Saudi Arabia .. The launch of the first version of the...

Saudi Arabia .. The launch of the first version of the...
Saudi Arabia .. The launch of the first version of the...
The Gulf states, led by Saudi Arabia and the UAE, have taken unprecedented steps in opening the door to naturalization and granting permanent residency to qualified and experienced people, in an effort to develop the economy and prepare for the post-oil phase.

On Thursday, the Saudi monarch, King Salman bin Abdulaziz, issued a royal order to open the door for naturalization of legal, medical, scientific, cultural, sports and technical competencies, “in a way that contributes to promoting the wheel of development and benefits the country in various fields,” according to what the official news agency quoted him as saying. SPA

She pointed out that this comes in line with Vision 2030, “aiming to enhance the attractive environment in which human competencies can be invested and attract distinguished and creative people.”

In the wake of this decision, Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper published a list of names nominated for citizenship in the coming days, including a theater director and a calligrapher of the covering of the Kaaba.

On January 30, , Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of , announced legal amendments allowing the granting of Emirati citizenship and passport to investors, talented and specialized scientists, doctors, engineers, artists, intellectuals and their families.

In a tweet on Twitter, bin Rashid stressed that the aim of these amendments is to retain, attract and stabilize minds that contribute strongly to the UAE’s development process.

Qatar is one of the first Gulf countries to naturalize competencies, especially in the field of sports, which helped it win many international championships at the level of individual and team games.

natural result

Hussein Ibish, a senior researcher at the Gulf Institute in Washington, sees it as the natural result of these countries preparing for the post-energy economy, and finding new ways to deal with the large numbers of arrivals.

Ibish said in statements to Al-Hurra website that there will be more such decisions in the future, and there will also be decisions to reduce the number of migrant workers, and to settle job opportunities more than they are now.

The Saudi writer and political analyst, Khalil Al-Khalil, says, for his part, that the decision to naturalize is not new to Saudi Arabia, but rather exists from the era of the founding king, who granted citizenship to many highly qualified personalities and experiences, noting that all the kings of the Kingdom granted citizenship to many people.

In his interview with Al-Hurra website, Al-Khalil explained that what was issued during the past few days is the expansion and amendment of the laws of granting citizenship in the Kingdom, and he attributed this to the Kingdom’s need to meet its needs in a number of rare specialties, and to honor some personalities from writers, historians and intellectuals who served the Kingdom over the years.

In May of 2019, Saudi Arabia approved the Premium Residency System within the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, which grants the beneficiary a number of benefits in return for a one-time fee to obtain permanent residency, or annually in exchange for obtaining temporary residency with the same benefits.

And since 2018, the Emirates has granted the golden residency, which allows a foreigner to reside in the country for five or 10 years without the need for an Emirati sponsor for certain categories, including investors, entrepreneurs and specialized talents.

Among these conditions: owning an investment in a real estate worth two million dirhams, or having financial savings of not less than one million dirhams, or proving an income of at least 20,000 dirhams per month.

The transition to a post-oil economy

Ibish ruled out that these decisions would have a significant political impact, but he expected that they would have a significant impact on the economy, explaining that the new policies related to immigration and naturalization are part of the transformation of these countries into a post-oil economy; Because “people must be turned into wealth-producing citizens and not into vassal subjects.”

In turn, the economic advisor, Elias Al Baroud, said that “these successful decisions have been adopted by the great powers for years, such as the United States and European countries, and succeeded in benefiting from these global experiences after granting them their nationalities.”

Al-Baroud added, in statements to the “Al-Hurra” website, that “this is a bold decision by the Kingdom, because the file of naturalization in Saudi Arabia is one of the most difficult files.”

He pointed out that “the conditions adopted by Riyadh for granting citizenship were very precise, and focused on competencies in the areas that help it achieve economic sustainability, in addition to cultural and sports figures, who have a footprint in the development of all fields in the country.”

Tawfiq Rahim, senior fellow in the International Security Program at the Dubai-based New America Research Center, describes the legal amendment to grant citizenship as “important” for the future of the UAE.

“The path to citizenship for expatriates, despite its limited scope and the lack of clarity in details about it until today, is a development towards the future,” Rahim told CNBC.

“Expats were aiming to get the most out of this country and then move back home,” said Karim Jtha, chief investment officer at Longden Capital, an emerging market asset management firm.

But “the new mentality the government is trying to inspire is if you give all you can to this country, you can call it your home,” Gatha tells CNBC.

According to the Federal Center for Competitiveness and Statistics, the total number of the UAE population in 2020 was about 9.2 million people, about 90% of whom are expatriates.

The population of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia reached about 35 million, but it did not specify the number of expatriates residing in the country, according to the General Authority for Statistics in Saudi Arabia.

According to the latest Saudi census issued in 2018, their number reached 12.6 million foreigners, equivalent to about 38%.

The writer Khalil Al-Khalil ruled out that this decision would have any impact on the demographic structure in the Kingdom.

And because the Saudi trend came months after the Emirati decision, some observers linked it to the commercial competition between Riyadh and Dubai, especially after Riyadh’s decision to deal with international companies that have branches in the Kingdom, which may prompt many companies to move their headquarters in the Middle East. From Dubai to Riyadh.

But Al-Baroud ruled out a link between the two decisions, and said that all of these decisions were approved in 2016, when the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 was born, adding that attracting talent from all over the world and granting them Saudi citizenship, is one of the most important goals of the vision, and indicated that this month the implementation of this began the decision.

But the senior researcher at the Gulf Institute sees a link between the two decisions, and said that competition between neighbors is what pushes them to develop and adapt quickly to changing conditions.

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