Expats in UAE queuing up for second passports and permanent residency visas

Published:  15 Feb at 6 PM
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As expatriate professionals’ stability and security in the Arab States become more fragile, those with spare funds are rushing to get second passports.

A major reason for choosing one expat relocation destination over others is the stability of the country and the security of the job itself as well as the required work visa. Even the most optimistic foreign workers in the UAE would now have to admit the current concentration on dramatically reducing the numbers of expats employed doesn’t represent security and stability. As a result, many are now taking advantage of the Golden Visa system in order to have somewhere to legally run to should their current visas suddenly be revoked.

Golden Visas are now on offer from many world countries, offering second passports, permanent residency visas and even citizenship for those able to afford them. Many expats in the Gulf States are true global citizens by means of work duties, meaning they’re not tied to any one country at any one time unless they hold a ‘strong’ passport. For those with families in the UAE, a second passport is even more valuable, as most give the applicant’s spouse and children the same rights of residence.

Since the idea of Golden Visas was first mooted, a number of fixer companies have sprung up, giving a one-stop-shop for those willing to invest large sums of money to ensure citizenship or permanent residency in a wide choice of destination countries. The system itself can be confusing, with the various options including permanent relocation, citizenship for investment, investment giving a passport without having to live in or even visit the country itself and other such schemes.

It’s possible for an applicant to do it him-or herself but, if money is no object, simply selecting a country and handing over a large amount of cash is far easier. Canada is a favourite, and was one of the first countries to tempt high-net-worth expats with their solution to the needs of this sector, with other states including Cyprus, Malta, Portugal, Spain, Greece and even the UK soon joining in the bonanza. Unfortunately, the value of this last as an entry to 27 EU member states has been vastly reduced since the Brexit referendum. More than 20 countries are now pushing their immigration by investment products via online agents, with an average of a million dollars the going price for security and stability in this fast-changing world.
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