With continued pressure from the European Union to do away with the Citizenship by Investment Programme (CIP), the Gaston Browne Administration is looking to introduce an alternative programme.
The EU Parliament has passed legislation that, ultimately, gives an ultimatum to countries that operate such commercial passport schemes, with the threat of canceling their visa-free access to more than 25 countries comprising the Schengen area.
This week, the Cabinet reportedly considered a Digital Nomad Programme to replace the CIP, and met with the head of the Citizenship by Investment Unit (CIU) and a CIP expert.
Reportedly, the expert brought to the Cabinet’s attention a European Parliament press release, dated February 15, 2022, calling on countries operating CIP programmes to end their schemes by 2025.
This request impacts five of the six OECS independent states, including Antigua and Barbuda.
“The Europeans are discussing the possibility of ending the Schengen visa programme – that allows visitors entry into one European state and unimpeded access to the other 29 – for those countries operating CIP Programmes,” the Cabinet Notes say.
According to the Notes, “The Antigua and Barbuda Digital Nomad Programme is one alternative that could be more fully exploited, since it does not involve alleviating tax burdens – which the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) deems to be unfair competition.”
Reports are that the CIU head and the CIP expert will return to Cabinet in three weeks with a plan “that can possibly surmount the concerns of the OECD.”
In March, Prime Minister Browne reported that the Cabinet had taken a decision to rebrand the country’s CIP, making it similar to the citizenship programme operated by the United States.
It was announced, then, that the CIP legislation of 2013 would be amended so that the programme could be rebranded “The Residency and Citizenship by Investment Programme.”