want them only smart enough to go to the poles and vote but not to think for themselves.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1
  9. January 30, 2024

    haha Tim one day u will stop looking for information

  10. Lofical
    January 30, 2024

    what’s going to happen is that they are gonna impose visa reatiction on us, then our passport will lose most of its value, making it more difficult for those of us who travel through and to these places. secondly, our passport will no longer have value to the criminals to which this government is selling our passport thus cbi program no longer being profitable. then the question will be, where will money come from? here we have not one profitable industry under this government. so then, what becomes of our country?

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 25 Thumb down 2
  11. January 29, 2024

    Why can’t the EU dictate to EU member how they should operate their golden passport and visa schemes, these schemes are similar to the CBI. It is all about selling citizenship and residency for money. Why don’t they challenge US EB5 program that allows foreign investors to get permanent residence with a path to citizenship. The attitude of the EU shows that they still believe that slavery exist and they can tell us black people what to. Unfortunately our leaders lack balls to tell these leaches to fxxx off.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 6 Thumb down 27
    • Cracking
      January 30, 2024

      @point You seem very desperate in defending a lawless administration. Are you really okay?

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 2
    • Man bite dogs
      January 31, 2024

      @Point, you are so right with everything you said I leaves in the EU from the UK most including the USA think black people are a bunch of kick **s but again having said that here in Dominica there are a few people or political so-called party that need their backsides kicking every God given days.

  12. Dumb leaders
    January 29, 2024

    them EU doe tired warn Dominica? it seems them in authority putting their fingers in their ears…but….u see them taking all them crooked people give them Dominica passport and expect them to travel all over….soon I believe other countries will follow England….are we Dom in a can ?

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 22 Thumb down 2
  13. ccs
    January 29, 2024

    It may be selling soon for 10 dollars a dozen at Azaban supermarket.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 26 Thumb down 1
  14. Young & Restless
    January 29, 2024

    I really thought the EU was more powerful than that but seems like they are just talkers. Look, if the five islands have sold a combined of 88k passports and Dominica alone has sold 34,500 you don’t have to go to any university to see their real problem is Dominica and the fact that they chose to keep the meeting in Dominica confirms their concern. But the fact of the matter is Dominica is just One man; . you take care of this one man and problem solved. So why the EU showing such weakness? Man just ask a boat to come get the one man and do what all you want with him. I bet you there will be great celebration on the streets of Dominica by the police, teachers, public servants, farmers and all Dominicans especially young people who feel they don’t have a future under this one man. so go with him and set Dominica free and stop that talk talk talk man

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 3
  15. Ehab Nasrledin
    January 29, 2024

    Tangible steps should be taken, without delay, to align with the EU requirements. Otherwise the program and its income will be history. Period.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0
  16. AM & PM
    January 29, 2024

    Show me a group of wanted criminals and I will tell you how many Dominica CBI passports they have. It’s as simple as this: You know you are a criminal and want a good passport and cheap one to escape, just call AM and PM and just tell him what crime you committed or intend to commit and he will help you get a CBI passport that will better help your needs, whether CARICOM is involved or not, His office is opened 24/ 7 to wanted criminals though no Dominican knows where his office is located

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0
  17. Shaka Zulu
    January 29, 2024

    we know we have serious problems when the EU comes to tell the OECS by extension caricom the cheap sale of passports is not in the citizens best interest. caricom and OECS does not have the fortitude to set values and solve complex issues within itself. The new economic citizens also becomes citizens of these countries with possibility of financial and migration instabilities yet the sit mute. Then the meet drink wine smile for cameras while they try outdo each other. example Ross going to Barbados, Ralph coming DA tell the political prostitute DA don’t need IA. The SBOS agree only to see Ralph open one. Then the SBOS goes ahead sells the country soul to fund an Airport. Those funds go to China whike we hold the destruction of roads, bridges and environment. Billions of you passport revenues go to foreign contractors. I cannot make up that level of stupidity. if we cannot pay our Lil bills how do we plan to pay for O&M off all these gov structures?

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 1
  18. Just like that!
    January 29, 2024

    Gason the EU must come better than this. Look PM Skerrit has said he runs things in Dominica . So if the EU have a problem with the ammunition Dominica is arming terrorists with that can potentially be used against their citizens then they just need to pass a law and arrest the head of state who is on record saying he runs things. if that is done the EU will be happy, the US will be happy, CARICOM will be happy and the majority of us in Dominica that care about our country will be happy . So stop this foolishness about netting CARICOM and take a decision to hold the enemy of Dominica responsible for his actions End of story

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 5
    • January 30, 2024

      People like you believe that the white man /woman is far superior to us black people. They run their CBI schemes in Europe how they want and they want to come here to tell ours should be stopped. But again all people like you do is talk rubbish and hate Skeritt. I guess when Skeritt leaves office he will leave with all the health centers, houses, student education, roads, hospital, schools and the projects that were financed by the CBI and park them in his backyard at Vielle Case. All you want is to have Dominica remain backward.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 3 Thumb down 9
  19. dissident
    January 29, 2024

    As a response to this story…….de media machine kicks in with Henley talking of our passport ranked 10th in de region and 34th globally
    Did we pay off de Canadian authorities to allow for de return of printing new Dominican passports?
    Chief blah blah blah can’t boast about dat!
    Are we going to hear of a press conference to boast off Henley?
    some overambitious people are so predictable

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 3
  20. Lawyer
    January 29, 2024

    Prime Minister of Dominica, Roosevelt Skerrit said that citizens of the island have benefited more from CBI compared to any other country in the world.
    “There is no country in the world, and I say so without any fear of contradiction, no country in the world, where the citizens have benefited more from the Citizenship By Investment Program,” he said. “There is no country in the world who can show you [more] visible signs of the Citizenship By Investment Program than in Dominica.”

    It must be clear to each and every person that lives in Dominica that Skerrit is a shameless Scharlatan and a notorious liar. If anything, Dominica has changed for the worst since he took over. The man is low live if I have ever seen one.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 31 Thumb down 3
    • Skerrit is a voleh
      January 30, 2024

      I second that.

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 22 Thumb down 1
    • Putin
      January 30, 2024

      “There is no country in the world who can show you [more] visible signs of the Citizenship By Investment Program than in Dominica.”

      Where de lie?

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 5 Thumb down 19
      • Petes
        January 31, 2024

        Why don’t you point out the signs?? Don’t you dare and talk about the gifted houses which are nothing but election bribery and don’t you dare either to point at an international Airport which is no where finished, in fact I doubt it will ever be finished.

        Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

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