Oman will soon unveil a scheme that seeks to provide long-stay residency visas to people who invest in the country, according to local media reports that quoted information from the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Investment Promotion.
Details of the new Investor Residence programme will be unveiled soon, the reports said.
The programme will offer a residency visa of five to 10 years to non-citizens wishing to invest or reside in Oman and the permit can be renewed after expiry.
These long-stay visas are part of the government’s efforts to enhance the country’s investment environment, according to the ministry. Upon obtaining residency, investors will also be provided further incentives and benefits. Details about the investment required to obtain such visas were not revealed.
Oman has taken a number of measures in the past to reduce its reliance on hydrocarbons and attract more foreign investment.
In April this year, the sultanate introduced 5 per cent VAT, which will help it generate about 400 million Omani rials ($1 billion) in revenue annually. This is equal to 1.5 per cent of the total value of gross domestic product.
In November last year, Oman opened up its real estate market to foreign investors further by allowing them access to a wider selection of residential properties as part of reforms aimed at improving the country’s fiscal position. Non-GCC citizens could previously buy property in Oman, but only within integrated tourism complexes.
Oman’s latest residency programme aims to attract and promote qualitative investments that contribute to the growth of the country’s GDP and support the national economy, the reports said, quoting the ministry.
The move also seeks to boost localisation of industries, transfer of advanced technologies and modern techniques, and promotion of economic diversification.
The ministry has developed indicators to evaluate the effectiveness of the programme and to measure its financial and economic impact. These include calculating the number of new foreign investment companies setting up operations in Oman, the volume of foreign investment coming into the country and the new employment opportunities created as a result of this investment scheme, according to the ministry.
Investors can submit their visa application through the Investment Services Centre on the ministry’s website.
Oman’s economy is projected to grow by 2.5 per cent this year, as the accelerated Covid-19 vaccination drive fuels a recovery in domestic activity, the International Monetary Fund said on September 12.
The sultanate also adopted various fiscal measures over the past year to support the economy during the pandemic, including interest-free emergency loans, tax and fee reductions and waivers, the flexibility to pay taxes in instalments and a Job Security Fund to support citizens who lost their jobs.