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UAE tops region in global residence ranking index

UAE tops region in global residence ranking index
The Global Residence and Citizenship Programmes 2016 report shows that the UAE leads the region in residence attractiveness, ranking 13 out of 19 countries in this year's index.

Dubai - Dubai most attractive destination for wealthy property investors

By Issac John

Published: Thu 19 May 2016, 12:00 AM

Last updated: Thu 19 May 2016, 11:18 PM

The UAE has improved its ranking as the most preferred residence destination in the Middle East region for investors seeking to participate in "residence-by-investment" programme.
The Global Residence and Citizenship Programmes 2016 report shows that the UAE leads the region in residence attractiveness, ranking 13 out of 19 countries in this year's index, showing an increase of two positions from last year, up from number 15 in the 2015 report.
"Globally and particularly in the Middle East and North Africa region, the UAE continues to be a leading and preferred destination for residence and ranks very highly in our annual indexes. This year, the UAE has been able to move up two spots from last year's ranking, especially because it scores well on some of the residence benchmark indicators including reputation, quality of life, tax, processing time and quality of processing," said  Marco Gantenbein, managing partner of Henley & Partners in the Middle East.
The World Bank's 'Ease of Doing Business for the year 2016' has ranked the UAE first among Arab countries for the third year in a row, ahead of all countries in the region included in 2016 report.
The World Bank report, which measures the performance of 189 states in facilitating doing business for investors, said the UAE has advanced one step in the ranking to occupy 31st rank globally. Among cities Dubai has emerged as the most attractive destination in the GCC for the region's wealthy property investors, according to a survey by real estate consultancy Cluttons. The study, which polled high net worth individuals across the region, found that 27 per cent of respondents identified Dubai among their top three destinations. It was followed by Abu Dhabi (21 per cent) and Sharjah (eight per cent). Doha and Kuwait City rounded off the top five. 
"Furthermore, the lifestyle available in Dubai through second home ownership is unrivalled in the region, which is a particularly big pull factor for Middle East investors," said the report by Cluttons.
Henley & Partners' GRCP details the outcomes of the Global Residence Programme Index (GRPI) and the Global Citizenship Programme Index (GCPI). These two Indexes gauge and reflect the relative worth of residence and citizenship programmes around the world through a benchmarking process. They analyze a broad range of factors such as immigration law, tax and quality of living,
as well as transparency, risk and compliance issues, from multiple sources to produce an overall global view and ranking of the different investment migration programmes.
Out of the 19 residence programmes reviewed, Portugal's Golden Residence Permit Programme has again emerged as the world's best residence-by-investment programme, with a score of 80 out of 100. It is followed by Belgium (78) and Austria (77) in second and third place respectively. Portugal's programme continues to see high demand from the Mena region, including expats from the UAE.
For the second year in a row, Malta's Individual Investor Programme (MIIP) is the top ranking citizenship-by-investment programme in the world, with a score of 73 out of 100. The Mediterranean island nation is followed by Cyprus (71), and Antigua and Barbuda (62) in 2nd and 3rd place respectively.
Residence and citizenship planning has established itself as an important industry over the last few years, providing a rapidly growing number of wealthy individuals the privileges of visa-free travel as well as  better security, quality of life and education in exchange for a significant and meaningful economic contribution.
China, Russia and CIS countries have the highest demand for citizenship-by-investment programmes. In terms of the MIIP, Russia and CIS countries have the highest demand, closely followed by the Mena region.
- issacjohn@khaleejtimes.com

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