On the 29th of May, 2019, Anguilla’s Parliament, the House of Assembly, enacted the Anguilla Economic Resident Act 2019, (AERA). This provides the legal basis for its residence by investment program, first enacted through regulations in November 2018, as shall be discussed below.
The AERA provides for the grant of permanent residence to qualified applicants who make the requisite investment in an approved real estate project or a contribution to the Capital Development Fund (CDF).
The contribution amount for the CDF has not been spelled out in the legislation but once the final phase starts, this shall be made known through regulations. The legislation also creates a Residence for Tax Purposes (RTP) program where an applicant can be granted tax residence within the jurisdiction if they apply and meet the following criteria:
- pay the prescribed amount of Annual Lump Sum Tax Payments for a period of 5 years;
- own and maintain Approved Real Estate in Anguilla valued at or above the prescribed amount;
- establish other genuine links to Anguilla, in accordance with the guidelines published from time to time by the Select Agency;
- be physically resident in Anguilla at least 45 days in each calendar year;
- make a declaration, in writing, whereby the applicant agrees to pay Annual Lump Sum Tax Payments for a period of 5 years;
- make a declaration, in writing, annually, that the applicant is physically residing fewer than 183 days in each calendar year in any other country and that their center of vital interest is in Anguilla.
At the same time that the AERA was enacted, the House of Assembly also enacted the Select Anguilla Agency Act, 2019 which establishes Select Anguilla as the agency, referenced above in item 3 charged with implementing Anguilla’s offerings to the investment migration community.
Select Anguilla will have the exclusive right to operate and administer the programs under the AERA. It will thus be akin to the Citizenship by Investment Units (CIUs) in jurisdictions that have Citizenship by Investment programs.
It is worth noting that both under the RBIP and RTP, regulations and guidelines will need to be issued to provide for the qualifying amounts and related matters.
However, prior to the enactment of those two pieces of legislation, on Saturday, 18th May 2019, Mr. Larry Franklin, Permanent Secretary for Economic Development in the Ministry of Finance of the Government of Anguilla announced that Anguilla will launch the second phase of its RBIP program, which involves the full options under the AERA, at the International Migration Council (IMC) Forum in Geneva to be held between the 3rd to the 6th June 2019.
At the event, the jurisdiction’s newly titled Premier, the Hon. Victor F Banks and Mr. Phillip Kisob, head of Select Anguilla Ltd, the soon to be established agency charged with promoting the program, shall speak and provide valuable information to industry professionals.
On the 1st of November, 2018, Anguilla launched the first phase of its program with the implementation of the Permanent Residence Permit (Amendment) Regulations, 2018. This is known as the Retroactive Phase because currently many persons with second homes in the jurisdiction, depending on the value, qualify automatically.
These amendments and subsequent ones issued in April 2019 allow for non-Anguillians to become permanent residents of Anguilla if they meet the below criteria.
1. The applicant must be the legal owner of a home in Anguilla that he has purchased or built before September 30th, 2018 and which must be valued according to the below matrix.
Eligible minimum property valuations at the time of application (purchased or constructed):
- If fewer than two years ago: US$750,000
- If between two and five years ago: US$600,000
- If more than five years ago: US$500,000
2. The applicant, who must be 18 years or older, may apply for himself and up to 3 dependents. For every US$100,000 in excess of the minimum values shown above, the applicant may apply for an additional dependant.
2. Dependents are defined as:
- A spouse of the main applicant.
- A child of the applicant or his or her spouse who is under the age of 18.
- A child of the applicant or of the spouse of the main application who is at least 18 years old, who is physically or mentally challenged, and who is living with and fully supported by the applicant.
- A child of the applicant or of the spouse of the main application who is under 26 years of age, is enrolled in a full-time course of study, and is financially dependent on the parents.
3. When determining the valuation of the home, consideration shall be given to the value of the land on which the home is located.
4. The value of the home shall be verified by the Department of Lands and Survey of the Government of Anguilla.
5. The deadline for the end of the Retroactive Phase is the 30th of June 2019.
Anguilla’s program is not designed to compete with the well-established Caribbean citizenship by investment programs and neither could it, even if the jurisdiction wanted it to. This is because Anguilla is a British Overseas Territory and while the matter of who qualifies as an Anguillian with the right to live and work there are covered by the Anguilla Constitution of 1982, the matter of who is granted a passport is the preserve of the British
Nationality Act 1981 (BNA), which is an Act of the UK
Individuals who have the right to live and work in Anguilla without immigration controls aren’t granted an Anguillian passport but are instead granted a British Overseas Territories Citizen Passport and are British Overseas Territories Citizens (BOTCs), subject to the terms of the BNA. They are also British Citizens, again subject to the BNA, and hold a British/EU passport as if they were born and spent all their lives in the UK.
Thus, while the program grants permanent residence to applicants, recipients of the permit still must apply for work permits, cannot vote, and, of course, cannot hold elected office.
However, with this status, the pathway to BOTC and UK/EU passports is shortened dramatically. After 5 years of living legally on the island, persons holding permanent residence under this scheme can apply to be granted the BOTC and UK/EU passports.
The Retroactive Phase of the program is relatively easy to access with fewer costs, shorter timeframes and fewer documents required since these persons would have already been through due diligence checks previously, especially during the time they purchased land and built their home. Further information on the program to date can be found at www.anguillaresidency.ai
Image credit: Roy Googin
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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.