Egypt Sells Citizenship for $10,000 or rather Attracts Investments?

Mohammad Al Batawy
June 15, 2019

The National Defence and Security Committee of Egypt’s parliament passed a bill submitted by the government that allows the payment of $10,000 in exchange for an Egyptian citizenship.

This project comes in times of successive campaigns launched by the Egyptian government to reduce the population.

The Egyptian Parliament says that the new draft law aims at granting citizenship in exchange for investment, which is reflected in the achievement of economic development, and maintains the capabilities of the state while achieving national security.

The draft law gives the Prime Minister the right to grant citizenship to any foreigner, who buys property owned by the State, establishes an investment project in accordance with the provisions of the Investment Law or deposits a monetary amount in foreign currency.

The Egyptian government refuses to name that bill “selling the Egyptian nationality,” and defends the bill saying that it aims at stimulating the economy and attracting investment.

The government also justifies the validity of its position by mentioning that large wealthy countries grant citizenship-terminated residency to investors on similar terms and that no one has accused these governments of selling their nationality.

In spite of the argument of the Egyptian government, it failed given that those countries did not launch large-scale campaigns to reduce reproduction and birth control and did not complain of what it calls a “population explosion” devouring development rates.

Most of these countries also provide immigrants with citizenship for many reasons, including political and humanitarian asylum, skilled labour and others, including economic investment.

On the other hand, the Egyptian government does not regulate the granting of citizenship on the grounds of humanitarian or political asylum, or even on the basis of excellent practical competencies, or the recruitment of skilled workers.

In contrast, countries such as Germany, France or Britain accept immigrants on most of these grounds, seeking to maintain a population growth rate.

Countries such as the US, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand continue to seek to increase their population to be able to exploit their potential and resources in the shadow of a small population as opposed to their size, thus regulating regular migration and accepting new immigrants through various means, including investment.

But Egypt does not seek to bring in migrants, complains of high rates of population growth to the point of “population explosion,” and urges its citizens to cut production through campaigns such as “two babies sufficiency.”

How will the Egyptian government be able to convince its citizens that they are suffering from the terrible population increase whilst they are seeking granting citizenship to new citizens, with investments and cheap deposits?

The justifications like following the great countries, and the law is not a sale of nationality, collide with the fact that Egypt has not regulated a law for the granting of nationality to foreigners except by one only, namely deposits and investments, which makes it actually closer to selling.

It should be noted that the bill came less than a year after strong criticism by Egyptian media of Turkish legal amendments granting citizenship for a real estate investment of about $250,000, considering the law to be a sale of Turkish citizenship.

But the fierce criticism did not say that the Turkish laws themselves granted citizenship for many other reasons besides investment, unlike Egypt.