The UAE has been ranked as the Middle East and North Africa’s top residence-by-investment program for the third consecutive year, according to a new study.
Henley & Partners, the global residence and citizenship advisory firm, said the UAE has continued to rise in its annual Global Residence and Citizenship Programs (GRCP) 2017–2018 report.
However it cautioned that the upcoming implementation of VAT could impact the UAE’s residence program and how it will perform in the future.
It showed that the UAE ranked 11 globally out of 20 programs analysed with a score of 59 out of 100.
This represents an increase of two positions from last year and four positions from 2015, up from positions 13 and 15 respectively.
The report said: "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."
The trend for acquiring an overseas home is being driven by not just by individual and family quality of life, but also for tax purposes, investment returns, freedom of travel and the resultant business opportunities.
Marco Gantenbein, managing partner of Henley & Partners in the Middle East, said: “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."
Out of the 20 residence programs reviewed, Portugal’s Golden Residence Permit Program was named the world’s best, with a score of 79 out of 100. It was followed by Austria (78) and Belgium (77).
Similar to the UAE, the tax burden on residents of Portugal is one of the lowest of the residence programs ranked in the report, both on corporate and personal levels. A Portuguese residence permit also offers visa-free access to Europe’s Schengen area.
“Interest in the industry has steadily increased over the past decade and we anticipate that it will continue to do so,” said Gantenbein. “As political instability around the world furthers, we 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.”
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