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The Portuguese Immigration and Borders Service (SEF) indicates that between the years 2012-2020, 441 investors from Turkey have obtained a residency permit in Portugal. Investors from Lebanon, Jordan, and Iraq have also gained residency permits along with Turkey. Out of 9,200 Residence Permits for Investment, 17 of them were realized for the creation of job positions. This means that MENA countries are quite interested in residency by investment programs. Secondly, investors have the option to establish a business in Portugal as well.

In addition to this, European countries are also interested in Portugal. The 2020 EY (Ernst & Young) Attractiveness Survey indicates that Portugal received a total of 158 Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) in 2019. The top three countries from these are the USA, Germany, and France.

Why obtain a Golden Visa?

So, why do these investors are interested in these programs? To start with, some countries do not allow foreign investments from specific nations. This causes a handicap for investors, especially from the MENA region. However, when they receive a residence permit in a related country, they will have access to business in both that country and several other countries. Some of these programs offer citizenship as well. It means that you can obtain dual citizenship or you can renounce your original citizenship and obtain a new one. In this way, you can have easier access to Europe to conduct your business.

Portugal is a good example of this. It is open to investments from various countries. The EY Survey shows that foreign investments have also created thousands of job positions. The top fields among these are manufacturing, sales and marketing, R&D, and others. The Tech industry is also developing day by day. Portuguese golden visa also offers an investment option regarding the establishment of an enterprise. According to this, you can choose to establish an enterprise creating at least ten job positions. So, your Portugal Golden Visa may allow you to conduct business in Portugal as well as access to other countries.

Furthermore, even if you don’t obtain citizenship yet, in some programs, you can enjoy visa-free travel in the Schengen countries. Even this will provide you with more freedom of mobility than before. Furthermore, with a Golden Visa, you don’t need to wait for a long process for visa approval as you did previously. You will not have to deal with any bureaucracy to enter the country. This is really a huge relief for investors from the MENA region.

What about taxes?

Some countries offer great tax exemptions or reductions for foreigners. For example, Portugal has signed Double Taxation Agreements (DTA) with more than 60 countries. These countries include some of the MENA countries as well. If your country is not one of them, don’t worry. There is also a Non-Habitual Residency (NHR) regime in Portugal. Normally, non-EU citizens do not have access to this treatment. However, after you get your Golden Visa and register as a tax resident in Portugal, you can enjoy NHR benefits.  According to the NHR program, most of your income abroad is exempt from taxation for ten years. Also, if your job is among the “high-added-value” professions, you will get generous tax exemptions. Also, you will be exempt from taxes on gifts, inheritance, and wealth (on some conditions).

In addition to Portugal, Caribbean countries such as Dominica and St Kitts & Nevis also offer great tax treatments. If you become a resident in Dominica, you will not be subject to taxation on wealth, gift, inheritance, foreign income, or capital gains. Furthermore, it is the easiest citizenship by investment program in terms of duration. You will become a Dominican citizen within three months.

Furthermore, when you get your Dominican citizenship, you may travel to 140 countries without a visa. The minimum investment requirement is only $100,000. So, if you need easier access to other countries around the world, Dominica can be the best option for you.

Dominica ranks the first among 14 of citizenship by investment programs. It means that the country received high scores in each of the different nine pillars. The pillars include freedom of movement, ease of processing, citizenship timeline, and six more other parameters.

Greece and Spain also offer Golden Visa programs. They offer favorable tax rates for non-residents. In addition to that, if you want to invest in real estate, Greece is the cheapest option. The minimum investment amount for a real estate property in Golden Visa Greece is €250,000.

Guarantee Your Future

As the CBI Index indicates, “Before the Covid-19 crisis, investors looked to second citizenship as a platform from which to dive head-on into a world of greater interaction, travel, and globalization. Mobility rights took, almost inevitably, center-stage. However, by

blocking international travel, the Covid-19 pandemic has had the effect of reminding investors and the wider world of the fundamental importance of ‘home’. In other words, Covid-19 has shifted investor priorities, refocusing them on places that are healthy, pleasant,

and welcoming.”

So, these kinds of disasters can change the investors’ priorities. This is the same for economic or political instabilities in a country. These instabilities can easily affect businesses. So, having a second citizenship or residence permit in another country is a safety net. The process of Covid-19 has shown that Portugal and many Caribbean countries have handled the process very well. The Index states that “Many Caribbean island-states were also successful in their containment of the disease, reporting few cases and widespread recovery.”