The Vanuatu Citizenship Interviews Part 1: Yellow Passports, Honorary Designations, Engaging With the World

IMI is pleased to be able to present the first-ever interview series with a sitting Chairman of the Vanuatu Citizenship Commission, Ronald Warsal.

Chairman Ronald Warsal, who took the reins at the Citizenship Commission only in April 2020, has approached his task with a great deal more openness to the outside world than his predecessors. In October, he threw the lid of the hitherto “black box” of Vanuatu citizenship by investment data wide open by releasing an extensive raft of data on applications (exclusively in IMI) going all the way back to 2013 in an unprecedented show of transparency.

Warsal has also been tasked with improving program integrity and operations, reviewing and reforming the country’s two citizenship by investment programs – the DSP and the VCP – and determining whether mistakes of former administrations warrant rectification. Among the tangible outcomes of that process, so far, has been the Chairman’s serving a notice of termination to the agent that exclusively controls the VCP (one of two concurrent official CIPs in the country), attempts to resolve the “honorary” citizenship question, and, most recently, the public chastisement of international promoters of Vanuatu citizenship whose methods are considered inappropriate.

In the panel discussion, Warsal is accompanied by CEO James Elcocke-Harris of the Vanuatu Investment Migration Bureau, locally designated DSP agent Daniel Agius, as well as CEO of FACT UK, Kieron Sharp, the latter of whom has a background in the London Metropolitan Police and Interpol.

In this first video, we raised a number of pressing questions to the panelists:

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  • Will Vanuatu introduce yellow passports for its investor citizens?
  • Has the “honorary” citizenship issue been adequately addressed, not merely through changes in certificates and passports but also in legal terms?
  • What is the perception of the program and its perceived shortcomings among international law enforcement and international bodies?

Watch the first part of the interview series below.

In subsequent videos, we’ll discuss:

  • What is Vanuatu doing to remain competitive with the Caribbean?
  • What concrete plans exist for the introduction of additional investment options, such as for real estate?
  • Will Vanuatu continue to have two separate CIPs that sell, essentially, the same product?
  • How does the Vanuatu due diligence process work, how is it changing and improving, and how is it different from that of other CIPs?
  • How are processes being digitized to adapt to a world in which travel has become fraught with complications?
  • Why are so many agents illegally discounting the Vanuatu DSP and what’s being done to mitigate the problem?

Christian Henrik Nesheim AdministratorKeymaster

Christian Henrik Nesheim is the founder and editor of Investment Migration Insider, the #1 magazine – online or offline – for residency and citizenship by investment. He is an internationally recognized expert, speaker, documentary producer, and writer on the subject of investment migration, whose work is cited in the Economist, Bloomberg, Fortune, Forbes, Newsweek, and Business Insider. Norwegian by birth, Christian has spent the last 16 years in the United States, China, Spain, and Portugal.

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