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Applications for the Citizenship by Investment Program (CIP) have shown an increase, near to the pre-Covid-19 levels, a top official Citizenship by Investment Unit (CIU) indicated yesterday.

During a press conference, the CIU’s Chief Executive Officer, Charmaine Quinland-Donovan provided an update on the agency’s recent performance.

She said that despite the challenges brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic, people have continued to apply for citizenship.

“Fortunately, the Antigua and Barbuda Citizenship by Investment Program has continued to enjoy sustained interest and the number of applications being submitted has begun to increase to near pre-Covid-19 levels.

“As early as March of this year the unit began a comprehensive reorganization of its operating processes to facilitate greater electronic engagement and maintain response time. As a result of this quick response to the crisis at hand, the unit has been able to maintain a steady stream of applications,” she said.

The CEO also said that because the CIU had set up an online platform in late 2019 – unlike many of its regional counterparts — it was able to function effectively during the lockdown.

“There are a number of recent enhancements to the programme which make it a premier contender in the investment migration landscape. Among these is the digitization of the application process which allows agents to submit their applications online, removing the potential for delays given the need to manage person to person contact,” Quinland-Donovan explained.

According to her, the process has been “robust and efficient”.

In 2020, the CIU introduced a third option to real estate ownership by offering potential applicants approved real estate, starting at US $200,000.

It also introduced the UWI Fund option – which goes towards funding the fourth landed campus – more attractive for large families. A family of six or more can invest in this option for only US $150,000.

Meanwhile, the Chief Financial Officer in the CIU, Casford King, disclosed that to date the unit has approved 275 applications.

“We have contributed significantly to the development of the country in a positive and real way. Pre-Covid, we were on pace to outdo the previous year in terms of applications, but since the advent of Covid we’ve seen the effects in terms of the numbers, but safe to say, we are returning to normal and there has been increased demand in terms of inquiries and persons wishing to apply for alternative citizenship, so the prospects of the program do look positive,” King stated. 

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