Processing times matter in citizenship by investment programs.
With slow processing comes less demand. This leads to a bad reputation for a program as others offer faster routes.
Saint Lucia used to be in that position. Its reputation for detailed slowness in Saint Lucia’s Citizenship by Investment program kept investors far away from it, until recently.
Saint Lucia’s Citizenship by Investment Situation
Three years ago, Saint Lucia’s program had its low point, and that continued up to 2020. In both 2017 and 2018, the country only received 279 applications, which were a 1/3 of what were approved in early 2018.
The reason for that was attributed to slow processing times, which in many cases would reach 9 months.
The problem was noticed even at an executive level. Nestor Alfred (Chief Executive of Saint Lucia’s CIU) attributed the slow processing times to the island’s rigorous vetting process.
Fortunately, the program is experiencing a turnaround. With 2020, Saint Lucia is one of the Caribbean’s fastest processing programs!
Saint Lucia Compared to its Neighbors
In 2019, Saint Lucia was ranked as the least efficient processor. With 2020, its program now has one of the best growth rates.
Currently, it ranks higher in satisfaction than Vanuatu, Dominica, Saint Kitts & Nevis, and Antigua and Barbuda. In fact, many Caribbean countries are witnessing a drop in their processing efficiency!
Also, Saint Lucia processing time is also outranking many popular CIPs worldwide.
Saint Lucia is now seen as more efficient than Portugal’s and Greece’s golden visa programs. In fact, only Portugal has demonstrated a similar sharp increase in processing efficiency!
Saint Lucia’s situation was turned around in less than two years. But this begs a question – how did that come along?
How Were the Changes Effected?
We assume that Saint Lucia hasn’t changed the rigorousness of how it evaluates its applicants.
According to Nestor Alfred, the changes focused on trimming away unnecessary steps, all without affecting the quality of each assessment. This has led to a drop of processing times from more than 6 months, to less than 2 months.
Compared to many major worldwide programs, Saint Lucia now offers citizenship in less time.
Another key principle was the reliance on the CIU’s online portal. Its use saves processing time while increasing productivity. It also reduces stress on the behalf of investors, allowing them to complete the process without travelling constantly.
Lastly, the changes focused on adapting to delays caused by outside partners involved processing applications.
Additional Changes to Saint Lucia’s Citizenship Program
Nestor Alfred indicated that Saint Lucia aims to revamp its real estate program. Its focus will be on increasing accountability demands from investors.
Also, the CIP is introducing changes in its marketing approach. It’s looking to collaborate with a partner for a product that’ll increase the program’s attractiveness.
Those changes shouldn’t affect processing time too much. But considering the program’s current trajectory, we expect it to maintain high levels of efficiency.