In an announcement earlier this week, the Sultanate of Oman said that it would be offering foreign investors either 5- or 10-year residency permits from September 2021.
With the country grappling with the economic decline exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and record low oil prices, the new residency programme will enable Oman to diversify its economy and alleviate rising debt.
Known as the Investment Residency Programme (IRP), this initiative will offer applicants two routes to residency, including real estate and commercial investment. However, it has not yet been announced the exact investment requirements needed to qualify.
The IRP is designed to attract high quality foreign direct investment, which will bolster economic growth in the country by helping to create jobs. A statement from the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Investment Promotion also highlighted the following sectors that are expected to benefit from the programme. These include tourism, mining, logistics, agriculture, fisheries, education, health and information technology.
The move comes as other countries in the region adopt similar initiatives to attract much-needed revenue. Most notably, the United Arab Emirates has also implemented a Golden Visa that enables foreign investors to reside in the country for a long-term basis and also offers citizenship to select individuals – as decided by UAE royals and officials.
The Gulf is not the only region that offers attractive investment routes in exchange for citizenship and/or residency. Traditionally, high net-worth investors in the GCC have looked to the Caribbean in search of affordable, accessible and straightforward paths for citizenship. The Caribbean is renowned for pioneering the Citizenship by Investment Programme, an initiative that has been replicated in places like Europe and Asia.
With decades of experience in the industry, countries like Dominica and St Kitts and Nevis have long been popular options for Middle Eastern investors looking for a trusted product with a quick turnaround rate. Investors who successfully pass the due diligence process usually acquire receipt of citizenship within two to three months.