News by Government of Vanuatu: Recognizing the significance of due diligence, the government of Vanuatu announced major changes to its Citizenship by Investment Programme (CBI) on Friday.
The administration added in the press release that it is taking crucial steps to review and re-evaluate the programme’s structure from due diligence and marketing point of view. As per the government, the new changes will offer protection and security to the international community.
With this, the government has decided to adopt a more streamlined citizenship process and rigid due diligence. Following this decision, the government has formally signed a pact with, for the first time, an international due diligence service provider, FACT, UK’s streamed due diligence agency.
FACT, known to be one of the first leading global due diligence agencies, will provide robust due diligence service. Reportedly the highly qualified team would be led by the CEO of FACT UK, Kieron Sharp, who is known for his international experience in the FBI Academy and also acted as Head of economic crime at Interpol.
UK’s agency would conduct extensive checks, including open-source checks, on-ground assessments and the sanctions list. It will also provide security verification, along with forensic investigation.
Reportedly, Vanuatu’s procedure will be emphasized to ensure that only reputable applications can obtain citizenship, and for the same, the application of each investor will verify closely. The applications will also undergo a careful audit to mitigate any security, reputational risks and financial crime.
The due diligence service provider will investigate each and every resource to make sure that the protection and security of the international community along with Vanuatu are not sidelined.
Rigorous due diligence checks will be conducted on all the citizens who have been granted the citizenship in last six years (since 2015). The service provider will keep an eye on each application, and only reputable applications will be approved, and the rest will be rejected.
This major decision was implemented after the European Commission, or EU Commission, condemned Vanuatu’s economic citizenship programme. Later, Vanuatu’s passports, granted after May 2015, were declared invalid, and those citizens were not allowed to travel across the European countries visa-free.
The country will conduct the procedure with the help of a multi-layered approach, which will involve several other organizations, such as authorized agents, CBI units, law enforcement and intelligence agencies, and an independent due diligence firm.
The program will be thoroughly reviewed by the government and will be re-drafted, bringing the protocols in line with the internationally accepted standards.
To advise and assist the government, the CBI offers would be redesigned by the newly appointed Marketing Service Provider, CS Global Partners– A leading marketing company based in the UK.
“We are looking forward towards a step that we have taken to strengthen the application and verification procedure of the country’s Citizenship Investment programme. We have taken this step after a lengthy process of on-boarding strategies partners,” the official said, adding, “We will make sure that the security and safety of the nations are not compromised while granting citizenship to the applicants. We are attempting our best to raise the capabilities to grant citizenship.”
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) acknowledged the importance of the Citizenship by Investment Programme. It cited that the programme helps to generate about 50 percent of the country’s revenue.
Besides this, the first Cybercrime Act was passed by Vanuatu’s Parliament after the technical assistance received in the year 2018 from the Council of Europe via the Global Action on Cybercrime Extended (GLACY+) project. The main aim behind the project was to blend Vanuatu’s legislation with the international standards in the field.