Investment opportunities in the Middle East 

The rise of the Middle East as a global economic powerhouse, is drawing in wealth managers and investors from around the world.

The rise of the Middle East as a global economic powerhouse, drawing wealth managers and investors from Asia and the world. Embrace the Middle East’s economic transformation and the path to securing permanent residency in these thriving nations. 

The past few decades have seen remarkable economic growth in the Middle East. It has transformed  into a region that is home to some of the wealthiest countries globally.  

A rising number of wealth managers in Asia are strategically establishing offices in the Middle East, such as Dubai and Saudi Arabia. 

This rise is driven by the evolving diplomatic ties between China and the Middle East, coupled with an anticipation of increased demand from clients seeking geographical diversification. 

As a result, the Middle East now draw large numbers of wealthy individuals from various parts of the world. 

Middle East’s Rising Importance

The Middle East has gained significant global attention.  

Factors such as a post-COVID economic rebound, neutral political stance, ease of doing business, favourable time zones, and tax-free status contribute to the region’s allure for wealthy individuals. 

Dubai’s Rise into a Wealth Hub

Dubai, a prominent financial hub in the Gulf region, is gaining favour among entrepreneurs and affluent families in Asia, particularly China.  

Global wealth managers highlight Dubai’s favourable policies, making it an attractive hub for expanding businesses. 

Middle East Investment Opportunities

While Hong Kong and Singapore have traditionally been preferred offshore wealth hubs in Asia. 

Some clients are now seeking diversification into other markets and exploring new investment opportunities, which includes the Middle East. 

Incentives and Initiatives in the Middle East

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) introduced incentives like the ‘golden visa’ system and a ‘family wealth centre’ to assist wealthy individuals and businesses in navigating cultural issues and governance challenges. 

The UAE continues to attract expatriates, with three of its cities ranking in the top 20 of InterNations’s Expat City Ranking for 2023.  

As of December 2023, the UAE hosts 9 million expatriates, emphasising its appeal. There are two types of long-term residency visas offered by the UAE: the Golden Visa and the Green Visa. 

Golden Visa

The UAE’s Golden Residence Visa is a highly sought-after long-term residency option, offering durations of 5 or 10 years based on specific categories.  

It aims to attract high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs), investors, entrepreneurs, specialised talents, researchers, scientists, doctors, and exceptional students to contribute to the UAE’s growth. 

Green Visa 

The UAE’s Green Visa targets skilled employees, freelancers and investors or partners. The duration for the Green Visa is 5 years despite which category has been selected. 

Saudi Arabia’s Residency Programmes

Earlier this year, Saudi Arabia introduced new residency programmes aimed at attracting skilled professionals and investment.  

These residency programmes align with the country’s broader plan to shift its economy away from fossil fuels and foster economic diversification. 

The initiative aims to accelerate Saudi Arabia’s economic transformation by creating job opportunities and facilitating knowledge transfers.  

Vision 2030: Weaning Off Oil Dependency

These residency programmes align with the goals set out in Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s Vision 2030 economic transformation plan.  

Representing a concerted effort to attract foreign direct investment and diversify the Saudi economy.  

The plan involves reducing dependence on oil-related revenues and fostering a more sustainable economic model. 

Tailored Premium Residency Programmes

The five new premium residency programmes are designed to attract professionals in key sectors. These are namely healthcare, sports, and real estate.  

These programmes offer unique privileges. These include the ability to settle in Saudi Arabia, conduct business, own real estate, and obtain work permits for both holders and their family members. 

Qatar’s Permanent Residency Visa

Qatar stands out as one of the world’s fastest-growing economies, primarily fuelled by substantial reserves of natural gas and oil.  

The nation’s robust development has turned it into an attractive investment destination, particularly for commercial, retail, and residential projects.  

Notably, Qatar is known for being a predominantly tax-free country, imposing minimal taxes on business income. 

The country actively encourages investments and permanent residency through various investment options. 

Qatar manages a limited yearly quota for permanent residence, emphasising the importance of early applications.  

Family members must also provide similar documents for the Permanent Residence Card Committee. 

Investment Requirements 

Under Law No. 16 of 2018, applicants must invest a minimum of US$200,000 in real estate to be eligible for permanent residence.  

Certain conditions may grant foreign nationals freehold ownership, subject to confirmation by authorities.