Faridon Hartouqa, Acting Chairman of the Jordan Investment Commission, the body that manages the country’s citizenship by investment program, this Monday told local press that the CIP had approved 206 applications between October 2nd, 2019 and today, according to multiple local sources, including Jordan Times.
The statistical update is the first to emerge since September 2020, when the same agency reported that 200 applications had been approved since December 2018. At the time, the agency said total investments through the program had already amounted to an eyebrow-raising US$1.38 billion, which would equate to average investments of nearly US$7 million, or about seven times the required minimum (since reduced from $1m to $750,000).
Observers have previously postulated that the most likely explanation for the extraordinary zeal and generosity with which investors appeared to be taking to the Jordan CIP – which results in the awarding of one of the world’s weaker travel documents – was retroactive qualification of investments; i.e., that investors already present in the country for some time had been awarded citizenship on the basis of capital investment that preceded the program.
This week’s release appeared to confirm that suspicion: According to Acting Chairman Hartouqa, 200 out of the 206 approved applicants “invested into an existing project”. The remainder had invested in treasury bonds, term deposits, and share capital to the combined tune of JD 13 million (US$18.3m), or a still-remarkable US$3.1 million on average.
Adding to the perplexity, the total investment raised from the program now reportedly amounts to US$1.22 billion, or about US$160 million less than in September. The JIC offered no clarifying remarks as to why this number has been adjusted downwards. Nor do currency fluctuations explain the discrepancy; the Jordanian Dinar’s exchange rate against the dollar – which is subject to controls – has barely budged since early 2019.
Total investment was, furthermore, not the only figure to shrink during the period; while, in September, the JIC reported the investments recorded under the program had created 7,369 job positions in the country, the JIC this week said the number stood at 7,326.
A further 30 applications remained under consideration, stated the JIC, adding that the approved applicants had come from very diverse geographical backgrounds, including Syria, Iraq, Palestine, Finland, Canada, Lebanon, Yemen, the US, Pakistan, India, and Saint Kitts & Nevis.
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