Citizenship and Immigration

AAA

Immigration and Citizenship

SFAI Barrett and Partners Vanuatu provides immigration services. AAA Citizenship & Immigration Services is a division of the SFAI B&P Vanuatu Group and will assist you with obtaining Citizenship, which include, by Naturalization, Investment or Real Estate Investment options.

New Residency Applications


There are four categories under which foreigners are eligible to apply for residency in Vanuatu. They are:

  • Foreign Investor
  • Land Owner
  • Employee
  • Self-funded Investor (or retiree)

Citizenship


We offer a full range of citizenship services subject to your circumstances.


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Strata Title Services

Strata Title legislation was passed in the August 2000. SFAI Barrett and Partners is able to assist in all aspects of work related to obtaining and managing strata titles over leases and the body corporate management through the Strataworld Pacific division.

Strataworld Pacific


Strataworld Pacific is a division of SFAI Barrett and Partners specifically established for clients who are seeking a high quality, consistent body corporate management service along with providing conveyancing and land related services.


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Industry Expertise

With such a long history, the firm possesses an extensive knowledge of local regulations, legislation and methods and enjoys close working relationships with the various government ministries, departments and authorities. The firm is well placed to provide valuable guidance and introductions to new investors, who can often be baffled by the myriad of unfamiliar customs and procedures!

Our firm was instrumental in the registration of the first strata titles to be lodged in Vanuatu in February 2005 with Breakas Beach Estate followed by Iririki Island in April 2005.

Since then, strata title has certainly taken off in Vanuatu, with major projects already registered, including Erakor Island Resort and Lapita Plantation Resort (Aore Island, Santo). The trend looks set to continue as high-end development spreads beyond the Port Vila area.

Strataworld Pacific is well versed in Body Corporate Management having been responsible for the establishment and management of the largest established body corporate in Vanuatu to date with 146 lot owners. As such, we are well able to answer your questions in relation to strata title and body corporate.

Strata Title

Property Purchase in Vanuatu


Strata title purchase is slightly different from the standard transfer of a leasehold title. With strata, transfers are of Lots and fall under the Strata Titles Act which do not require signed consents by the custom owner/government for either transfer or any mortgage. This enables for a quicker transfer.

Our firm is able to assist with your property settlement and to attend to the stamping and registration required to complete the transfer process in an efficient manner.

Value Added Tax (VAT)

VAT is 15% and is similar to GST in both Australia and New Zealand. As a potential buyer of a property comprising a Strata Title in Vanuatu we would like to direct your attention to the following VAT matters:

Purchase for Investment

All sales of strata units for investment (where the unit remains as a commercial business) can be treated as a going concern.  This means VAT is charged at a rate of 0% on the purchase. A written agreement between the seller and the purchaser must be provided.  Every person who purchases an investment unit will be required to register for VAT.  Both parties need to be VAT registered at the time of purchase to enable the 0% VAT rate to apply.

Regular VAT returns will be required to be submitted from then on.

If in the future you decide to use the unit for your personal use and it is no longer available as a commercial unit, then VAT at 15% on the current market price will be required to be paid to the VAT office along with applying for VAT de-registration.

Pooling Agreement

If you enter into a pooling agreement, the Agent, who collects all the rental income for the pool, is able to group owners and lodge VAT returns on the group’s behalf. Nomination of the agent to the VAT office in writing is required for the grouping to take effect.

Letting Agreement

Under a letting agreement the purchasers will be responsible for lodging their own VAT returns.  The Agent may however agree to act on purchaser’s behalf and group owners and lodge Group VAT returns.

Purchase for Personal Use

Properties purchased for residential use will be subject to VAT of 15% on the purchase price.   This then ceases the VAT liability and no further VAT is payable on future sales.

“Stay in” periods

As part of an agreement with the VAT office, investors that come under a pooling or letting agreement have two periods of 7 days each year in which the owner is entitled to use the investment unit for business related matters.  This could for example be for attending the AGM.  During these periods all VAT paid on expenses directly related to the running of the unit such as water and electricity will be considered as part of the business and can be claimed back through the VAT return. Proper tax invoices will be required to be submitted in order to do so. VAT paid on “personal” expenses during or after the allowed 7 days period cannot be claimed.

The owner can stay for longer than these two “stay in” periods of 7 days but VAT will not be eligible to be claimed on expenses incurred outside the designated times.

