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Tehran offers 5-year residency to foreign investors

Christian Fernsby |
The Iranian government, for the first time in the past 40 years, ratified a bill to grant 5-year residency status to foreign investors.

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In a bid to further woo foreign investment to Iran, the government approved on Sunday to allow foreigners to settle in the country for five years if they make an investment of more than a quarter of million euros or its equivalent in other foreign currencies.

The report said investments that trigger the residency permit are not exclusive to manufacturing activities and those with bank deposits or investments in bonds or housing sector would also be eligible.

There was no mention of other conditions and whether the residency permit can be extended at the end of the five-year period.

The report said the measure was part of new regulations approved in a Cabinet session earlier on Sunday to facilitate Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in Iran.

Iran has been urging foreign businesses to come and invest in the country as it seeks to enrich its foreign currency resources to cope with the impacts of US sanctions.

Iran’s Minister of Economy and Finance Farhad Dejpassand said in last week that FDI in Iran had more than doubled since early 2018 to reach $3.5 billion in May.

Dejpassand said the country was eyeing to meet higher FDI targets at the end of the current Iranian calendar year in March with a scheme to facilitate investments above 250,000 euros.

Iran has been trying to diversify its economy since the United States imposed a series of tough sanctions on its sale of oil last year.

In a similar move to counter the negative consequences of US’ pressures, on Saturday, the Iranian government approved a proposal for allowing visa-free entry of the Chinese nationals into the country.

The Cabinet of President Hassan Rouhani authorized the Foreign Ministry to set up regulations for waving visa requirements for the entry of the Chinese nationals into Iran.

The decision came in response to a joint request by the Foreign Ministry and the Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization of Iran (ICHTO).

ICHTO chief Aliasqar Mounessan said the decision would greatly boost Iran’s ability to attract Chinese tourists to the country amid attempts to increase Iran’s foreign currency revenues from the tourism sector.

“Our target is to use the vast potentials and attractions in our country to host two million Chinese tourists each year,” said Mounessan, a deputy president, while announcing the government decision.

In a related move earlier this month, Rouhani ordered authorities to dismantle requirements for mandatory stamping of passports for foreigners arriving in Iranian.

The move is meant to encourage more travels to the country at a time of increased economic sanctions by the United States which have restricted Tehran’s ability to access foreign currencies.

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