The Corporate Immigration Review: Grenada
Introduction to the immigration framework
The territory of Grenada consist of three islands: Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique. Grenada was granted independence from Britain in 1974 and is part of the Commonwealth of Nations. Grenada is an English-speaking country situated in the southernmost part of the Caribbean region between the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean in a tropical climate with an average temperature of 30 degrees Celsius. Grenada is 133 square miles in area and has a population of approximately 110,000.
International and regional migration to Grenada has always been the foundation of the nation's populace, either through work permits, residency, parental citizenship or foreign direct investment. A Grenada passport allows visa-free travel to over 143 countries, including Brazil, China, Hong Kong, Russia, the Schengen Area, Singapore and the United Kingdom.
Grenada allows individuals to hold dual citizenship, and citizenship may be extended to family members, such as a spouse, dependent children and grandchildren.
i Legislation and policy
The immigration framework is governed by the following laws:
- Constitution of Grenada 1973;
- Aliens (Land Holding Regulation) Act, Chapter 13 of the 2010 Edition of the Continuous Revised Laws of Grenada, as amended (the Aliens Land Holding Act);
- Caribbean Community Skilled Nationals Act, Chapter 39B of the 2010 Edition of the Continuous Revised Laws of Grenada (the Caribbean Community Skilled Nationals Act);
- Citizenship Act, Chapter 54 of the 2010 Edition of the Continuous Revised Laws of Grenada, as amended (the Citizenship Act);
- Employment Act, Chapter 89 of the 2010 Edition of the Continuous Revised Laws of Grenada, as amended (the Employment Act);
- Foreign Nationals and Commonwealth Citizens (Employment) Act, Chapter 115 of the 2010 Edition of the Continuous Revised Laws of Grenada, as amended (the Foreign Nationals and Commonwealth Citizens Act);
- Immigration Act, Chapter 145 of the 2010 Edition of the Continuous Revised Laws of Grenada, as amended (the Immigration Act);
- Passports Act, Chapter 226 of the 2010 Edition of the Continuous Revised Laws of Grenada, as amended (the Passports Act);
- Grenada Citizenship by Investment Act, No. 15 of 2013, as amended (the Citizenship by Investment Act 2013).
Entry into Grenada
The Grenada Immigration and Passport Department is an extension of the Royal Grenada Police Force, with responsibility for administrating the state's affairs in the exercise of control of movement of people (nationals and non-nationals) in and out of Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique as a matter of national security at the 11 ports of entry.
Entry via any port in Grenada (of which there are two airports and nine seaports) is regulated by the Immigration Act, which stipulates that all persons except for Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) nationals must, upon entry into Grenada, produce a valid passport to the immigration authorities. Citizens of the United Kingdom, the United States and Canada are also exempted from producing a valid passport upon entry, as long as they possess a valid return ticket to their country of origin and are visiting Grenada for a period not exceeding six months; they must also make a declaration in the form set out in the Schedule to the Regulations.
Pursuant to the Immigration Act, citizens from OECS Member States2 can enter Grenada with a state-issued driving licence, national identification card, voter registration card or social security card for travel.
Some foreign nationals require a visa to enter the country under the Immigration Act. Types of visas issued prior or upon entry to Grenada are multiple-entry visas, valid for one year, and single-entry visas.3 Single-entry visas cost US$40 while multiple-entry visas are US$100. To obtain a visa, an applicant must submit a completed application form, flight itinerary, a copy of his or her passport and a letter explaining the purpose of his or her visit. If necessary, additional documents may be requested.
An applicant must pay the applicable fees to the Inland Revenue department of Grenada and submit a payment receipt and required documents to the immigration authorities at [email protected] The following countries require visas to enter Grenada:
- Asia-Pacific: China, Indonesia, Laos, Mongolia, Nepal, North Korea, Pakistan, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam;
- The Caribbean: the Dominican Republic and Haiti;
- Central America: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua and Panama;
- Middle East: Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Saudi Arabia, South Yemen, Syria, United Arab Emirates and Yemen;
- South America: Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay; and
- Rwanda, San Marino, Serbia and Montenegro, and Turkey.
Duties at port of entry
Section 9 of the Immigration Act outlines the duties of persons at ports of entry in Grenada as follows:
- No person shall enter Grenada except at a port of entry.
- A person entering Grenada by sea shall not disembark without the consent of an immigration officer, and the master of a ship shall not allow any person to disembark without such consent.