Body Corporate

If the Body Corporate of the strata plan earns more than VT4M a year it must register for VAT.  If the Body Corporate is VAT registered then it must charge VAT on its body corporate levies.

The owners of properties under the pooling or letting agreement will claim this VAT on the levies back through their VAT returns, which in turn could be completed by the Agent.

Conclusion

We understand this can be a lot to digest and we are more than happy to go through points raised above in more detail with you if needed.

Strata title is gaining more momentum in Vanuatu and is usually easily understood by overseas investors.  It is similar to structures in both Australia and New Zealand

Contact us

For more information on the services that SFAI Barrett and Partners can assist you with, please contact us.


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Trustees International

Trust Services

In addition to operating a traditional accounting practice, providing audit, consulting, insolvency and management services, the firm also provides trustee services, as well as funds and portfolio management to its expanding group of overseas-based clients. Such services are carried out by Trustees International Limited, the Firm’s licensed trust company.

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Trustees International Limited


In addition to operating a traditional accounting practice, providing audit, consulting, insolvency and management services, the firm also provides trustee services, as well as funds and portfolio management to its expanding group of overseas-based clients. Such services are carried out by Trustees International Limited, the Firm’s licensed trust company.


  • Provision of nominee directors, secretary and shareholders
  • Provision of registered office and registered agent
  • Provision of trustee services
  • Executorship and testamentary administration
  • Funds Management

Trust companies offer a variety of services, but the most common is wealth management in the mode of becoming a fiduciary or agent. Trust companies offer asset-management services such as bill pay, cheque writing and other features. Trust companies also offer brokerage services with a wide array of investments available to their clients. Depending on the level of service needed, some companies can build financial plans for their clients for additional fees. Trust companies also offer a variety of estate-oriented services, such as guardianship, estate settlement and non-financial asset management.

There are 3 parties to a Trust.

barrett and partners management

The Settlor

  1. the person who entrusts this obligation to the Trustee by way of assets which can be cash, property etc to hold and administer according to the terms of the Trust Deed. Once this property is transferred to the Trustee;
  2. no longer has any legal ownership. It becomes the Trust property and separate and insulated from the Settlor’s or the Trustee’s personal property and cannot be attacked by creditors of the Trustee or Settlor.

The Trustee

  1. holds legal title to the Trust property subject to the terms of the Trust;
  2. has no equitable rights over the Trust property and owes fiduciary duties to the beneficiaries of the Trust;
  3. is accountable to the Beneficiaries;
  4. is not accountable to the original Settlor and owes no fiduciary obligations.

The Beneficiaries

  1. have no legal rights to the Trust assets, but have equitable rights to the Trust property to enjoy the benefits of the Trust assets according to the Trust Deed.
  2. Any act or neglect on the part of the Trustee not authorized or excused by the terms of the trust or by law is called a Breach of Trust.
  3. The beneficiaries, not the Settlor, have the legal right to enforce the Trust or take legal action against the Trustee for breach of Trust.

Trust property can be cash, property, assets etc. Shares in companies can be considered as assets. A popular use of Trust structures in the offshore world is for the Trust structure to hold or manage an offshore corporation engaged in international activities. A Settlor may wish to maintain control over trust assets indirectly after having passed legal ownership of assets to a Trustee.

The Settlor can be appointed as the director of the international company, to manage the affairs of the company. In many cases this is useful, as in a family business built up over the years by the Settlor. The Settlor would be the best qualified person to continue running and managing the company successfully.

Licencing and Permits

Living, working, trading or setting up a business in Vanuatu needs a combination of licenses and permits. SFAI Barrett and Partners’ expert team can concisely guide and assist with requirements, applications, submissions, annual renewals and compliance.

Considering the vast assortment of such compliance applications, we have documentation for the more commonly requested licenses and permits on our website.

VFIPA – Vanuatu Foreign Investment Promotion Agency


Any foreign investor or company who wishes to invest in Vanuatu is required to obtain an investment approval certificate including relevant permits and licenses. The Vanuatu Foreign Investment Act provides the framework for investors wishing to establish a new, or purchase an existing business in Vanuatu.

The Act was introduced in order to streamline the investment approval process and allow the Vanuatu Foreign Investment Promotion Authority (VFIPA) to act as a central source by not only authorising investment proposals, but also work and residency permits, business licenses and other issues relating to each project and the business license category that is required.

