Economic Minister Fayyaz Ismail has said that the government was considering a special program that will permit foreigners a residency visa after purchasing a resort villa or an apartment.
The Minister met with the parliament’s Committee on National Security and Foreign Relations today to speak about the amendment proposed to the immigration laws of the country. The proposed amendments were by North Thinadhoo MP Abdul Mughny. Speaker of the Parliament later added another amendment to the bill before resending the bill to the Committee to be reevaluated.
Minister Fayyaz said that the government had a new idea about the residency visa. He was speaking about the pilot project in H. A. Dhapparu which the government would operate as a secondary home project.
Villas and apartments constructed at the location if purchased would grant the lessee a residency visa. The Minister maintained that this in no way meant that the individual would be granted ownership of the land nor citizenship.
“In my view, an investment of around USD 300,000 is needed. Because the purchase of a villa or apartment from a location like that for USD 300,000 will be seen as an investment.” Said the Minister.
Former Economic Minister and current MP for Maavashu stated in the meeting in response to the Minister’s second home project, that the probability of a large number of Indian investors arriving to the location was high. He noted that this was because of the ferry link between Kulhudhuffushi and India.
He said that there was a chance that investors from Europe and China could also arrive. However, the location of the Maldives and the demand was the reason that created suspicion and skepticism among Maldivians.
The Minister said that the purpose was not to attract investors from a certain country but to develop the government.
The Minister maintained that the residency visa did not mean citizenship. The only easement would be that the investors would find it easier to enter and depart from the Maldives.