Beware of fake agents offering second citizenship: Envoy

Justin Hawley, the first Ambassador of St Kitts and Nevis to the UAE, and Les Khan, CEO, Citizenship by Investment Unit of St Kitts and Nevis, in Abu Dhabi. — Ashwani Kumar
Justin Hawley, the first Ambassador of St Kitts and Nevis to the UAE, and Les Khan, CEO, Citizenship by Investment Unit of St Kitts and Nevis, in Abu Dhabi. — Ashwani Kumar

Dubai - Launched in 1984, the St Kitts and Nevis’ citizenship by investment programme is the oldest of its kind in the world.



by

Ashwani Kumar

Published: Fri 1 Oct 2021, 3:34 PM

Last updated: Fri 1 Oct 2021, 3:35 PM

A powerful second passport offers many benefits but potential investors and high-net worth individuals must not fall prey to fake agents, said Justin Hawley, the first Ambassador of St Kitts and Nevis to the UAE.

Launched in 1984, the St Kitts and Nevis’ citizenship by investment programme is the oldest of its kind in the world. Successful applicants are provided with visa-free access to 157 countries around the world, including important business hubs in EU member states, the UK and Asia.

Speaking to Khaleej Times, Hawley, who recently joined the office in Abu Dhabi, said the interested investors must do diligent research to check for valid agents.

“We constantly get phone calls from prospective citizens asking about St Kitts and Nevis and the programme. They ask us about the agents. We stay neutral and don’t recommend any agent. But we advise them to choose an agent, who is officially licensed by the Government of St Kitts and Nevis. It is important,” he said on the sidelines of the International Residency and Citizenship by Investment Expo held in Abu Dhabi.

People can check at ciu.gov.kn for the a of authorised agents and also find blacklisted companies.

“And don’t be afraid to call the embassy,” added the former Consul General of St Kitts and Nevis Consulate in Dubai.

Meanwhile, Les Khan, CEO, Citizenship by Investment Unit of St Kitts and Nevis, said that certain agents have been spreading fake news to bring disrepute to the country and the programmes.

“I am aware that certain agents are trying to get clients to move away from St Kitts and Nevis by telling them that their passports will be taken away after 10 years, which is not a fact. People will not lose their citizenship after 10 years. The government will never do that,” Khan added.

The two-day exhibition is being held at Conrad Etihad Towers in Abu Dhabi.

Demand for second citizenship on the rise in ME

Covid-19 lockdown and travel restriction have led to greater awareness among people in the region for the need of a second passport, which ensures global mobility and safety, said expert consultants.

George Maalouf, CEO of Real-21 Citizenship by Investment, said his offices in Abu Dhabi and Dubai have started receiving new requests for an alternate citizenship.

“The demand for citizenship by investment programmes has begun to pick up. People have realised the importance of having the freedom to travel, doing business, safety and security.”

Real-21 offers citizenship programmes for the Caribbean islands, European countries and Canada.

“Most of our clients are Arabs, Indians, Pakistanis, Russians, Chinese etc. We have also got Afghan nationals looking for a second citizenship.”

Les Khan, CEO, Citizenship by Investment Unit of St Kitts and Nevis, said the interest level from people in the Middle East soared during the pandemic.

“A couple of years back, it was 60 per cent China and 40 per cent Middle East and Russia. But over the last 2 years, it has flipped with 60-70 per cent in the Middle East and 30 per cent in China.”

Separately, Tiago Camara of PT Golden Visa, who presented the benefits of investing in Portugal, noted that Chinese continue to constitute 60 per cent of the clients.

“We also have applicants from countries facing political unrest and economic crisis. We have people from South Africa, Lebanon and Hong Kong. We have people from India and Pakistan who wish to relocate.” — ashwani@khaleejtimes.com


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