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Pakistan unveils permanent residency scheme for foreigners

Pakistan unveils permanent residency scheme for foreigners

ISLAMABAD:

Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry announced on Friday that government has decided to allow permanent residency scheme for foreign nationals and linked it with their investment in the real estate sector.

In line with the country’s first-ever National Security Policy, Fawad said that Pakistan has declared geo-economics as core of its national security doctrine, which has led to the new policy allowing foreigners to get permanent resident status in lieu of investment.

Following in the footsteps of Turkey, sources in federal cabinet said, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)-led government has decided to open permanent residency scheme for foreign nationals provided that they invest from $100,000 to $300,000 in the real estate sector.

While sharing the background, a key federal minister said that the one of the purposes of opening PR scheme for foreigners was to attract rich Afghans, who were moving to Turkey, Malaysia and some other countries following the fall of Kabul last August. “They needed to be incentivised,” he said.

Also read: Pakistan’s first-ever security policy a step in right direction: COAS

In addition, the minister said, the PR scheme targets the Sikhs living in Canada and USA, who were willing to invest in religious sites, especially in Kartarpur Corridor but had no option to do so. He said that the third objective of the scheme was to incentivise the Chinese nationals, who wish to move or establish industry in Pakistan.

“It’s a historic step… for the first time in the history of Pakistan foreigners are being allowed to invest in real estate sector,” he said.

On Tuesday, the cabinet had directed the finance and interior ministries to sit with the Board of Investment and deliberate upon a scheme where foreign citizens could be facilitated in buying properties in Pakistan. In just three days, the government has given a go ahead to the scheme in an attempt to bring in billions of dollars in foreign exchange.

Citing Turkey’s example, which recently allowed foreigners to buy properties in the country, the information minister had termed the project a “game-changer,” saying that the foreigners would be able to buy houses, hotels and invest in real estate once the scheme was approved. Giving an example of Sikh pilgrims, the information minister had said that they would be able to buy property in Kartarpur, assuring that both the projects will have complete legal protection.

Housing projects for overseas Pakistanis

Sources in the cabinet while referring to the federal cabinet’s decision taken in its last meeting to launch a housing project in the capital for the overseas Pakistanis said that it has now been decided that two more such projects would be launched in Lahore and Karachi.

Also read: PM Imran launches first-ever National Security Policy

In the post cabinet press briefing, the information minister had shared that a housing project stretching on 400 kanals land was being launched for the overseas Pakistanis, saying it would have roughly 6,000 apartments and houses.

While sharing the purpose of the scheme, Fawad had said that all the overseas Pakistanis who have Roshan Digital Accounts would be able to invest in the housing project, hoping that the government would fetch roughly $2 billion from the project in the capital.

Opening new opportunities for foreigners looking to get into the country’s real estate market, it was reported that the Turkish government had enacted a law in 2017 allowing foreigners investing a minimum of one million dollars in property to get citizenship.

Though the move was projected as a means to lure foreign investment, the opposition in Turkey had alleged that the scheme was designed to shore up Turk president’s friends, many of whom are in the construction business.

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