Exciting New Inward Investment Scheme
The Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) has just enacted a revamped investor residency programme, entitling successful applicants to a permanent residence certificate (PRC).
The qualifying criteria are:-
a. Investment of not less than $300,000 in actual construction of a new home, or in renovation of a distressed property as a home for the applicant and his or her dependants, on the islands of Grand Turk, Salt Cay, South Caicos, Middle Caicos or North Caicos; or
b. Investment of not less than $1,000,000 in actual construction of a new home or renovation of a distressed property as a home for the applicant and his or her dependants in any of the other islands.
Businesses and Enterprises
c. Investment of not less than $750,000 in cash in a business or enterprise in Grand Turk, Salt Cay, South Caicos, Middle Caicos or North Caicos which business generates employment for persons in TCI of which not less than 60% are TCI nationals or permanent residents; or
d. Investment of not less than $1,500,000 in cash in a business or enterprise in one of the other islands which business generates employment for persons in TCI of which not less than 60% are TCI nationals or permanent residents.
PRCs issued in category (a) or (b) do not confer any right to work. Those in category (c) or (d) come with the right to work in the business or enterprise concerned.
An investor wishing to take advantage of the programme can gain assurance in advance as to the granting of his PRC by applying in writing to the Governor for an undertaking that on production of satisfactory evidence that the relevant investment has been made by or before the expiry date of the undertaking, the Governor will, on payment of the prescribed fee, grant the person the relevant PRC.
Evidence of Investment
In the case of villas, evidence of the required investment shall include (i) a certificate of occupancy issued under the Physical Planning Ordinance and (ii) a certificate from a TCI quantity surveyor that of the value of the construction of the completed villa meets the minimum investment threshold.
In the case of applications based on investment in a business or enterprise, the evidence of investment shall include (i) audited financial statements of the business or enterprise and (ii) a certificate from the Commissioner of Labour confirming details of the employment of non-work permit holders that have been generated as a result of the investment.
The Governor is to establish a quota to restrict the number of PRCs that can be granted under the scheme. In any event the number of such PRCs that can be issued within the first 12 months after the coming into force of the regulations is not to exceed 200.
Each such PRC carries a once-off fee of $25,000 of which $1,500 shall be a non-refundable administrative fee. The PRC can be endorsed with the names of the spouse and dependants of the holder on payment of an additional fee of $200 per spouse or dependant.
The new scheme is designed to attract foreign direct investment to TCI in a manner which will generate local employment whilst at the same time enabling a would-be investor to get assurance ahead of time that provided that he/she makes the investment concerned, the PRC applied for will be forthcoming.
No Direct Taxes
Aside from TCI's attractiveness as one of the world's leading luxury tourism destinations, the absence of direct taxation provides an added attraction for those interested in acquiring investment residency.
Moreover, under the terms of the British Nationality Act, someone who has a PRC in TCI, and who has been ordinarily resident in TCI for five years, is eligible for naturalization as a British Overseas Territory Citizen (BOTC) and to receive a BOTC passport.
Existing year-to-year and 10-year residency programmes are not affected and remain available.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.