An extensive National Investment Policy is managed by the Bahamas Investment Authority (BIA), a body resident in the Office of the Prime Minister and composed of highly skilled and competent professionals.

Every investor’s proposal must go before the BIA which will look for certain key components, including background information on investors, financial capability to complete the proposed project, a thorough business plan, basic information about all proposed shareholders, total capital investment and the source of those funds.

All foreign direct investments must be approved by the Bahamas Investment Authority. (www.bahamas.gov.bs)

It is the responsibility of the BIA to scrutinize all proposals placed before the government and to review for all components, including compatibility with national development goals and ensuring that the reputations of the persons submitting the plan forward are of clean record. During this stage, BIA may seek further information and evidence of financial capability and will work closely with the law firm representing the proposed investor. The BIA plays an important role in determining the appropriateness of investment proposals, sensitive to the reality that an incomplete project particularly in real estate development, may be more destructive to the environment and to a community than the absence of such a start.

Once a proposal receives the approval of the BIA, it goes before the National Economic Council headed by the Prime Minister for further review and decision. The National Economic Council is actually made up of the Cabinet which sits in its separate capacity to review business plans and proposals in the files presented to it with the BIA’s recommendations. Of special interest is employment opportunities.

Certain areas are targeted for foreign investors and other areas are reserved for Bahamians, though in recent years reserved areas have been shrinking while the invitation to non-Bahamian investors has expanded. Night clubs and restaurants, for instance, except those in resorts, were reserved for Bahamians for many years but are now being considered on a one-by-one basis. Partnerships and joint ventures are becoming more accepted in touristic retail. A full list of areas targeted for foreign investors and those reserved for Bahamians is available on the government’s comprehensive website www.bahamas.gov.bs. It is important to note that all submissions also invite the scrutiny of The Central Bank, the financial regulator in The Bahamas.

Once an investment is approved, that investment may entitle the investor to certain privilege. An investment of a minimum of $500,000 entitles the investor to annual residency and that investment may be in a single-family home. Larger investments in industrial, resort, manufacturing, farming or other projects also entitles the investing entity to a certain number of work permits for skilled persons needed to conduct the specific business or enterprise.

The law firm will guide investors through the many steps and for those whose investment is a single family residence, help simplify the process, eliminating the need for BIA approval which is not required for a first purchase. Condo hotel, interval vacation ownership and other first time purchases are also exempted from BIA review.

 

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