The European Commission has proposed a stronger suspension mechanism for visa-free travel, which could affect Antigua and Barbuda and other countries that offer citizenship by investment (CBI) programs in the region.
The EU’s proposal includes investor citizenship schemes as one of the grounds for suspension.
The EU stated that the “evolving geopolitical context” has created new challenges for the region’s visa-free access policy, and it is crucial that the EU is well-equipped to address situations of abuse of visa-free travel, such as increased irregular arrivals and hybrid threats.
The proposal delivers on President von der Leyen’s commitment to the European Council to strengthen the visa suspension mechanism and the monitoring of visa-free countries.
The EU is seeking to expand the grounds for suspension, strengthen the Commission’s monitoring and reporting obligations, and implement a new urgency procedure to react faster in cases of high increase in arrivals or security threats.
The EU has been talking to Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, St Kitts and Nevis, Grenada, and St Lucia since 2020 to obtain relevant information and data on the CBI programs which have been classified as high risk.
The OECD has raised suspicion of possible tax evasion and money laundering schemes.
The EU has concerns over the thoroughness of the security screenings, and how persons who are accepted for citizenship under the program could change their names, in some cases after obtaining citizenship.