- July 7, 2021
- Posted by: Stephane Tajick
- Category: Competitive Research Analysis
When RBI programs are brought up, the first place that comes to mind is the Caribbean.
Why? Besides the tourism industry, that’s one of the Caribbean’s best merchandises.
Caribbean countries are avid sellers of accessible investment programs. And that comes with a tropical and lax environment that’s perfect for any high net worth retiree.
For that reason, keeping up with changes there is recommended. So below, we’ll discuss two countries and their new migration policy modifications.
Those would be Dominica and Bermuda.
Dominica: A Change for the Worse
Just two months ago, the European Council decided to blacklist Dominica on its tax haven list.
This might hurt the RBI programs of that nation. After all, it’s touted to have one of the world’s best passports, granting access to the EU and US.
The EU Council is citing lack of “constructive dialogue” as the main reason for the black listing.
In other words, either Dominica has failed to disclose its tax data to the EU, or it isn’t implementing changes for a better system.
Why Do Those Changes Matter?
The EU cares about fair taxation. Specifically, its focus is on countries that combat profit shifting and erosion of other countries’ tax base.
Dominica’s silence does create obstructions to both those goals. Thus, it’s not a surprise to see the country on the EU’s black list.
But speaking of black lists. Some Caribbean countries have moved off the EU’s list. Those include:
- Barbados (currently in review)
- Saint Lucia
For the meanwhile, the previous three options might prove to be safer tax havens than Dominica.
Bermuda: Launching a New Visa Program
Bermuda is mid-launching its “Golden Visa” investment program.
Details about the program specify a $2.5 million minimum investment cap. The funds can be allocated to multiple channels, including:
- Government bonds
- Real Estate
- Donations to Bermuda’s Trust Fund (local charities also suffice)
Successful applicants receive a 5 year residency permit. The permit is extendable to family members (spouses and children).
Also, applicants get an Economic Investment Certificate. The document stays valid throughout the duration of the investment.
After the 5 year residency period ends, the applicant and their family can sign up for permanent residence.
Is it a New Program?
The new scheme is meant to replace an older program that was aimed towards non-working retirees (with independent income).
Also, unlike the older program, the new one allows the applicant (and family) to work in the businesses they invested in.
However, it’s not currently clear if the applicants are allowed paid employment in Bermuda’s labor market.
Over all, as mentioned by Bermuda’s Labor Minister, the goal is to develop businesses, create financial investments, and generate more jobs to benefit Bermudians.
Critique of the Program.
Some migration practitioners (such as Arton Capital’s Philippe May) see that the program’s requirements are too high.
According to them, the $2.5 million cap is excessive. Many neighboring Caribbean countries offer similar programs at a fraction of the cost. Some even offer options at 10% of Bermuda’s requirements!
So while it is an interesting program (and shift in priorities), it isn’t too competitive.