The Republic of Vanuatu, located on the outskirts of the South Pacific Ocean, has made significant changes to the Citizenship by Investment (CBI) programme. On Friday, the government of Vanuatu declared to revisit, re-assess, and re-evaluate the CBI programme to ensure the potent offering to those who seek citizenship of the country.
By acknowledging the importance of due diligence, the citizenship commission decided to adopt a more streamlined citizenship process, which aided the government in determining the loopholes and the risk to the country’s Citizenship programme.
The step has been encouraged by the recommendation of the European Commission, which has criticized Vanuatu’s economic citizenship programme for abeyance of the visa-free travel agreement because of its inter-governmental due diligence of applications. Moreover, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) also signifies the citizenships via investment programme, cited the Programme would generate 50 percent of the country’s revenue.
The Republic of Vanuatu faced severe effects of a pandemic, resulting in the depletion of growth and fiscal balances. While emphasizing the essence of the Programme and critical factors, the press release issued by the government noted,” The step will not only offer economic growth to the people of Vanuatu as well as the security and safety to the international community. Moreover, the Programme will play a significant role in stabilizing the economy and developing the nation.
Understanding the importance of the Programme, the government has finalized a contract with the well-known international due-diligence service provider, Uk agency, Fact UK. The firm provides a safe and secure CBI programme. While highlighting the company, Kieron Sharp, the CRO of Fact UK, asserted that they have highly skilled staff with vast international expertise, trained by the FBI Academy and serving as the Head of Economic Crime at Interpol.
“We are delighted to welcome the advanced steps taken by us to vet CBI applicants thoroughly. Further, a FACT UK will conduct a long-winded selection process, including sanctions lists, open-source checks, and on-the-ground assessments. The company will excel in the areas such as IP protection, intelligence, and computer forensics, as well as forensic investigation and security verification.
While specifying the condition of attaining citizenship, the government stated that the due diligence process would be enhanced further so that only respectable investors can obtain citizenship. Hence, each application will have to meet the standard requirements, and the process will carefully check audits to mitigate any security, financial crime, reputational risk. In order to ensure the security and safety of Vanuatu, no resource will get free from comprehensive checking.
So, In a bid to approve only reputable applications, the government will retroactively conduct vetting through due diligence on all applicants granted citizenship in the last six years. However, if anyone fails the checking, their citizenship might be annulled.
With the multi-layered approach, which includes authorized agents, CBI units, an independent due diligence firm, law enforcement agencies, and partner governments, a thorough review will be essayed to re-establish the protocols, which further helps the Programme to meet the international standards. Moreover, CS Global Partners, a Marketing service provider, has been appointed to administer and advise the country.
The Vanuatu government further urged that the safety and security of the nation are their foremost priority and will not comprise that for individuals seeking citizenship in the country. Moreover, our efforts would be in the area to strengthen international relations.
To ensure that it could compete in the global market, the country is rigorously working with its international partners. After the technical help received in 2018 from the Council of Europe via its Global Action on Cybercrime Extended (GLACY+) project, Vanuatu’s Parliament recently passed its first Cybercrime Act, intending to reconcile the country’s national legislation with international standards in the field.
Vanuatu has participated in over fifteen regional, international and national capacity-building programmes since 2011.