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Government issue interim Landholding policy
2 Mar 2007

A press release from the Government press office yesterday shows that they are doing something about the complex issue of considering applications for a Landholding licence (see here for a bit of background detail).

Recognising that the current Ordinance (Immigrants’ Landholding (Restriction) Ordinance) is in need of updating and simplification, they have approved an interim policy that should, for the time being, speed up applications where the circumstances are relatively clear, and where it is ".. in the public interest to grant the application.”

The circumstances that may now be processed more expeditiously are:

In all cases, "the public interest" is paramount (although, there is no definition of this term!)

See the text of the policy below for closer detail. Paragraph 3.2 will no doubt be of interest to potential purchasers of residential property.


The Property Shop


Text of the press release

The Governor in Council, on 23 January 2007, approved an Interim Policy to deal with applications for landholding under the Immigrants’ Landholding (Restriction) Ordinance.

The current Ordinance is, difficult to implement and recently there has been an increase in the number of applications for Immigrants’ Landholding Licences which could allow non-St Helenians to purchase land on the Island. In light of this, the St Helena Government has agreed that clear policies are needed to facilitate consistent and fair decision-making.

The Immigrants’ Landholding (Restriction) Ordinance might need to be updated and the St Helena Government recognises that this could take some time. Work towards a review has commenced already but there are a number of applications that have previously been put on hold and SHG is sure that others will also be lodged.

The Interim Policy, agreed by the Governor in Council, will enable these and other applications to be processed consistently, under the current law and the policy will remain in force until a full review of the existing legislation is carried out.


Text of the policy document

Interim Policy on ILRO Applications

In order to allow work to proceed while longer-term reforms are considered, the following policy will guide the Governor in Council in considering applications under the Immigrants’ Landholding (Restriction) Ordinance:

1. Applications received after 1.1.07 (the date of commencement of the Investment Policy) for the acquisition of freehold or leasehold land in connection with an Approved Investment should generally be granted if the area of land is reasonable in relation to the business proposal;

2. Applications for acquisition of freehold or leasehold land in connection with business development other than Approved Investments should be granted if the area of land is reasonable in relation to the business proposal and the Governor in Council is satisfied:
2.1. that the business proposal has been appropriately researched (likely to involve the prospective investor having made at least one visit to the Island); and
2.2. that it is in the public interest to grant the application;

3. Applications to acquire freehold residential property (except where paragraph 1, 2, or 5 applies) will generally be refused unless the Governor in Council is satisfied either:
3.1. that the applicant(s) has/have St. Helenian Status and intend(s) to make a permanent home in St. Helena; or
3.2. that the applicant(s) (though not [an] Islander[s], nor having St. Helenian Status) has/have a close economic, social or historical connection with the Island; and (in either case) that it is in the public interest to grant the application.

4. Applications to lease or rent residential property will usually be refused except where the applicant has been granted permission to enter and remain in St. Helena under section 16 of the Immigration Control Ordinance and the duration of the lease/rental does not exceed the duration of the permission.

5. Where an interest in land has been inherited, an application by the beneficiary for a licence to be allowed to keep the property will usually be granted unless the circumstances of the particular case make it contrary to the public interest to do so.

6. In all cases, the ultimate test is whether it is or is not in the public interest to grant the application.


(The Property Shop note: ILRO Applications are applications made under the Immigrants' Landholding (Restriction) Ordinance, Cap 68, which was last amended on 30/6/2005)