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British government refutes Turks and Caicos economic citizenship claim
Published on April 18, 2014 Email To Friend    Print Version

By Caribbean News Now contributor

PROVIDENCIALES, Turks and Caicos Islands -- Britain’s Home Office has refuted a claim by promoters of a resort in the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) that investors are eligible to apply for a British Overseas Territory Citizen passport, thereby enabling the holder to reside in the UK.

In a press release on Monday entitled “Eligibility for British Overseas Territory Citizen passport ... with Turks and Caicos resort project”, Asia Pacific Investment House claimed that “Investors in Caicos Beach Club Resort and Marina are eligible to apply for a permanent residency certificate and British Overseas Territory Citizen passport, enabling the holder to reside in the UK, making this a highly coveted investment opportunity.”

However, according to Tom Lawrence, at the Home Office Communications Directorate in London:

• Eligibility for British Overseas Territory Citizenship ((BOTC) is governed by the British Nationality Act 1981. Citizenship is granted by the governor of the territory and Overseas Territories are not able to grant BOTC status other than in accordance with that Act.

• Residency and other requirements for BOTC status apply, so anyone who has not lived lawfully in the territory for a number of years is unlikely to qualify.

• Criteria for the grant of BOT Citizenship include residence requirements, a good character requirement and an intention to make the principal home within the relevant territory.

• Generally, the residency requirements are for a minimum of five years residence immediately preceding the application, during which total absences must not exceed 450 days with a maximum of 90 days absence in the last year. The applicant must not have been in breach of immigration rules at any time during those five years and the last year of residence must have been free of any immigration control.

• BOTCs do not have the right of abode in the UK unless they later become British citizens.

“There is no direct route to BOTC and the investor will have to meet the eligibility requirements as noted,” Neil Smith, the TCI governor's spokesman, confirmed.

Asia Pacific Investment House, which describes itself as “a leading venture capital company, registered in the offshore regime of the British Virgin Islands, with its operating HQ in Singapore’s financial district”, did not respond to requests for comment.

It is not known at this time if the British and/or TCI authorities will take action in relation to these apparently false claims targeting uninformed investors.
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