Bahrain has introduced this week a new permanent residency visa in efforts to attract talent and investment to boost economic growth. The Golden Residency Visa, announced by the Interior Ministry, will be renewed indefinitely and includes the right to work in the Gulf nation, unlimited entry and exit, and residency for close family members. A statement said: “(The visa) is aimed at attracting investors, entrepreneurs, and highly talented individuals who can contribute to Bahrain’s ongoing success.” According to the Bahrain news agency, the new visa was announced during the Cabinet session chaired by His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the Crown Prince and Prime Minister, as part of the economic recovery plan. He said that the announcement would reinforce Bahrain’s competitiveness and support the development of various economic, investment, and service sectors. In addition, the visas would also attract talents by giving them permanent residency for themselves and their families. Golden Residency Visa holders will see their visas renewed indefinitely, provided they continue to meet the qualifying criteria.
Criteria for existing residents
- Existing residents must have resided in Bahrain for at least five years and earned an average basic salary of no less than BHD 2,000 ($5,305) per month throughout the five-year period.
Criteria for new residents
- Own one or more properties in Bahrain, valued at no less than BHD 200,000 ($530,000), or be retirees with an income of BHD 4,000 per month or more.
- Be ‘highly- talented’ individuals who meet the relevant requirements.
- Must be present in the Kingdom of Bahrain for 90 days a year.
Neighbouring Gulf nation and regional tourism and business hub the United Arab Emirates has over the past couple of years introduced longer and more varied visas, and the chance to be granted Emirati citizenship, in a bid to retain professionals and their families.
Expat numbers in Bahrain
Expats outnumber the locals in Bahrain. Its population is around 1.3 million, and Bahraini nationals are about 48%. Expats, who make up 70% of the workforce, tend to have high salaries and there are no personal taxes, adding to its appeal as an expat hub for the last three decades.