Northman & Sterling

Comparative Analysis: Saudi Premium Residency vs Other Global Residency Programs

Introduced as part of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, the Saudi Premium Residency program offers expatriates long-term residency with added benefits. Unlike traditional work visas, this program provides greater flexibility and a host of privileges, such as the right to own property and businesses in the Kingdom.

Key Features

  • Property Ownership: Premium Residency holders can own real estate in Saudi Arabia.
  • Business Ownership: They can establish and own businesses without a Saudi partner.
  • Family Status: The residency extends to family members, including spouses and children.
  • Travel Freedom: Allows visa-free entry and exit from Saudi Arabia.

Comparing Global Residency Programs

To appreciate the uniqueness of the Saudi program, let’s compare it with other popular residency schemes:

Portugal's Golden Visa

Portugal offers residency through real estate investment, capital transfer, or job creation. Its allure lies in a path to EU citizenship and visa-free travel within the Schengen Area.

  • Investment Flexibility: Lower investment threshold compared to Saudi Arabia.
  • EU Access: Offers eventual access to EU citizenship.

United States EB-5 Program

The EB-5 program grants residency through substantial investment in the U.S. economy, particularly in job-creating ventures.

  • Investment in Economy: Focus on job creation and economic development.
  • Path to Citizenship: Provides a clear route to U.S. citizenship.

Canada Quebec Immigrant Investor Program

Canada’s program requires investment in a government-guaranteed project, offering stability and a high quality of life.

  • Stability and Quality of Life: Emphasis on social benefits and high living standards.
  • Passive Investment: Investment is government-guaranteed.

UAE Long-Term Residency

Like Saudi Arabia, the UAE offers long-term residency to investors, entrepreneurs and specialized talents. This program is part of the UAE’s strategy to attract skilled professionals and high-net-worth individuals.

  • No Taxation: Like Saudi Arabia, the UAE has no personal income tax, making it financially attractive.
  • Business-Friendly Environment: Known for its business-friendly environment and strategic location.

Unique Aspects of Saudi Premium Residency

The Premium Residency Program initially offered two options: a one-year residency with an annual fee of SAR 100,000, and a permanent residency option for SAR 800,000. Recently, Saudi Arabia expanded the program to include five new visa categories, targeting different groups such as real estate owners, entrepreneurs, and individuals with special talents.

With 40% of its population as foreigners, Saudi Arabia, the Middle East’s largest economy, expects significant growth, including a 4.1% overall and 6% non-oil growth in 2024 and 2023, respectively.

  1. Strategic Location and Economic Growth

Saudi Arabia’s strategic location as a gateway to the Middle East and its ongoing economic reforms under Vision 2030 make it an increasingly attractive business hub. The Premium Residency program is a direct invitation to be part of this economic transformation.

  1. Cultural and Social Integration

Unlike many residency programs focused solely on investment, Saudi Premium Residency offers a pathway to cultural and social integration in a historically rich and culturally vibrant country. It allows residents to engage with the local community and culture deeply.

  1. Investment in a Diversifying Economy

Saudi Arabia’s economy, traditionally reliant on oil, is diversifying rapidly. Investing here through the Premium Residency program means being at the forefront of growth sectors like tourism, renewable energy, and technology.

  1. Considerations for Business Clients

When choosing a residency program, business clients should consider several factors:

  • Investment Goals: Align the program with your investment strategy and goals.
  • Long-Term Plans: Consider whether you seek permanent residency or citizenship.
  • Cultural and Lifestyle Preferences: Assess how well you and your family can adapt to the lifestyle and culture of the host country.

Saudi Premium Residency offers a unique blend of business opportunities, cultural richness, and a chance to be part of an economy in transformation. While other global programs provide paths to residency and citizenship, Saudi Arabia’s program stands out for those looking to engage deeply with the Middle Eastern market and culture.

As global mobility and business interests continue to evolve, programs like these will play a pivotal role in shaping the future of international business and investment.