Following a swirl of unconfirmed rumor earlier this week, the UK’s Home Office minutes ago confirmed in an announcement that it is imposing visa restrictions on travel to the UK for nationals of Dominica, Honduras, Namibia, Timor-Leste, and Vanuatu.
In her written statement accompanying the announcement, Home Secretary Suella Braverman said “careful consideration of Dominica’s and Vanuatu’s operation of a citizenship by investment scheme has shown clear and evident abuse of the scheme, including the granting of citizenship to individuals known to pose a risk to the UK.”
In its explanatory memorandum laid before Parliament, the Home Office writes that the changes will take effect immediately, except for a four-week grace period for travelers who have already bought flights. This is a departure from the Home Office’s convention of implementing immigration rule changes no earlier than 21 days after tabling in Parliament.
“The Government considers this departure from convention to be necessary and proportionate for reasons of safeguarding the operation of the national immigration system. It is anticipated that providing the customary 21-days’ scrutiny period before implementing the visa regimes would trigger a substantial increase in nationals from these countries travelling to the UK, before the visa regime comes into force.”
In our Q1 2023 Private Briefing, we highlighted how Dominica has been attempting to forestall this turn of events by revoking a number of citizenships it had granted under its CIP to individuals who had previously been denied UK visas and failed to declare this on their CIP applications:
Several Dubai-based CBI agents with whom IMI has been in touch say Dominica has issued at least 25 letters stating that it plans to revoke citizenship because of the applicants’ having concealed “material facts” in their original applications.
In one particular letter, Dominica claims the applicants neglected to mention in the original application that he/she had been denied a UK visitor visa in the past. In at least one case, the applicant’s CBI advisor had advised the client to withhold this information.
One source told IMI that last month’s historic meeting between all the five Caribbean CBI country PMs – at which the parties agreed to “6 CBI Principles” – had occasioned the sudden flurry of reviews into cases of “concealment of material fact”. Ongoing conversations between the UK Home Office – which has said it is actively scrutinizing the programs – are also likely to have played a part. One agent said the Dominica government had only recently learned – from UK authorities – that some of the individuals to whom they had granted citizenship had previously been rejected for visas to the UK.
Dominica is reportedly reviewing large numbers of existing applications for similar concealment, and other Caribbean programs are likely engaged in the same exercise. Saint Kitts & Nevis, say our sources, has also recently received data on its applicants from the UK. In cases where they find that an investor with an ongoing application has previously been denied a visa to the UK, Saint Kitts & Nevis puts the application on hold, informs the client, and gives him/her a chance to re-apply for a UK visa. If granted, Saint Kitts & Nevis allows the application for citizenship to proceed.
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.