By Uglobal Staff
Pakistan is crafting its own citizenship by investment policy, with plans to grant permanent residency and eventually citizenship to all foreign investors who make investments worth at least a million dollars in the country, according to top Pakistani officials.
The decision to explore the CBI option to make the country more attractive for foreign investors was made during a meeting chaired by Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan.
Pakistani State Minister Muhammad Azfar Ahsan, who is also the chairman of the Board of Investment -- the main government institution tasked with facilitating foreign investment in the country, has said the upcoming CBI policy would cater to all investors and would meet the international legal requirements.
“We are looking at such a policy from all sides and it is essential to tap all options where the investments opportunities are available… but everything has to be under the national and international legal ambit,” Ahsan told the local daily, Dawn.
The initial proposal was to grant citizenship to investors from only a few countries like Afghanistan, who were moving in large numbers to Pakistan following the Taliban takeover there as well as wealthy people from Hong Kong who are exploring new investment opportunities abroad. But the Pakistani minister clarified that the proposed CBI policy would cater to all investors.
“This policy should not be limited to the Afghan nationals only, but should be a broad-based, structured set-up to facilitate investors with legal standing and belonging to any part of the world,” Ahsan said, according to Dawn.
Details about the eligibility criteria for foreign investors so far remains scant since the policy document was still being finalized, but media reports suggested that investors would need at least a million U.S. dollars to qualify.
At present, very few foreigners have the option to gain Pakistani citizenship; Pakistan allows foreign women married to Pakistani men to gain citizenship; and the federal government in exceptional cases could also grant Pakistani citizenship to Commonwealth citizens under the Pakistan Citizenship Act of 1951, provided they invest at least 5 million rupees (around $28,000) in the country.
Pakistan also grants 5-year long business visas to foreigners during which they can live and work in the country, provided they give the proper documentations of the nature of their business and recommendation letters from the chambers of commerce in their countries of origin, or invitation letters from a trade and business body in Pakistan.
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