- Every person entering Grenada by air shall forthwith present himself or herself in person to the nearest immigration officer.
- Every person entering Grenada shall, if required by an immigration officer:
- make and sign the prescribed declaration; and
- submit to examination by a medical practitioner.
- A person who contravenes, or fails or refuses to comply with, any of the provisions of the preceding subsections of this section, when entering Grenada, shall be deemed to be a prohibited alien and may be dealt with as such.
- An immigration officer may grant a permit for a person to disembark without prejudice to the question of whether he or she is a prohibited alien.4
Section 24 of the Immigration Act regulates the criteria for a person applying for permanent residence:
- Subject to the provisions of this Act, the Minister may grant a permit of permanent residence to any person who applies for the same in the prescribed manner and who:
- is of good character; and
- in his or her application, has stated his or her intention to reside permanently in Grenada.
- Where a permit of permanent residence is granted to a person under this section the Minister may then, or on subsequent application by the person, endorse the permit to relate also to any one or more of his or her dependants.5
The following are the requirements for obtaining permanent residence:
- one application for permanent residence form to be completed and signed;
- four passport-sized photographs certified by a justice of the peace or notary public;
- reference letter from a reputable person in country of birth or residence;
- reference letter from a reputable person in Grenada;
- police certificate of character from country of origin (which must be dated within six months of application);
- police certificate of character from Grenada (which must be dated within six months of application);
- original and one photocopy of birth certificate (if the name does not appear on the copy and the original birth certificate, an affidavit is required);
- letter stating date of arrival in Grenada, purpose of visit, the activities engaged in and reason why applicant would like to acquire permanent residence status;
- current immunisation card; and
- security check fee of 275 Eastern Caribbean dollars applicable on submission of application.
If permanent residence is granted, foreign residents are entitled to reside in Grenada but still require a work permit to work. Permanent residence entitles a person to reside in Grenada; however, that person is restricted from working in Grenada without a work permit.
Revocation of permit of permanent residence
Pursuant to the provisions of the Immigration Act, the government minister with responsibility for immigration has the discretion to revoke the permanent residence permit if the person granted permanent residence fails to adhere to the law.
Section 25 of the Immigration Act states:
- The Minister may, by order in writing, revoke a permit of permanent residence or any endorsement thereon on the grounds that the person to whom it relates:
- subsequent to the grant of such permit has been ordinarily resident outside Grenada continuously for a period of three years;
- has in any country been imprisoned for a criminal offence for one year or more;
- has so conducted himself or herself that in the opinion of the Minister it is not in the public interest that he or she should continue to enjoy the privileges conferred by the permit;
- or being the wife of the person to whom it was granted:
- has commenced to live apart from her husband under a decree of a competent court or under a deed of separation, or
- has ceased to be married to her husband by reason of dissolution or annulment of marriage.
- No order shall be made by the Minister in exercise of the power conferred by subsection 1 unless the person against whom the order is proposed to be made has first been given a notice in writing of the grounds on which it is proposed to be made and has been afforded an opportunity to be heard.6
Foreign nationals and Commonwealth Citizens Act
Work permits are required for all persons intending to work in Grenada except citizens of Grenada and persons exempt pursuant to Section 3 of the Caribbean Community Skilled Nationals Act.
- Requirement to have, and not to employ any individual who has not, a valid work permit
(1) Subject to this section and to the Caribbean Community Skilled Nationals Act, Chapter 39B, an individual who is a foreign national or a Commonwealth citizen shall not engage in any occupation for reward or profit, or engage in or be employed in Grenada in the manifestation or propagation of any religion or belief in religious worship, teaching, practice or observance, unless there is in force in relation to him or her a valid work permit and unless he or she so engages or is so employed in accordance with the conditions specified in his or her work permit.
(2) Subject to the Caribbean Community Skilled Nationals Act, Chapter 39B, no person shall have in his or her employment a foreign national or Commonwealth citizen unless there is in force in relation to him or her in that employment a valid work permit or an Order of exemption made by the Minister pursuant to subsection (4).
(3) A person having in his or her employment a foreign national or a Commonwealth citizen without there being in force a valid work permit or Order of exemption as required by subsection (2), and any foreign national or Commonwealth citizen who is engaged or employed in contravention of subsection (1), shall be guilty of an offence and liable, on summary conviction, to a fine of five hundred dollars, and in default of payment to imprisonment for six months and, in the case of a continuing offence, to a further fine of five hundred dollars for each day upon which the offence continues and to imprisonment for six months.
