The government of Vanuatu announced important modifications to its Citizenship by Investment Program (CBI) on Friday, recognizing the need of due diligence.
In a news release, the government stated that it is taking critical steps to assess and re-evaluate the program’s structure from a due diligence and marketing standpoint. According to the authorities, the new measures would provide international protection and security.
The government has chosen to implement a more simplified citizenship process and strict due diligence as a result of this. Following this move, the government has legally struck a partnership with FACT, the UK’s streaming due diligence agency, an international due diligence service provider for the first time.
FACT, which is one of the first worldwide due diligence firms, will provide a comprehensive due diligence service. According to reports, the highly qualified staff would be directed by Kieron Sharp, the CEO of FACT UK, who is known for his international experience in the FBI Academy and also served as Interpol’s Head of Economic Crime.
The UK’s agency would carry out a number of checks, including open-source checks, on-the-ground assessments, and a review of the sanctions list. It will also provide forensic investigation and security verification.
According to reports, Vanuatu’s system will be emphasized to ensure that only credible applications are granted citizenship, and that each investor’s application would be scrutinized extensively. The applications will also be subjected to a thorough examination in order to prevent security, reputational risk, and financial crime.
The due diligence service provider will evaluate each and every resource to ensure that the international community’s protection and security, as well as Vanuatu’s, are not jeopardized.
All citizens who have been awarded citizenship in the last six years will be subjected to thorough due diligence checks (since 2015). Only credible applications will be granted, while the remainder will be denied, since the service provider will keep a watch on each one.
After the European Commission, or EU Commission, criticised Vanuatu’s economic citizenship program, this key decision was implemented. Vanuatu’s passports issued after May 2015 were later declared invalid, and its nationals were no longer allowed to travel freely across Europe.
The procedure will be carried out using a multi-layered method including a number of additional organizations, including authorised agents, CBI units, law enforcement and intelligence agencies, as well as an independent due diligence business.
The government will conduct a full evaluation of the program and rewrite it to bring the protocols in line with internationally recognised norms.
The CBI offerings would be revamped by the newly selected Marketing Service Provider, CS Global Partners, a reputable marketing firm based in the UK, to advise and assist the government.
“We are excited about a step we’ve taken to improve the application and verification process for the country’s Citizenship Investment program.” “We took this move following a lengthy process of onboarding strategies partners,” the official said, adding, “We will ensure that the nation’s’ security and safety are not jeopardised while providing citizenship to the candidates.” We’re doing everything we can to improve our ability to award citizenship.”
The value of the Citizenship by Investment Program has been recognized by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). According to the report, the program contributes to nearly half of the country’s revenue.
In addition, after receiving technical help from the Council of Europe through the Global Action on Cybercrime Extended (GLACY+) project in 2018, Vanuatu’s Parliament passed the first Cybercrime Act. The project’s major goal was to align Vanuatu’s legislation with international best practices in the field.