Castries, Dec. 30, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Saint Lucia has amended the regulations of its Citizenship by Investment Programme to remain increasingly competitive and ensure that the Caribbean country fulfils its mandate of growing demand for its investment products for the ultimate benefit of the people of Saint Lucia. As one of the youngest Citizenship by Investment products in the market, Saint Lucia has made bold strides in offering an alternative investment option in the Caribbean’s most developed and diverse economies. The country’s Citizenship by Investment Unit has taken a comprehensive review of its Citizenship by Investment offerings following approvals from the Citizenship by Investment Board and Honourable Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Tourism, Investment, Creative Industries, Culture and Information, Ernest Hilaire. The below amendments to the existing regulations will take effect from 1 January 2023. Developers applying for approved real estate under the Citizenship by Investment Programme or enterprise projects will now have to pay due diligence and background check fee of US$7,500. The replacement fee for a lost or damaged certificate will increase from US$100 to US$500. Investors who have been a citizen of Saint Lucia for 12 months or less that are looking to include a newborn dependent through the country’s National Economic Fund will now have to pay a fee of US$5000, this has increased from US$500. There is also an introduction of a new Bond Offer for investors purchasing non-interest-bearing Government Bonds with the following qualifying investment sums: Category of applicant Bond purchase sum Bond holding period Applicant and all qualifying dependents of any number US$300,000 5-year holding bond Administrative fee (regardless of the number of dependants) US$50,000 To qualify for second citizenship through the real estate option, investors will have to invest a minimum of US$200,000, a reduction from US$300,000. Saint Lucia is emerging as one of the fastest-growing economies in the Caribbean region and the nation is well-known for offering various investment and business opportunities for people looking for options to plan their wealth and diversify their portfolios. The country’s Citizenship by Investment Programme is a perfect choice as it offers ideal business opportunities to investors who do not want to be bound by border limitations. The Caribbean country is recognized for providing a second home not just to investors but to their families too. The nation has been lauded for its advanced and modernized infrastructure. Saint Lucia has one of the most resilient, modernized education and healthcare systems in the region, which makes it ideal for investors and their families. The Citizenship by Investment Programme of this Caribbean country attracts Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) for the nation which is used for advancing various projects such as the development of infrastructure, advancement of real estate, business expansion and job innovation. The CBI Index 2022, published by PWM Magazine of Financial Times, reported that CBI is assuring the small island nation of Saint Lucia has become independent, developed and prosperous in the true sense. The report also recognized the programme for its “Ease of Processing” and “Due Diligence” Pillars. This year, Saint Lucia’s Citizenship by Investment Programme climbed a spot and gained the third position. Saint Lucia’s Citizenship by Investment Unit makes sure that citizenship is given to credible applicants of good standing while their dependants over the age of sixteen are also subject to multi-layered due diligence checks, in order to qualify for alternative citizenship. Saint Lucia asks for detailed information from the applicants to understand the funding source of the investors who want citizenship. On this due diligence aspect, Minister Ernest Hilaire recently addressed concerns and fears related to Saint Lucia’s CBI Programme. He gave assurance that the government of Saint Lucia and its CBI Unit perform a strict and rigid due diligence process. Hilaire explained that the due diligence process is a multi-layered procedure noting, “Due diligence is performed by our Unit on all applicants, this is then followed by another due diligence check by the banks. This is then followed by due diligence checks by international intelligence units who also do on-the-ground assessments.” He also noted that the Government and Unit have been planning to review the country’s CBI programme, making it more attractive as well as competitive. Minister Hilaire announced that these updates would maintain the country’s rigorous but seamless vetting process. While the programme is the newest in the region, launched in 2016, the Government has made sure to set the bar very high – the programme has been regarded as one of the most advanced, secure as well as transparent programmes. Through the National Economic Fund, this prestigious programme has helped the nation to develop important public infrastructure. The funds from the programme have been directly contributing to advancing the standard of living of Saint Lucians. Alternative citizenship in the Caribbean nation is emerging as a platform to alleviate and tackle the risk of uncertainty and unpredictability in future. There is no other better plan than investing in building a new home at a place which offers ample opportunities and, most importantly, peace out of the hustle and bustle of big cities.