(4) Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions of this section, the Minister may, by Order, exempt any individual or class of individuals from the requirements of subsection (1) either unconditionally or subject to conditions specified in the Order.
(5) In criminal proceedings instituted pursuant to this section it shall be presumed that the accused or, as the case may be, the alleged employee is a foreign national or Commonwealth citizen unless the contrary is proved by the defence.7
It is also at the discretion of the minister of government with the responsibility for granting work permits, under the provisions of the Foreign Nationals and Commonwealth Citizens Act, to permit a person skilled in an area not readily available in Grenada to apply for and be granted a work permit.
The following are the requirements for obtaining a work permit:
- completed, signed and dated application forms or, in the case of companies, forms are to be signed and sealed by a director of the company;
- four passport-sized photographs (2" x 2.2") of international standard (the name of the applicant must be written on the back of the photographs);
- police record or clearance;
- certificates of qualification;
- a character reference from a previous employer or reputable person if the applicant has no previous employment;
- a letter from the prospective employer addressed to the Minister for Labour, through the Permanent Secretary of the Department of Labour;
- a copy of the certificate of incorporation of a company or the business registration certificate;
- the resumé of the applicant;
- a copy of the page with the applicant's photograph and details from his or her passport and the page detailing the most recent date of arrival in Grenada;
- recent tax compliance and value added tax receipts;
- a network and information systems compliance certificate; and
- the previous work permit must be submitted in cases of renewal or change of employer.
Aliens Land Holding Act
A person classified as a non-national of Grenada who wishes to invest in Grenada, outside the requirements stipulated by the Citizenship by Investment Act, requires an alien landholding licence, which regulates the investment.
The requirements for being granted an alien landholding licence are stipulated in Section 4(1) of the Aliens Land Holding Act and are as follows:
- bank reference letter (addressed to the Permanent Secretary);
- two character references (addressed to the Permanent Secretary);
- police character references for the applicant from the country in which the applicant has most recently resided for a period of at least 20 years (where it is not usual for the police to provide certificates of character, the police must provide a letter to that effect) (valid only for six months);
- three completed alien landholding application forms;
- an employment letter or statement of employment (if retired, letters are not applicable); and
- a copy of the page in the passport with the applicant's photograph and details.
Once granted an alien landholding licence, that person is entitled to reside within Grenada and occupy the property, with the legal requirement to report to the Immigration Authority within a minimum of every three months up to a maximum six months until an application is made for permanent residence and citizenship. An application for alien landholding is generally processed within a 90-day period. For a person who was granted an alien landholding licence to work within Grenada, a work permit will be required to seek employment.
Citizenship Act and Constitution of Grenada
Section 98 of the Grenada Constitution stipulates that:
any person who is married to a citizen of Grenada or who has been married to a person who was, during the subsistence of the marriage, a citizen of Grenada shall be entitled, upon making application in such a manner as may be prescribed by or under a law enacted by Parliament, and if he is a British protected person or an alien taking the oath of allegiance, to be registered as a citizen of Grenada.8
Children born outside Grenada under the age of 18 to persons not born in Grenada but who acquired citizenship through one of the aforementioned means can apply for and may be granted citizenship of Grenada. Children born to persons born within the jurisdiction of Grenada may apply for Grenada citizenship at any age as they are subject to no restrictions. Descendants of a citizen of Grenada can also apply to be granted citizenship.
Citizenship by Investment Act
In 2013, Grenada introduced legislation regulating economic citizenship for persons wishing to apply to become citizens of Grenada. The Citizenship by Investment Act makes provision for persons to acquire citizenship by investing in one of the following:
- National Transformation Fund: US$150,000 for single applicants into the National Transformation Fund; or US$200,000 for a family of four applicants into the National Transformation Fund;
- approved projects: a minimum investment of US$350,000 for a family of four; and minimum investment of US$220,000 through co-ownership of a single unit by two or more main applicants; and
- significant investments: a minimum investment of US$5 million into developing a project of considerable benefit to the Grenadian economy that will create continuous employment opportunities for Grenadian citizens.
A main applicant applying for citizenship in Grenada via the Citizenship by Investment Act, can include as a dependent on the application, siblings of the main applicant who are unmarried and without children. In addition, there is no requirement to show proof of financial dependency for parents and grandparents of the main applicant, who are dependants.
