The World Citizenship Council proposes major policy changes to government on the citizenship by investment programs to preserve its visa waiver agreement with the European Union and protect the free movement of all the citizens.
The European commission has proposed full visa waiver suspension regard to all citizens of Vanuatu holding an ordinary passport issued by Vanuatu as of 25 May 2015. The decision will now be published in the Official Journal and will apply as from 4 February 2023.
We encourage Government of Vanuatu to engage a dialogue through diplomatic channels and work towards overturning the visa waiver ban.
The European Commission has said that based on careful monitoring and assessment of Vanuatu’s investor citizenship schemes, the EU has concluded that they present serious deficiencies which could pose a risk to the EU, notably due to:
- the extremely low rejection rate, which raises doubts as to the reliability of the security and due diligence screening;
- the absence of physical presence or residence requirements, short processing periods and a lack of information exchange with applicants’ countries of origin or residence;
- the granting of citizenship to applicants listed in Interpol databases;
- the nationalities of origin of successful applicants, which include several countries whose nationals require a visa to enter the EU.
As a non-profit organization, the following policy changes we propose to strengthen the Vanuatu CBI program are:
- Admit only applicants who have had schengen visa issued (thus already passed the security checks done by european commission);
- Blanket ban on applicants under EU blacklist and sanctions ban (eg. Iran, North Korea etc);
- Appoint atleast three international due diligence firms for vetting (internationally renowned firms). A list available here;
- Apply enhanced due diligence checks on High risk and PEPs;
- Refuse applications who have criminal record or wanted by Interpol;
- Reduce validity of passport issued to 5 years (and do second vetting upon passport renewal to prevent abuse);
- All family members must go through additional due diligence checks (charge additional fee)
- Impose genuine link ties to the country;
- Impose short residence requires and visiting the country;
- Remove confusion and operate only one donation program;
- Train compliance officers with screening and background checks;
- Seek advice and cooperation with other countries operating CBI program (eg. Malta is well known gold standard vetting);
- Improve refusal rates who fail security checks;
- Authorized Agents who promote Vanuatu CBI must be vetted properly for their background. Registration of authorized agents must be properly screened for professional qualifications, experience and business integrity;
- Rules for promotion and marketing of CBI program must be published;
- Engage a dialogue with agents and internationally recognized migration council and feedback from law.
- Propose Vanuatu Government to take Steps to rectify the EU ban on visa free entry to EU countries;
- State the importance of revenue generated from sale of Citizenship Program is to the Vanuatu nation; and its reputation as well;
- List a brief overview of such Citizenship programs offered by other countries (or the top 10);
- Tough governance policy to be taken by the Vanuatu government is required to reinstate Vanuatu’s Citizenship Program;
- Registration of authorized agents must be properly screened for professional qualifications, experience and business integrity;
- Vanuatu Government should establish a independent Registration Board of Migration Agents with very strict monitoring and governance adherence;
- One Master Agent proposal is not advisable as it would discourage the competitiveness on quality of service, fee charges, performance, and anti-corruption practices;
- Feed back from Pacific Island Region business experts such as G8 Consultants indicate that the fees scale and categories need to be reviewed and be structured to target the areas where the revenue is to be applied;
- A proper protocol be established with the help of experienced advisors to detail the time factors for the processing, documentation authentication, background checks, review & recommendation, and issue of decision notice;
- New citizenships should only be granted under this category and published in Government Gazette only after grantee has legally met the laws of their original country where dual citizenship is not recognized;
- Experts have recommended that the new visa categories in particular should include: digital normal visa, economic zone visa, and retiree visa;
- New and effective security system using advance technology such as facial recognition and embedded code should be adopted for processing, verification, and delivery of documents.
About World Citizenship Council
World Citizenship Council (WCC) is a non-profit organization launched in 2018 for research, development and promotion of the citizenship/ residency schemes throughout the world. The Council aims to focus on key areas, such as, due diligence and new technologies such as blockchain and will help countries with these issues. Other issues such as migration, job creation, refugees, taxation and dual citizenship will be on the forefront. The Council key areas of work will be to help countries with investment based migration schemes bringing benefits to the economy and creation of more jobs.