Pioneers Investors – Oman has announced a new Investment Residency Programme (IRP) for expats that it will launch in September 2021. with the aim of attracting investments, at a time when the oil state, which is seeking to diversify its economy, faces financial difficulties in parallel with a rise in cases of the Corona virus.
The Gulf Sultanate, which aspires to consolidate its position as a tourist destination, has witnessed an economic decline for months against the backdrop of closures related to the Corona virus and the decline in crude oil prices in 2020.
And last month, dozens of unemployed people demonstrated in the Sultanate to demand jobs, in a rare move in the country that witnessed, in the midst of the Arab Spring events in 2011, a protest movement to demand reforms.
The Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Investment Promotion announced on Wednesday the launch of the “Investor Residence” program, which grants foreign investors and retirees the right to long stay in the Sultanate, to be activated during next September.
A statement by the ministry stressed that the program “aims to facilitate granting residency to investors wishing to invest in the Sultanate so that the residency period is 5 or 10 years, subject to renewal (…) in addition to supporting integrative efforts to enhance the investment environment in the Sultanate and attract quality investments.”
In April 2020, Oman ordered the state sectors to speed up the process of replacing foreign employees with Omani citizens, especially in senior positions, to secure more job opportunities for its citizens.
The Ministry of Finance has given the public sector until July 2021 to set timetables for appointing Omanis, including to managerial positions.
Foreigners make up more than 40 percent of Oman’s population of 4.6 million and have played a major role in building and developing the Gulf state for decades.
Oman has been seeking to diversify its oil-dependent economy since the plunge in crude prices seven years ago.
Tourism has always been an alternative lifeline in the Gulf Sultanate, which has a rich heritage, coastlines stretching over thousands of kilometers, and a mountainous geography unique in the region.
The announcement of the long-term residency comes at a time when the Sultanate is struggling to stop the spread of the Corona virus, amid an increase in infections. Oman has recorded more than 255,000 cases of the virus, including about 2,800 deaths.
This month, the authorities were forced to close public places and commercial activities and prevent the movement of people and vehicles at night.