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El Salvador offers 5,000 passports to skilled foreign workers

By Michael Rios, CNN

(CNN) — El Salvador is offering 5,000 “free passports” to highly skilled workers from abroad, President Nayib Bukele announced Saturday in his latest attempt to boost the country’s economy with foreign investment.

Scientists, engineers, doctors, artists, and philosophers will be granted “full citizen status” including voting rights, the president said in a statement posted to X.

El Salvador will also help their relocation by eliminating taxes and tariffs on “moving families and assets” such as equipment, software, and intellectual property.

Bukele wrote that the the group’s contributions would have a huge impact on the future of the Central American country.

CNN has reached out to El Salvador’s government for details on the plan.

El Salvador has seen multiple radical and often controversial reforms under the strong-arm president’s leadership.

In 2021, El Salvador adopted Bitcoin as a legal tender alongside the US dollar. But the International Monetary Fund has repeatedly recommended that the country ditch the cryptocurrency, citing risks including high volatility.

Last year, the legislative assembly approved a migration law meant to expedite citizenship to foreigners who support social and economic development programs by donating Bitcoin, Reuters reported.

Bukele has also overseen a brutal and widely criticized crackdown on crime, which he claims has significantly improved security, but opponents say it has resulted in large-scale human rights abuses, including mass detentions and alleged torture in jails.

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