The Citizenship by Investment Unit made recommendations to Cabinet to reduce the processing fees associated with the country’s citizenship programme to increase its competitiveness. In their research, they found that the Antigua programme had the highest fees in the Caribbean. In an interview with Observer media, Charmaine Donovan, head of the Antigua Citizenship by Investment Unit had this to say:
We could have passed off the fact that we were a little more expensive because we had visa-free access to Canada. With that not being the case now, we’re actually working on a comprehensive strategy to determine the direction of the programme… Of course in this business you need to be competitive in order to attract business and so the thought process was let us reduce the processing fees.
Under the NDF option, the processing fees have been reduced to $25,000 for a family of up to 4 persons and an additional $15,000 per person for each additional dependent in families of 5 or more persons.
Under the Real Estate and Business Investment options, the processing fees will be reduced to $50,000 for a family of up to four persons and an additional $15,000 per person for each additional dependent in families of 5 or more persons.
The investment amounts for the NDF option remains at $200,000, the real estate remains at $400,000 and the business investment remains the same as well.
The government was adamant that [it was] not going to reduce the investment amount, [it was] concerned about the race to the bottom. But what has happened, we have a done a study over the CIPs in the region and we have found that our processing fees are by far the highest over all five programmes,