Caribbean: new residency rules

7 th Heaven Properties , a specialist in the sale of Caribbean properties, has seen sales enquiries up 60% in early part of 2010. Of these nearly 20% are a direct result of the Economic Citizen Partnership which allows purchasers to become island residents…

Under the Partnership agreement, people making a minimum investment of US$350,000 in a property or villa plot are entitled to apply for island Citizenship. Islands to realise the potential in allowing purchasers to become residents have quickly become hot spot destinations and include St.Kitts and Nevis, Dominican Republic, Belize and Dominica – with more to follow including St.Lucia, Grenada and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

On the island of St Kitts, Oceans Edge (1 bedroom beachfront apartment) is for sale for £252,736. Under the Economic Partnership Scheme the eventual purchaser will be in line to become a citizen of St Kitts for life with eligible family members also being given full residency status. Other benefits include:

·       Dual citizenship opportunity

·       Passports are issued to successful applicants and any eligible dependants

·       Residency in St Kitts is not required

·       Visa Free travel to a number of countries including European Schengen Countries

·       Tax free status on foreign income, capital gains, gift, wealth and inheritance tax

·       The right to work in St Kitts

As owner and director of 7 th Heaven, Walter Zephrin explains: "In light of the downturn in the economy, increases in taxes across major economies and the significant drop in property value across the globe, the Caribbean remains a strong and vibrant investment option. The ECP provides property buyers and investors with an added incentive to purchase in the region. Having dual citizenship provides the buyer with ease of access to the destination, relocation alternatives and year round access to the sun and sea.  Taxes in the Caribbean are generally lower and the region remains stable with diverse appeal."

To date the Caribbean has not suffered a development downturn in any way similar to many destinations.

The region's continuous drive to attract tourists to the islands all but guarantees property investors taking the buy to let option are sure of a sound investment. Walter Zephrin is establishing himself as a trusted and knowledgeable expert in the sales of Caribbean property as new client Rufus Gobat explains "I have known Walter personally for many years, and have always been impressed by his knowledge of the global property investment market and the Caribbean region in particular."