The application process for citizenship via the Citizenship by Investment Act is fast and efficient, taking approximately three months, and there is no requirement for an applicant to visit Grenada prior to the granting of citizenship.
iv Exemptions and favoured industries
As a developing nation, Grenada has an emergent economy with potential for further economic growth, experiencing an annual growth rate of three percent of its gross domestic product. In recognition of Grenada's growth potential, in 1985 through the enactment of the Grenada Industrial Development Corporation Act, the Grenada Industrial Development Corporation (GIDC) was established to be the national investment agency in Grenada.
GIDC is the main statutory body established by the government of Grenada whose main purpose was to stimulate, facilitate and boost the development of industries.
While the GIDC does not provide exemptions for the immigration rules as provided for by the laws of Grenada, the GIDC provides services to foreign investors, including acting as a 'liaison' service between potential investors and the government by assisting them to obtain work permits, alien land holding licences, land development and building permits, land leases, or such approvals or documentation as are necessary for carrying out business in Grenada.
Additionally Grenada offers a wide range of investment opportunities and the GIDC provides favourable investment incentives in key industry areas for business immigrants looking to start up business in Grenada. These incentive areas include:
- information communication technologies: software development, data processing, research and technical writing services, customer and technical support services, electronic publishing and computer-aided design;
- health and education services: retirement homes, hospitals, medical facilities, sporting facilities, spas, rehabilitation services, technical and vocational training services, schools, and colleges and universities;
- tourism and hospitality services: water sports facilities, recreational facilities, restaurants, hotels and villas, condominiums, marinas and attractions;
- agribusiness: poultry products, horticulture, aquaculture, agro-processing, organic farming, animal breeding, rums, wines and liquors, fruit and vegetable juices, apiculture, herb and spice farming, honey and honey products; and
- energy development: alternative energy (wind, solar and geothermal) and oil and natural gas refining.
International treaty obligations
As regards immigration and employment-related matters, Grenada is a signatory to two regional treaties, the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramus and the Revised Treaty of Basseterre, as well as several fundamental International Labour Organization (ILO) treaties, tax information exchange agreements (TIEAs) and double-tax conventions (DTCs) as of August 2014. Grenada is not a signatory to any of the UN treaties on refugees and stateless persons.
i Regional treaties
Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas
On 5 July 2001, Grenada signed the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas that establishes the Caribbean Community, including the Single Market and Economy (CSME). This treaty provides for the free movement of persons, goods, services and capital within the CSME.
The Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM) is an amalgamation of 15 Caribbean nations and dependencies, whose main aim is to encourage economic growth, integration and cooperation among its Member States.
Citizens of CARICOM signatory states are considered to be CARICOM nationals and include nationals of Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, The Bahamas, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Montserrat, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago.
Further, Article 32.5(A) of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas establishes that:
a person is also regarded as a national of a Member State not only by being a citizen of that state but if he/she has a connection with the State of a kind which entitles him/her to be regarded as belonging to or being a native or resident of the State for the purpose of the laws thereof relating to immigration.
In 1989, at the Grande Anse Declaration and Work Programme for the Advancement of the Integration Movement, held at Grand Anse, Grenada (under the tutelage of the heads of government of CARICOM Member States), the CSME was founded. This was given effect through the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas of 2001. The key elements of the CSME include:
- free movement of goods and services;
- right of establishment;
- common external tariff;
- free circulation;
- free movement of capital;
- a common trade policy; and
- free movement of skills and labour.
Under the CSME, the following workers are eligible for the free movement of skills:
- university graduates;
- holders of associate degrees or equivalent qualifications;
- household domestics with a CVQ or equivalent qualification;
- artisans with CVQ qualifications;
- media workers;
- musicians; and
The free movement of skills and labour entails the right to seek employment in a Member State and the elimination of the need for work permits and permits of authorisation.
However, while the right to unfettered movement exists, an important aspect of moving to another CARICOM Member State for work purposes is the need for a Certificate of Recognition of CARICOM Skills Qualification, which can be obtained by a CARICOM national (eligible under one of the defined skill categories) by applying to the ministry responsible for CARICOM affairs in his or her home country.
While CARICOM, under the CSME, allows for the free movement of skills and labour for the purposes of gainful economic activity as a wage earner or non-wage earner across CARICOM Member States, no such right to free movement exists regarding free movement across Member States solely for the purposes of residency, citizenship or naturalisation.
If a CARICOM national wishes to migrate from one Member State to another, he or she must still apply for residency or citizenship, subject to the residency or citizenship requirements of the intended country.
