Bahrain to offer long-term golden permanent residency visa to attract talent

In order to qualify for the residency visa, an applicant should have resided in the kingdom for at least five years and should earn an average salary of at least $5,306 per month

A picture taken on December 3, 2020, shows the world trade centre (R) and the skyline of the Bahraini capital Manama. (Photo by GIUSEPPE CACACE / AFP)
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Bahrain's Cabinet on Monday approved a new visa that will grant long-term residency to selected foreigners as the country seeks to attract talent and boost its economy.

The Golden Residency Visa is part of the country's economic recovery plan and was approved following a memorandum submitted by the Minister of Interior, Bahrain News Agency said.

The visa will provide the holder the right to work in Bahrain, residency benefits for a spouse and other close family members and unlimited entry and exit to the country.

The visa will increase "the competitiveness of the Kingdom of Bahrain, supporting development paths across various economic, investment and service sectors, attracting talent and opening the opportunity to obtain and benefit from permanent residency in the Kingdom of Bahrain", the agency reported.

To qualify for the visa, an applicant should have resided in Bahrain for five years and must earn an average salary of at least 2,000 Bahraini dinars ($5,306) per month.

Residents and non-residents who own property worth 200,000 dinars or more, retirees with an income of 4,000 dinars and highly talented individuals are also eligible for the visa, the Ministry of Interior said.

The visa will be renewed every 10 years if the holder meets the eligibility requirements.

Bahrain last year unveiled details of an economic plan that aimed to invest nearly $30 billion in strategic projects to fuel post-pandemic growth, boost employment for citizens and attract foreign investment. The island kingdom aims to create more than 20,000 jobs for citizens annually until 2024 and plans to attract $2.5bn in foreign direct investment by the end of next year.

The country also increased VAT to 10 per cent, a move that would help it balance its budget by 2024.

Bahrain's economy is estimated to have shrunk by 5.4 per cent in 2020, driven by a sharp contraction in non-oil output, according to the International Monetary Fund.

The country, the smallest within the six-member GCC economic bloc, was expected to expand its economy by 3.3 per cent in 2021 owing to its quick policy response to minimise the effects of the pandemic, the IMF said.

Bahrain's move follows similar steps by other Gulf countries that have offered permanent residency through different visas.

The UAE unveiled its golden visa scheme in 2019 in a bid to attract skilled workers while allowing talented professionals to stay for the longer term within the country. It has since expanded to provide various options, including a green visa that would provide investors or businessmen with more benefits for sponsoring family members.

Saudi Arabia too said it would grant long-term residency visas to foreigners with "outstanding capabilities" and in "rare specialities" to bolster its economic growth, Saudi Press Agency reported at the time.

Updated: February 08, 2022, 9:20 AM