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Saudi Arabia launches new residency plans to draw foreign talent

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Saudi Arabia on Thursday launched new residency programs aimed at attracting skilled professionals and investment as the Gulf country forges ahead with its plan to pivot its economy away from fossil fuels.

The five new premium programs cater specifically to professionals in healthcare, sports and real estate © Mena Today 

Saudi Arabia on Thursday launched new residency programs aimed at attracting skilled professionals and investment as the Gulf country forges ahead with its plan to pivot its economy away from fossil fuels.

"The initiative aims to further drive the country's economic transformation by creating employment opportunities and fostering knowledge transfers," it said in a statement.

The five new premium programs cater specifically to professionals in healthcare, sports and real estate, amongst others.

They will offer holders opportunities to settle in Saudi Arabia, conduct business, own real estate and obtain work permits for holders and family members.

The move is part of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's Vision 2030 economic transformation plan to wean Saudi Arabia's economy off its dependence on oil, which includes attracting billions in foreign direct investment.

It also come amid a growing economic rivalry with neighbouring United Arab Emirates (UAE) to be the region's trade and business hub.

Authorities in the UAE have in the recent past introduced incentives such as the 'golden visa' system, while Dubai launched a 'family wealth center' last year to help wealthy individuals and businesses deal with cultural issues and governance.

Reporting by Federico Maccioni; Editing by Sharon Singleton

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