The Republic of Vanuatu’ is a small country on the edge of the South Pacific Ocean, with roughly 80 islands and a 1,300-kilometer coastline. The country has been hit hard by global pandemic and natural disasters, resulting in a slowing growth rate and a looming budget imbalance. The importance of an economic citizenship programme in the island-based nation has been agreed upon by the International Monetary Fund. The citizenship programme, in particular, accounts for 50% of the country’s revenue.
Meanwhile, the government has taken appropriate steps to examine the Program’s operation to guarantee that it will aid Vanuatu’s economic growth while also providing security and safety to overseas populations in a variety of settings. In addition, while assessing its risks, the government intends to take decisive action by implementing more strong due diligence and efficient citizenship procedures.
The European Commission has denounced Vanuatu’s citizenship by investment programme and proposed to suspend visa-free travel agreement owing to its inter-governmental due diligence of applications. The EU Commission proposed their decision on 12 January 2022.
According to the European Union executive, the country’s vetting procedure was deemed dangerous and lacked application screening.
Following the backlash by the European Commission, the government of Vanuatu has decided to upgrade its regulations for due diligence procedures and conducting strict vetting of all applicants who got their Vanuatu economic citizenship after May 2015,
Meanwhile, the Vanuatu government has issued a press release stating, “We are aiming to increase their due diligence for applicants’ application and verification processes. We are now awarding an exclusive contract to ‘FACT’ for the purpose of analysing and assuring the completion of the due diligence procedure. The organisation will ensure that those who sought for and were granted economic citizenship after 2015 are eligible to go through the ‘FACT’ procedures and investigations.
FACT is a UK-based organisation that employs more than 150 FBI, Scotland Yard, and Interpol agents. They are effective and knowledgeable in verifying and examining applicants’ information both online and in person, guaranteeing that all candidates must meet the standards.
The ‘FACT’ is one of the most well-known global due diligence firms, with a reputation for providing high-quality due diligence services. Kieron Sharp, the organization’s Chief Executive Officer, has vast expertise and has been trained by the FBI Academy. In addition, he has led a highly competent team as the Head of Economic Crime at Interpol.
The Vanuatu government has recognised and welcomed the latest appointment as the first step in thoroughly assessing CBI applications.
Furthermore, ‘FACT’ UK has promised comprehensive checks, adequate coverage of sanctions lists, open-source evaluations, and on-the-ground assessments. It also claims to take the lead in areas such as intellectual property protection, intelligence, and computer forensics, as well as forensic inspection and security verification.
Meanwhile, the Vanuatu government has promised that sufficient due diligence will be carried out to guarantee that only relevant and trustworthy candidates are granted citizenship. As a result, each applicant must pass a thorough security check, as well as a financial crime and reputational risk assessment. Vanuatu’s authorities have also stated that no resources will be left unattended throughout the due diligence process to protect the island’s and the international community’s safety and security. The government also intends to conduct comprehensive due diligence checks on all candidates, particularly those granted citizenship after 2015, to ensure that only trustworthy applicants are authorised. If an applicant fails to meet the requirements for completing the due diligence process, their citizenship will very certainly be withdrawn.
Furthermore, the country is committed to a multi-layered approach involving a variety of institutions, including government-authorized agents, Citizenship by Investment Units, an independent due diligence business, law enforcement and intelligence agencies, as well as partner governments.
Furthermore, it brings the Program in line with internationally acknowledged standards by conducting a comprehensive evaluation and re-establishing its processes. The Government of Vanuatu recently selected CS Global Partners as a Marketing Service Provider to assist and advise the Government in reconsidering and redesigning the essential modifications to be made to the CBI offering Program.
“We are pleased to highlight the substantial measures we have done as a nation to strengthen the application and verification procedure of our CBI Program,” the government officials continued. We look forward to rebuilding our CBI Program to be extremely renowned and known globally after a thorough selection process of enrolling strategic partners.”
“We place a high importance on the safety and security of all nations, and we will not compromise on security inspections of applicants seeking to become citizens of Vanuatu.”