With the aim of strengthening the Russian economy and creating new jobs, Russia’s Economic Development Ministry has put forward a draft bill for a residency by investment programme, which would allow foreigners to invest in the country via various routes in exchange for permanent residency.
According to Moscow’s Izvestia news site, the proposed bill, which is yet to be implemented, would allow foreigners to acquire residency permits of Russia upon the fulfilment of one of five conditions, including a minimum investment of at least 10 million rubles (US$130,000) and the hiring of at least 10 Russian workers. To gain residency via the investment route of property or government bonds, a minimum investment of at least 30 million rubles (US$390,000) would be required.
Similar residency by investment programmes in Europe, such as in Portugal and Greece, give foreigners residency rights (including EU access) via property investment for as little as €250,000. And they also give the option of applying for citizenship after five and seven years, respectively, whereas Russia’s draft legislation for its RBI Programme doesn’t include eventual citizenship.
Mikhail Babich, the deputy head of Russia’s Ministry of Economic Development stated: “The granting of a residence permit should be an incentive for foreign citizens interested in investing in our economy, but not create false preconditions for obtaining a migration status.”
According to the draft bill, other conditions for eligibility to the programme would include applicants needing to pass a Russian language test.
According to the draft bill, in exchange for investment in Russia, foreigners will be given permanent residency rights similar to that of Russian citizens.
This means they will be able to use all the social services, may work in the country without needing to obtain permission, and can take advantage of the tax benefits. The individual income rate in Russia is a maximum of just 15%, and just 6% for small businesses. They can also enter and leave Russia without a vis, use Russia’s visa-free schemes with other countries, and start businesses and buy property with less red tape.
The draft bill comes at a time when the Russian government, like many others, is searching for initiatives to attract foreigners to its soil. And with the country this year dropping its requirement for foreigners to renounce their old citizenship to become Russian, it seems likely the country is more open to foreign residency rights and investment.
Watch this space.