The following is an interview between Mohammed Asaria, Managing Director of Range Developments, and Vanguard.
Q: Your organisation is known for the development and completion of luxury and high-end resorts under Citizenship-by-Investment Programmes. What exactly is Citizenship-by-Investment Programmes all about?
A: The concept is very simple: in return for a real estate investment or a contribution to government, an investor is allowed to apply for citizenship of a country. If successful, they become eligible for many of the benefits that follow, including visa-free travel to many worldwide destinations, access to a tax-efficient jurisdiction, and much more. In the case of our most recent development, the Six Senses in Grenada, economic citizens of Grenada may invest and reside in the USA through availing Grenada’s E2 treaty with the USA
Q: Under this programme, it is said that a person or investor can legally acquire a new nationality in return for an investment in the economy of the host country. Can you throw more light on this?
A: That is true. And even better than that, if an investor becomes a citizen of Grenada they can then apply for an E2 visa for the United States. This allows citizens of Grenada to live in the US. Grenada is the only citizenship by investment jurisdiction in the Caribbean that extends this benefit to its economic citizens.
Q: On the issues of security and financial crimes, what is your take?
A: There is a strict due diligence process that every applicant needs to undergo. These are in-depth and independent. To the best of our knowledge no known criminal has ever succeeded in applying for second citizenship.
Q: our company has grown to become the leading Citizenship-by-Investment developer. What would you say is responsible for this feat?
A: Hard work, smart thinking, a good team and preparation. Also, we take our responsibilities very seriously. For our staff and shareholders, we want to continue to have a thriving business. For our investors, we want to be sure that they receive what they are due. And for the inhabitants of the island where we are building, we want to provide jobs, sustainable projects and honour our promises.
Q: How can citizenship status be conferred on someone without causing any major disruptions to an investor’s life?
A: The application process is now quite streamlined. For an investment in a country such as Grenada, the application takes up to four months. The subsequent USA E2 application takes from two or three months. There is no need to reside or visit Grenada before the award of citizenship. There is a process an investor needs to go through.
Q: What will you say is responsible for the higher concentration of such a programme in the Caribbean and how can Africa benefit?
A: Through its history and its membership of the Commonwealth, the Caribbean is ideally poised to benefit from the Citizenship-by-Investment industry. In Grenada’s case, the ability for its citizens to invest and reside in the United States stemmed from the treaty of trade and commerce entered into after the US invaded Grenada in 1983. Grenada is unique in providing US access to its citizens among Caribbean CBI countries.
Many African investors are investing in the Caribbean islands and availing second citizenship. This is a growing treat and provides Africans with travel benefits across UK, Europe, Russia and beyond. Moreover, Grenada provides Africans the ability to access the US economy and grow their businesses.
Q: What are the many benefits of participating in the programmes?
A: As an antidote to uncertainty, a Citizenship-by-Investment programme allows investor mobility, security, and access to education for their children as well as tax-friendly regimes. This is also in Grenada’s case with the ability to invest and reside in the United States.
Q: How can Nigeria benefit considering that the country is considered the fastest growing economy in Africa?
A: Any successful investor should have a policy of diversification. Not only is a real estate investment a good idea but in many cases, it is the only way for Nigerians to live and work in the United States. Due to the recent suspension of L1, H1B visas for all foreigners and a temporary ban of EB5 visas to Nigerians by the US government, one of the only ways to move to the US is through applying for an E2 visa. This is where Grenada is unique.
Q: How do you think that the US visa ban will affect Nigerians who want a second passport?
A: Due to the recent suspension of L1, H1B visas for all foreigners and a temporary ban of EB5 visas to Nigerians by the US government, one of the only ways to move to the US is through applying for an E2 visa. This is where Grenada is unique. It has catalysed the demand for Grenada citizenship by investment
Q: What is the application process for interested Nigerians?
A: Grenada has emerged as the leading CBI option due to its multiple benefits and access to the USA E2 visa. Citizenship of Grenada may be obtained cost-effectively within 90 days following a detailed due diligence process on the applicant. This is also a cost effective-jurisdiction in comparison with the range of other existing citizenship programmes. We have an experienced team that can assist and hands hold investors through the whole application process. Indeed, there is no need for an applicant to visit or reside in Grenada to obtain citizenship. The application process is fully digitized.
Q: At what stage is the Range Development property in Grenada?
A: Construction has begun and is scheduled to be complete by Q4 2022.
Q: What’s the role of the Government of Grenada in this project and how much are they backing it?
A: Grenada wants to encourage investment, create jobs, and bring tourists to the island. All these criteria are met by the Six Senses La Sagesse, Grenada, which will be Range Development’s third development in the Caribbean. It will comprise 100 rooms spread over 28 acres. Six Senses has been named as the number one hotel brand globally for the past three years by Travel and Leisure Magazine. Its construction is funded in part through Citizenship-by- Investment. Demand for the Grenada offering has been buoyed by the recent changes in US immigration law.