Dubai Ruler announces UAE Gold Card permanent residency scheme

HH Sheikh Mohammed says individuals with $27.2bn of investment will be included in first batch of recipients

HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
Dubai Media Office
HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, and Ruler of Dubai, has announced a Gold Card permanent residency scheme for certain investors and those with  “exceptional competencies” in the fields of medicine, engineering, science, and all arts.

According to the Dubai Ruler’s official Twitter handle, 6,800 investors with a total investment of $27.2bn (AED100bn) will make up the first batch of Gold Card permanent residency recipients.

In a separate Arabic-language tweet, HH Sheikh Mohammed said the Gold Card is also for distinguished individuals, exceptional talents, and anyone who contributes to the positive success story of the UAE, noting his desire for them to be permanent partners in the UAE’s ongoing journey.

The UAE is offering longer-term residency options for those with specific competencies or talents.

In May 2018, the UAE Cabinet approved a range of measure designed to boost the country's economy.

This included a decision to allow 100% foreign ownership of UAE-based companies for international investors, and offering residency visas of up to 10 years for investors, doctors, engineers, scientists, entrepreneurs, innovators, and other similarly highly specialised professionals.

Many UAE property developers applauded the move, largely aimed at attracting international investors and skilled workers.

March this year saw the UAE Cabinet, chaired by the Dubai Ruler, approve the regulatory framework for long-term residence visas applications in the specific professions.

Mechanical and electrical engineering experts were among the technical experts to be granted the first batch of the UAE's 10-year visas, as announced by state news agency Wam in January 2019.

Earlier this month, Saudi Arabia’s Cabinet – chaired by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud – approved the Privileged Iqama special residency system, which – for the first time – will allow some expats to live and work in Saudi Arabia without needing a local sponsor, or kafeel.

The move is a significant difference from Saudi's existing iqama – an Arabic translation of 'residence permit' – system, which requires residence visas to be granted by a local sponsor or employer to live and work in Saudi Arabia.

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