UAE: GCC countries witness rise in citizenship and residency through investment programs

As published on: economymiddleeast.com, Thursday 15 February, 2024. 

In recent years, Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states have witnessed a surge in interest and exponential growth from individuals seeking residency and citizenship through investment. These countries include the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman and, most recently, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Such programs offer individuals and entrepreneurs the chance to acquire residency and citizenship by investing in the economies of these states in various ways. 

The criteria by which GCC countries enable individuals to apply and qualify for these programs may vary slightly in terms of investment requirements. These encompass the amount, nature of the investment, and the associated benefits received. 

UAE’s efforts

The GCC nations have spearheaded the introduction of innovative programs. Residency and citizenship through investment programs in the UAE, including the Golden Visa, enable applicants to qualify through real estate investments, business establishment or investment in relevant financial assets. Depending on the chosen investment, criteria may vary in terms of amounts. However, they typically involve a minimum investment requirement. They also entail the submission of identification documents and proof of financial stability by the applicant. 

The Golden Visa in the UAE has created opportunities for expatriates to secure longer-term residency. It has also been granting them access to the benefits of living in the UAE. This can be achieved through investing in real estate, a thriving sector in the country. Another option is establishing or expanding business operations in the UAE. This empowers them to contribute to the nation’s economic growth, making them eligible for residency. Typically, a minimum investment of AED10 million is required among various capital investment options. 

More GCC citizenship and residency programs

The residency through investment program has also been implemented in Qatar. The purpose is to attract foreign investment and entrepreneurs. The Qatar Permanent Residency Permit allows investors to attain residency status through real estate investments. The eligibility criteria for this residency permit, like other investment visas, involve specific financial requirements. 

Successful applicants for Qatar’s residency permit through investment will gain access to various benefits. Still, it’s contingent upon the investment amount. To obtain residency without sponsorship, a $200,000 property investment is necessary. If the property value exceeds $1,000,000, investors will qualify for permanent residency benefits. These include healthcare, education in government institutions and the opportunity to invest in sectors of the national economy. 

The introduction of the Bahrain Permanent Residency Permit empowers investors to significantly contribute to the country’s economy. The requirements mirror those outlined for Qatar’s residency program, allowing investors to participate in real estate, business, or government bond investments to qualify. 

This residency program allows expatriates to operate securely within Bahrain’s expanding business environment. The investments they make further enhance the country’s economy. It aligns with Bahrain’s aspirations to become a prominent financial hub in the region. 

Read: How to get a permanent residency visa in UAE in 2024

Oman, Saudi Arabia follow suit

Recently, Oman introduced its residency through investment program. The goal is to stimulate its economy and attract foreign investments. The Oman Investment Residency program allows investors to obtain residency by investing in businesses, real estate, or government bonds in Oman. As is customary for such programs, meeting minimum investment requirements and demonstrating financial capability are essential prerequisites for applying for this residency permit. 

The latest addition to the GCC’s residency and citizenship offerings for investors is Saudi Arabia’s introduction of new Premium Residency Visas. These visas are obtainable through five different classifications. These include investment. The new package specifies that investors can attain residency status through an investment of SAR7 million. 

The residency and citizenship investment programs available in the GCC to expatriates offer benefits to both individuals and the economies in which they invest. Foreign investment in the economy fosters economic growth and diversification, reducing dependency on oil revenue. Expatriate investments, through business establishment, stimulate various economic sectors and industries. They thereby diversifying the economy and promoting overall economic growth. 

Catalyzing economic growth

The establishment of new companies through residency and citizenship programs generates employment opportunities. The resulting job creation not only attracts individuals to the country but also provides internal job opportunities for local talent. The expansion of these businesses enhances the hiring environment and strengthens the job and talent pools. 

An influx of entrepreneurs, businesses and investors into the GCC nations often leads to the introduction of new innovations and technologies. The additional innovation and technology within the country are expected to improve overall competitiveness at an international level. 

The implementation of investment residency programs in the GCC reflects the region’s focus on diversifying their economies into non-oil activities, leveraging foreign investment and expatriates. These initiatives offer expatriate investors the opportunity to establish themselves in the region and contribute to the local economy. As these programs evolve and extend to more nations, it is evident that the GCC is solidifying its position as a global hub for innovation and business. Therefore, residency programs are creating a mutually beneficial offering for both parties. 


UAE GCC Citizenship Residency CIP

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