12 Feb 2014

Vanuatu aiming at raising millions by fast-tracking passport applicants

2:58 pm on 12 February 2014

The new programme in Vanuatu to raise government revenue by selling citizenship is aiming to collect millions through a fast-track option.

The Capital Investment Immigration Plan, based in Hong Kong and managed by a statutory body under the finance ministry, is aiming at earning 98.5 million US dollars from the first 500 applicants.

John Stephens Tougon, who is managing the programme, says each applicant will pay 300,000 US dollars up-front, with 260,000 being invested on their behalf for seven years.

But he says the first 500 applicants can waive 50 percent of that investment, and pay it straight to the government, so they can get their passport within a month, rather than wait three years.

"If we manage to get 500 applicants going through a quick mode, which is allowed by law, then we should be hitting about 9.5 billion vatu for the government. It's a revenue initiative - the government is putting all of its hopes and trust in the CIIP so we've said OK if that's what you wanted we could try a fast-track mode and a normal mode so it's up to the person to decide."

John Stephens Tougon.