On Monday, the Bahraini Cabinet approved offering a golden residency visa to some foreigners in order to attract residents, investors and talented people, as part of the kingdom’s plan to boost its economy.
This visa will be “permanent” and renewable indefinitely, and will grant the right to work and residence to family members.
The Bahrain News Agency stated that the visa “will help enhance the competitiveness of the Kingdom of Bahrain and support the development of various sectors, such as the economy, investment and services.”
Bahrain is facing financial pressure despite a $10 billion rescue package pledged by its wealthier neighbors in 2018.
Late last year, the kingdom set plans to double the value-added tax to 10%, the highest rate in the Gulf after Saudi Arabia, in an attempt to boost state revenues and curb one of the largest budget deficits in the region.
Gulf states have long opposed granting permanent residency, despite their reliance on millions of foreign workers, but last year the UAE launched “golden visas” and “green visas” with the aim of attracting and retaining talent. Both Saudi Arabia and Qatar have taken steps towards allowing some expatriates to permanently reside.
According to the Bahrain News Agency, the golden residency holders will be able to issue an enrollment visa to the husband or wife, children, and parents, and they will also have the right to work in Bahrain.
The residency can be renewed for an indefinite period, provided that the person continues to qualify for the golden residency according to the conditions and criteria, which have not yet been announced, and the visa is not associated with a specific age group.
The agency stated that the golden residency is granted to employees or retirees who have resided in the Kingdom for more than 5 consecutive years, and their average monthly salary is 2,000 Bahraini dinars ($5,300) or more during that period.
A group of categories can obtain the golden residency immediately according to the criteria for each category, which includes the following:
1- Real estate owners: To own a property or a group of properties in the Kingdom of Bahrain with a value of no less than 200,000 Bahraini dinars.
2- Retirees: The monthly income is 4,000 Bahraini dinars or more.
3- Talented people who meet the conditions to benefit from the golden residency. The agency indicated that the period of stay in Bahrain must be at least 90 days during one year in order for the residence to remain valid.