- Long-term visas to be given to tourists interested in investing in SL
- Multiple visa entry for maximum 90 days
By Shenal Fernando
The Cabinet of Ministers granted approval yesterday (8) for the Golden Paradise Programme which involves the granting of long-term visas to tourists interested in investing in Sri Lanka.
This development was announced by Minister of Youth and Sports, Minister of Development Co-ordination and Monitoring, and State Minister of Digital Technology and Enterprise Development Namal Rajapaksa on his official Twitter handle yesterday.
“On the request of His Excellency Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the Cabinet approved a long-term visa option for tourists investing in Sri Lanka! This will not only significantly increase the FDI (foreign direct investment) but will also encourage more professionals and experts to invest, work, and live in Sri Lanka! #GoldenParadiseVisa,” Tweeted Minister Rajapaksa.
Speaking to The Morning Business yesterday, Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) Director General Dhammika Wijesinghe stated that under this initiative, foreigners who are seeking to visit Sri Lanka often will be granted one-year multiple-entry visas for a maximum single stay of 90 days.
“There were many requests (for such an initiative) particularly from Indians who regularly visit Sri Lanka for our casinos. They are short-term visitors but they visit often within the same year,” stated Wijesinghe.
Explaining further, she stated that the mechanism for ensuring the authenticity of the foreigners granted visas under this programme will be established by the Immigrations Department. She further stated the criteria for the selection of foreigners under this programme will be established by the Immigrations Department.
This Golden Paradise Programme was proposed by Vallibel One PLC Chairman and Hayleys PLC Co-Chairman Dhammika Perera, who had presented the proposal to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa as a viable initiative to help the country overcome the current foreign exchange crisis.
This proposal was submitted by Perera at the meeting held on 21 February 2022, which was convened by the Government and chaired by the President to call on private sector leaders to invest in local industries and to lend a hand in the nation-building process.
This proposal by Perera was reportedly approved by the President who has subsequently informed the relevant authorities to take the necessary steps for its implementation.
Under this Golden Paradise Programme, Perera proposed the granting of long-term visas to foreigners who wish to obtain residency in Sri Lanka, upon depositing $ 100,000 into a local bank account, with half of the deposited sum allowed to be withdrawn at the end of the first year. Thereupon, the foreigner must maintain a minimum balance of $ 50,000 in the aforesaid bank account for the entire duration of their stay in the country.
Accordingly, Perera had set out that if 50,000 such foreigners are brought to the country under the Golden Paradise Programme it would be possible for Sri Lanka to raise $ 5 billion through the $ 100,000 deposited by each such foreigner.
He had further proposed that foreigners over the age of 60 and with a monthly income exceeding $ 2,000 be issued 10-year visas under the programme.