DUBAI - Bahrain is considering a 10-year residency visa for foreign investors, state news agency BNA reported on Wednesday, following similar moves by neighbours Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.
"Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Crown Prince ... has instructed the Minister of Interior to prepare a draft edict to create a new self-sponsorship residency permit for foreign investors," BNA reported, adding that the visas would be valid for 10 years.
In Bahrain and other Gulf Arab states, foreign residents receive short-term visas generally lasting no more than three years through their employers.
A draft Qatari law approved in August aims to allow some foreigners permanent residency and the UAE approved a system to grant residency visas of up to 10 years to investors and specialists this month.
Gulf Arab states are seeking to attract investment in real estate markets, which have slumped since 2014 after oil prices plunged, forcing governments to implement austerity measures.
An ambitious economic reform plan in Saudi Arabia also risks drying up investment flows to the smaller countries in the region.
(Reporting By Noah Browning Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky) ((firstname.lastname@example.org;))