To apply for investment in Vanuatu a standard application form must be completed by the potential investor which includes details of the intended form of business (i.e. local company, partnership or sole proprietorship) and the nature of the project.

A detailed business plan must be submitted with the application incorporating the following information:

  • cash flow and profitability projections for three years
  • details of work and residency permits required
  • clear training plan for Vanuatu citizens

SFAI Barrett and Partners has developed a close and mutually beneficial working relationship with the government and the VFIPA and we can assist with all aspects of your foreign investment application.

Business Licence


A business licence is necessary for all businesses operated in Vanuatu. Business licences must be renewed annually and are valid for the period of the calendar year. The annual cost of a business licence depends upon the category of licence (type of business) applied for and pro rated where the business commences after January.

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Work Permits


A work permit, or an exemption from the need to hold a work permit, is required by all non-citizens who work in Vanuatu.

A work permit may be granted for an expatriate to be employed on a contract by an employer in an occupation where there are not enough qualified Ni-Vanuatu available. To be eligible the position must be advertised locally and reasons must be given why an application by a citizen has been refused.


Financial Dealer Licenses


Some businesses providing financial services, may require a securities license. We can help to determine which license is right for you.


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Corporate Services

Incorporating international or local companies and business valuations are just some of the corporate services SFAI Barrett and Partners Vanuatu offer.

International Company Incorporation


International Companies (IC’s) are ideal for those who wish to have a company registered in Vanuatu, but do not do any business within Vanuatu. IC’s are not permitted to do business within Vanuatu.

The process to incorporate an international company is relatively simple and can usually be completed within 48 hours following receipt and submission of the required information and supporting documentation.

International Clocks
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Local Company Incorporation


Local Companies are permitted to do business both within and outside of Vanuatu. A Local Company take approximately 48 hours to incorporate once the application is lodged with the Vanuatu Financial Services Commission (VFSC).

Local companies need only one shareholder (resident or non-resident), and at least one natural person who ordinarily resides in Vanuatu, acting as director. This information is available to the public. We can provide the service of nominee shareholders if required and this is included in our annual representation fee. Declarations of Trust are executed to link the beneficial owners to the company. It is also possible to set up a Trust to act as the beneficial owner of the company.

Trust Formations


A certain level of confidentiality can be obtained by inserting a trust within the company structure. The trust would be used to hold the shares in the company.


Business Valuation


We offer a full range of Business Valuation services subject to your needs.


Strata Title Services


We are able to assist in all aspects related to obtaining and managing Strata Titles.


Accounting and Audit

Service

SFAI Barrett and Partners Vanuatu provide audit services, implementation and training for Xero and MYOB, and other invaluable accounting services such as business valuations, insolvency and business recovery. For more information take a look below.

Audit


The firm, as a consequence of its origins, applies the concepts adopted by the larger international accounting firms. This ensures that:

  • Proper planning, management and review procedures are observed
  • An appropriate analysis of risk areas are made and a thorough understanding of the client’s business is obtained
  • Rigorous analytical review and management evaluation are performed
  • Constructive reporting to management is provided.
  • Our auditing methodology and application is tailored to the industry and to the size of the client to ensure that we provide an efficient and effective service.


Accounting


Our firm has a team experienced in all facets of accounting from simple cash book maintenance to advance management reporting. We can assist with:

  • Data processing on monthly or quarterly basis
  • Preparation of monthly management reports
  • Review of monthly accounts to ensure things are on track throughout the year, avoiding any surprises at year end
  • VAT returns – preparation and lodgement or simply review and consult with you. We can also provide support during VAT audits
  • Implementation of accounting processes to improve internal operations
  • Training of staff on data input, bank reconciliations, payroll, etc.

Implentation of and training for Xero and MYOB

We are easily able to handle the implementation of most popular accounting and recording systems available for business today. MYOB is recognised as the market leader and is multi-award winning in Australia. The firm can provide installation, training, and on-going support for MYOB in Vanuatu with our certified MYOB staff member. Similarly, the firm now has experience with installing, training, and providing on-going support for Xero, a cloud-based accounting software developed for small and medium-sized businesses. It is currently used in over 180 countries, and is only becoming more popular.

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We help with

Insolvency and Business Recovery


The firm has been a principal provider of insolvency services, by way of receiverships and liquidations. However, we like to actively promote alternative measures to allow for business recovery or the effective marketing of assets and to avoid, where possible, forced sales.


Business Valuation


We offer a full range of Business Valuation services subject to your needs.

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