Egypt’s House of Representatives has approved new amendments to a law that grants citizenship to foreigners who invest in the country.
The prime minister now has the right to grant citizenship to foreigners who buy state-owned or private property, establish an investment project or deposit cash into an Egyptian bank.
In August last year President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi ratified law no. 173 which allows foreign nationals who deposit at least seven million Egyptian pounds ($0.42 million) into local banks to be granted a five-year residency and the opportunity to pay for nationality.
If they qualify, candidates pay $10,000 to apply.
The law has been criticised for being a quick fix to bring money into the country.
Egypt’s economy has been in dire straits since the 2011 Arab Spring and
Egyptian authorities have tried a number of measures to inject cash into the economy, including a $12 billion IMF loan.
Egyptians have been hit with a series of austerity measures like fuel and electricity hikes which have made life difficult for people already suffering under high unemployment rates. Over half the country live below the poverty line.
The country has pushed for foreign investment with the minister of investment and international cooperation declaring last year that Egypt is “open for business” and that the country is being repositioned as a “global investment destination”.
In 2016 British investment reached $30 billion yet Egyptian people see very little return on this money within a climate of rising corruption.
Whilst foreign investors can buy the Egyptian nationality, Egyptian citizens are at danger of having theirs taken away if they oppose the current regime.
In 2017 the Egyptian cabinet approved amendments to Egypt’s Nationality Law under which authorities can revoke citizenship of pro-democracy supporters allegedly for posing a threat to state security and public order.