Saudi Arabia launches new residency plans to draw foreign talent

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia today launched new residency programmes aimed at attracting skilled professionals and investment as the Gulf country forges ahead with its plan to pivot its economy away from fossil fuels.

"The initiative aims to further drive the country's economic transformation by creating employment opportunities and fostering knowledge transfers," it said in a statement.

The five new premium programmes cater specifically to professionals in healthcare, sports and real estate, amongst others.

They will offer holders opportunities to settle in Saudi Arabia, conduct business, own real estate and obtain work permits for holders and family members.

The move is part of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's Vision 2030 economic transformation plan to wean Saudi Arabia's economy off its dependence on oil, which includes attracting billions in foreign direct investment.

It also comes amid a growing economic rivalry with neighbouring United Arab Emirates to be the region's trade and business hub.

Authorities in the UAE have, in the recent past, introduced incentives such as the

"golden visa" system, while Dubai launched a "family wealth centre" last year to help wealthy individuals and businesses deal with cultural issues and governance. — Reuters

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