Revised Treaty of Basseterre
On 20 January 2011 Grenada signed the Revised Treaty of Basseterre establishing the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Economic Union. This treaty provides for the free movement of persons, goods, services and capital within the OECS.
ii International treaties
Grenada has ratified the following ILO treaties:
- Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining Convention 1949 (No. 98) (9 July 1979);
- Forced Labour Convention 1930 (No. 29) (9 July 1979);
- Migration for Employment Convention (Revised) 1949 (No. 97) (9 July 1979);
- Abolition of Forced Labour Convention 1957 (No. 105) (9 July 1979);
- Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise Convention 1948 (No. 87) (25 October 1994);
- Equal Remuneration Convention 1951 (No. 100) (25 October 1994);
- Discrimination (Employment and Occupation) Convention 1958 (No. 111) (14 May 2003);
- Minimum Age Convention 1973 (No. 138) (14 May 2003); and
- Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention 1999 (No. 182) (14 May 2003).
Grenada has also ratified treaties concerning transparency and exchange of information for tax purposes. The island's network of exchange of information arrangements comprises 19 bilateral agreements. Seventeen of these are covered by TIEAs (Aruba, Australia, Belgium, Denmark, Faroe Islands, Finland, France, Germany, Greenland, Iceland, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States and two by DTCs (South Africa and Switzerland).9
E-2 visa treaty
In March 1989, the government of Grenada entered into a bilateral treaty with the United States whereby, subject to the granting of E-2 visa status, citizens of Grenada would be eligible to enter and work in the United States on the basis that the grantee will be controlling an investment while in the country. The E-2 visa is valid for three months to five years and can be extended indefinitely. Grenada is the only country in the world offering a citizenship by investment programme with an E-2 visa treaty.
The year in review
In 2018, the Grenada Passport Office introduced the new CARICOM and Carribean Community Grenada e-passports and electronic permanent residence cards.
There is no official sponsorship programme in Grenada. If an employer intends to employ a non-national, the employer will be responsible for making the requisite application for a work permit.
Investors, skilled migrants and entrepreneurs
There are three avenues for those wishing to engage in self-employed activities or establishing a business: economic citizenship via the Grenada Citizenship by Investment programme; acquisition of a work permit; and the right of establishment as provided for in Article 32 of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas and adopted into local law via the Caribbean Community (Movement of Factors) Act, the Caribbean Community Skilled Nationals Act and the CARICOM Enterprises Act. The OECS also has a right of establishment regime; however, it has not yet been fully implemented.
The right of establishment means that a national of a CARICOM Member State has the right to:
- engage in any non-wage-earning activities of a commercial, industrial, agricultural, professional or artisanal nature; and
- create and manage economic enterprises, which include any type of organisation for the production of or trade in goods or the provision of services owned or controlled by a national or business entity of a Member State in any Member State.
The effect of this is that CARICOM nationals are free to establish or set up business enterprises without discrimination based on nationality.
Upon entry to the island, a CARICOM national will be required to present the requisite documents to the immigration officers, including:
- a valid passport;
- proof of financial resources for personal maintenance, such as cash, traveller's cheques or credit cards; and
- a return ticket.
Under the CSME, a CARICOM national is entitled to a six-month stay in any Member State.10
1 Sam M Bayat is the senior resident lawyer at Bayat Legal Services and Margaret Wilkinson is a senior partner at Wilkinson Wilkinson & Wilkinson.
2 The Member States of the OECS are Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Anguilla and Montserrat.
3 In the case of a single-entry visa, a single-entry applicant must arrive in the state within three months of the issuance.
4 Section 9, Immigration Act, Chapter 145 of the 2010 Edition of the Continuous Revised Laws of Grenada.
5 Section 24, Immigration Act, Chapter 145 of the 2010 Edition of the Continuous Revised Laws of Grenada.
6 Section 25, Immigration Act Chapter 145 of the 2010 Edition of the Continuous Revised Laws of Grenada.
7 Section 3, Foreign National and Commonwealth Citizens Act Chapter 145 of the 2010 Edition of the Continuous Revised Laws of Grenada.
8 Section 98, Grenada Constitution 1973.
9 www.keepeek.com/Digital-Asset-Management/oecd/taxation/global-forum-on-transparency-and-exchange-of-information-for-tax-purposes-peer-reviews-grenada-2014_9789264223035-en#.VTfraCFVikp#page9 (last accessed on 13 April 2018).
10 The Right of Establishment, a publication of the Caribbean Community Secretariat 2010.