Following the operation of security agencies and BiH Service of foreigners Affairs, several hundred foreigners are waiting to be expelled from BiH.
Media speculate about the number of about 300 foreign citizens, almost all from Arab countries, who violate the BiH laws. As illegal residents, they bought large amount of properties in order to build resorts and invest in construction industry. But, the fact is that they avoided to pay taxes, according to BiH laws.
In the last several years, BiH was very attractive for investments and has seen an influx of Arab investors who bought the land and built residential complexes and tourist resorts. They were attracted by low prices and a favourable climate in a country where half the population is Muslim. In last three months security agencies and officials of service for foreigners affairs BiH inspected about 700 companies and 16 tourist resorts owned by citizens from the Gulf, Libya, Russia and Ukraine.
About 500 of the firms, owners of more than 600 residential and business premises, were found to be registered at false addresses and had no staff, the officials announced. Many of the property owners had registered the firms as real estate companies for a 2 000 BAM (about 1 000 Euro) fee in order to buy or develop property worth hundreds of thousands of BAM to rent out to tourists, without however filing tax declarations. As control of the companies show, many of registered owners were living illegally in the country, some were not registered on arrival in the country at all, which is also a crime. Also, some of them violated their visa requirements and others misused their work permits.
Depending on the offence, more than 300 will be either asked to leave the country voluntarily or be expelled and banned from returning for between one to five years. Details of the violations will be passed on to tax authorities and the police, and relevant courts will decide what the punishment will be. But there is a problem which authorities must also solve in the short term. Some of companies owned by persons who will be expelled already begun the construction of tourist resorts and BiH must decide what to do in these cases.
The fact that they tried to cheat the state laws and to earn money in illegal manner, can be seen by the fact that some of the companies had no employees at all or have just general manage, who signed the documents with sub-contractors to start the building. Several such companies were registered on addresses of Sarajevo hotels but inspection didn’t find their offices./IBNA