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UAE, Saudi Arabia's visa expansion schemes attracting top talent

Researchers, scientists, doctors, and investors, among recipients of 2,500 Permanent Golden Residency visas issued in Nov. 2019

UAE’s Gold Card permanent residency was launched in May 2019.
Shutterstock / CW archives
UAE’s Gold Card permanent residency was launched in May 2019.

Both the UAE and Saudi Arabia are making it easier for foreign nationals to reside in the GCC, and with latest visa system expansion schemes the countries have issued, more talented individuals are set to make them their second home.

In May 2019, HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, announced the long-term residence visa under the Gold Card permanent residency scheme for certain investors, and people with “exceptional competencies” in the fields of medicine, engineering, science, and the arts.

Following the move, the first Gold Card permanent residency was issued to Indian-born chairman of retail giant Lulu Group and board member of Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Yusuff Ali M A.

Earlier this month, HH Sheikh Mohammed revealed that the UAE’s Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship has granted 2,500 Permanent Golden Residency to researchers, scientists, doctors, and investors in the country.

The Gold Card visas were issued to scientists during a ceremony attended by the Dubai Ruler alongside Crown Prince of Dubai, HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohamed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. 

Commenting on the move, Sheikh Mohammed said on his Twitter account at the time: “We celebrate the first batch of scientists, researchers and doctors who were granted permanent residence in the UAE. They include 2,500 scientists, researchers, innovators and investors. We welcome them.”

Supporting the UAE’s long-term residency visa scheme, the Dubai Chamber of Commerce has rolled out the “Be Part of Dubai” initiative to grant UAE Golden Residency visas to renowned businessmen in cooperation with the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) and the Dubai Free Zone Council by signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU).

According to the Dubai Chamber, the MoU supports ongoing efforts to attract and retain high net worth investors from Africa by providing them with an easy and streamlined way to obtain long-term residency visas in the country. 

Similarly, Saudi Arabia’s Premium Residency Centre granted “premium residency” to its first batch of applicants, which included doctors, investors, and people willing to settle in the kingdom with their families.

The premium residency, which rubs off the need for a Kafeel — Arabic for sponsor or guarantor, was issued to 73 foreigners from 19 nationalities, earlier, in November, in line with Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Investment Law.

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Construction Week - Issue 764
May 31, 2020