Doing away with Antigua and Barbuda’s Citizenship by Investment Program without having a sustainable replacement will plunge the country’s economy into perhaps an irreversible downward spiral.
It is for this reason, that Nuri Katz, the President of Montreal-based wealth management firm Apex Captial Partners Corp believes that the island, including all other countries that offer CIP, should ensure that its due diligence process remains robust, leaving little doubt for questions.
Sometime last year, a vote was taken by the European Parliament to ask the European Commission, which can be likened to the Cabinet of Europe, to formulate a strategy asking countries that offer CIP to phase them out or face visa restrictions.
Katz said in an interview recently that while that decision is not yet official and it may take a while before anything can materialize, heads of government must continue to discuss and plan a way forward in the eventuality.
“The CIP is a very critical component of the earnings of the government. Unfortunately, a lot of the other industries that have supported these countries like the offshore banking industries, the gambling industries have been shut down”, he said.
Katz added that tourism seems to be next in line, where economic viability is concerned but that industry, he says is very fragile.
“If there’s a little hiccup in the economy, the first thing that people stop doing is that they stop being tourists, they stop traveling. Tourism is gone if there’s a little hiccup in the economy…we see what happened during the pandemic,” he said.
While there have been talks about agriculture and diversification of the economy, Katz believes that these industries will not attract the kind of financing needed to sustain the already struggling economy.
“Antigua doesn’t have oil, gold, diamonds and there is very little manufacturing possible. Many people speak about farming but that can only be done on a small scale compared to places like Iowa,” Katz said.
It is for this reason that Katz believes that everything must be done to try to safeguard the CIP.
“The CIP is critical for the economy and this is why they are doing everything they can safeguard it including doing this crazy work of due diligence that is way over and beyond what any other country does,” he said.
Yet, there seems to be a vigorous attempt to shut down the CIPs in the region. Many bureaucrats in other countries find it distasteful that somebody can get citizenship using money.
But bureaucrats, Katz says, are not wealthy people, and “they can’t afford these things so they don’t like when others can”
Katz, is a licensed member of The Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (ICCRC), the governing board of Canadian immigration consultants.
Starting in 2001 when he was an advisor to the government of Canada regarding the creation of the new Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, he has advised numerous governments around the world on issues regarding investor immigration.
Apex Capital Partners represents clients with all Caribbean CIPs, as well as numerous countries in Europe and North America.
Apex Capital Partners works with clients through its offices in St Kitts and Nevis, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Montreal, Moscow, Dubai, Montenegro as well as its network of hundreds of agents around the world.
Apex Capital Partners also develops residential real estate, having been involved as a principal in residential projects in St. Kitts, Charleston, South Carolina, Montreal, and Moscow, Russia
He is a founding member of the Global Investor Immigration Council, a non-partisan, not-for-profit organization addressing the opportunities and challenges of the movement of immigrant investors and global citizens.