The UAE remains the country with the top residence-by-investment program in the region of the Middle East and North Africa. The information comes from a study carried out recently with the UAE obtaining the best position in MENA. It’s the third consecutive year in which the UAE received the best position in the region for its residence program.
Henley & Partners is the global residence and citizenship advisory firm that was in charge with the study. It said that the UAE carried on rising in its annual Global Residence and Citizenship Programs (GRCP) 2017–2018 report.
However, the firm warned that the upcoming VAT implementation might affect the program. It could also affect the way it will perform in the future.
UAE residence program on a global scale
On a global scale, the UAE had the 11th program out of the 20 programs analyzed, according to the report. The UAE managed to score 59 out of 100. This year, the country managed to go up two positions from last year, when it was ranked as 13th. From 2015, when the country was ranked as 15th, the UAE went up four positions.
The report stated: “The UAE offers a high quality of life and a high level of security for its residents. It is an excellent place to do business and provides easy access to the Middle East region”. It added: “Additionally, citizens and residents of the UAE are not subject to personal income tax, capital gains taxes, or net worth taxes; however, VAT will apply from 2018 onwards”.
Reasons for overseas residence
The tendency to acquire a home overseas is not being determined just by individual and family quality of life. Such a decision comes from tax reasons, investment returns, freedom to travel and business opportunities that can result from it.
Marco Gantenbein declared: “The UAE continues to be an attractive residence destination and consistently ranks highly in our annual indexes. For the third consecutive year, the UAE has increased in ranking, which can be attributed to its high scores across some of the key residence benchmark indicators. Since the launch of the Global Residence and Citizenship Programs report in 2015, the UAE has moved up in ranking significantly, by nearly 20 percent”. Marco Gantenbein is the managing partner of Henley & Partners in the Middle East.
Residence programs around the world
The report shows that the best residence program in the world belongs to Portugal. It is called the Golden Residence Permit Program. The program obtained a score of 79 out of 100 and received the top position. Austria received the second position with 78 points, while Belgium received the third position with 77 points.
Portugal’s tax burden on residents is one of the lowest of the programs ranked in the report. The situation is similar to the one in the UAE, both on personal and corporate levels. Also, visa-free access to Europe’s Schengen area is offered by a Portuguese residency permit.
Gantenbein said that interest in the industry has increased steadily over the past ten years. The company anticipates that it will carry on. With the current political instability worldwide, he said they see an increase in demand for alternative residence. “Key factors such as the need for global mobility, security and better quality of life are also significantly contributing to the growing interest in alternative residence and citizenship programs” Gantenbein added.