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September 20, 2021

Following the UAE’s recent unveiling of residency by investment, the Sultanate of Oman has announced a move to also offering foreigners renewable 5 or 10-year residency visas.

Up until now, foreigners living in the GCC countries, including Oman, have utilised renewable visas which are tied to their employment and only valid for a few years.

However, with lowering regional oil prices, GCC countries are keen to retain overseas residents to help contribute to the economies.

And this is especially true of Oman, which is not only cash-strapped having been hit hard by the pandemic but is the weakest financially in the GCC region and is currently lagging when it comes to diversifying from its reliance on oil. Oman needs overseas investment to boost its revenue and needs foreigners, which generally make up over 40% of its population, but which has been falling since 2018.

Unveiled by Oman’s Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Investment Promotion, the Investors’ Residency Programme is aimed at “backing up the investment environment in the Sultanate and enticing typical investments, creating job opportunities, and supporting the domestic economy with feasible projects compatible with Oman Vision 2040 goals”.

Oman’s Investors’ Residency Programme

Effective from September 2021, Oman’s residency by investment programme grants foreign investors as well as retirees the right to reside for long periods in Oman.

Those foreign investors who make real estate and commercial investments in Oman will be able to obtain either a 5 or 10-year renewable long-term residency visas to foreign investors who contribute to vital sectors of the local economy, including tourism, real estate, education, health, information and technology, though eligibility criteria has not yet been set.

UAE introduced a raft of residency reforms

This comes off the back of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) having introduced a raft of reforms to its residency programme in order to lure foreign talent in order to accelerate its economic and social reforms and rebrand the country in a post-pandemic, non oil-buying world.

Earlier this year, the UAE announced a reformed residency programme that would grant 5 and 10-year residency visas to certain professionals and degree holders who make investments in the Emirates.

More recently, the country has unveiled Green Visas giving foreign skilled workers more flexibility by allowing them to apply for work within the UAE without being sponsored by an employer and allowing parents to sponsor their children’s visas up to the age of 25.