Saint Lucia is an island nation situated in the Caribbean Sea. Part of the Windward Islands, it is known for its majestic Piton mountains, a UNESCO World Heritage Site encompassing vast numbers of rare plant and animal species, including endemic birds. Saint Lucia’s aquatic flora and fauna, as well as its bountiful rainforests, have been pivotal to attracting tourism to the island.
A former French and British colony, Saint Lucia has adopted English as its official language, although many natives speak creole French. The interplay between French and British influences is also reflected in the nation’s legal system: a blend of Common and Civil Law.
Saint Lucia holds a population of around 185,000, with Castries, its capital city, being the most changing and highly populated demographical space on the island.
Saint Lucia’s economy is driven by financial services and tourism. Travel and tourism contributed to approximately 39.5 percent of the nation’s GDP in 2014, a figure that is expected to rise to 50.2 percent in 2025. Around 44 percent of employment is generated by Saint Lucia’s tourism industry.
Saint Lucia is part of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), an intergovernmental entity headquartered in Saint Lucia and tasked with promoting the economic and social advancement of its members. A significant contributor to the OECS, Saint Lucia boasted the Organisation’s fourth highest agricultural GDP for 2015. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) predicts a total real GDP growth rate of 1.5 percent for Saint Lucia in 2016, rising to 1.9 percent in 2017.
The newest economic citizenship programme to emerge on the world stage, inaugurated in January 2016, is Saint Lucia’s Citizenship by Investment Programme.
Saint Lucia has four investment options available to applicants preferring to invest under this Programme.
The fastest option is a contribution to Saint Lucia’s National Economic Fund (NEF). Moneys deposited into the NEF are funnelled into progressive local development projects, selected by the Minister of Finance with the approval of Parliament. Originally set at a US$200,000 contribution, on 1 January 2017 the Government reduced the entry threshold to US$100,000 – causing some local criticism and speculation that the Programme was not sufficiently popular.
The second option under the Programme asks applicants to make a minimum investment of US$300,000 into a Government-approved real estate project. Real estate projects are expected to be boutique properties or fractions of branded hotels and resorts, and must be maintained by the applicant for a period of five years.
Applicants may also purchase Government bonds worth at least US$500,000. The bonds must be held for five years, and may not return a rate of interest to the applicant.
Under the final option of the Programme, applicants can make a minimum investment of US$3,500,000 into a Government-approved enterprise project, which may be brought to the attention of the Government by the applicant. The project may range from the building of a port to the establishment of a university, and must result in the creation of at least three permanent jobs. Applicants may partner with others to launch a joint venture, so long as a total minimum investment of US$6,000,000 is made, with each investor contributing no less than US$1,000,000. At least six permanent jobs must be generated as a result of the joint venture.
Application are processed by the Citizenship by Investment Unit (CIU), with the first year of the Programme’s existence seeing applications returned to applicants with an approval or denial within three months of submission.
There is no need for applicants to learn any language, or to prove any business or education skill. Further, applicants are not required to attend an interview.
Citizenship of Saint Lucia offers a viable alternative for anyone seeking a relaxing lifestyle and global access to around 125 countries and territories. Saint Lucia has no restrictions on holding dual nationality.