Investors and specialists such as doctors and engineers will receive UAE residency visas valid for up to 10 years, it was announced on Sunday.
The families of these categories of expatriates will also receive the same visa validity. Top performing students are also eligible for the 10-year residency visa scheme.
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, announced the decision after chairing a Cabinet meeting.
10-year residency visas; 100% foreign ownership
Taking to Twitter, Sheikh Mohammed also said global investors can have 100 per cent ownership of their companies in the country.
The system will grant investors and talents up to 10-year residency visas for specialists in medical, scientific, research and technical fields, as well as for all scientists and innovators, entrepreneurs and innovators as well as five-year residency visas for students studying in the UAE, and 10-year visas for exceptional students.
.@HHShkMohd chairs #UAE Cabinet meeting & announces decisions allowing 100% ownership of UAE-based enterprises for int’l investors, residency visas for up to 10 years for investors & professionals (doctors, engineers, etc.) and their families in addition to grade ‘A’ students. pic.twitter.com/hb3MSzwmnE— WAM News / English (@WAMNEWS_ENG) May 20, 2018
The aim is to make UAE an incubator for creators and a destination for investors.
Visa extension for students
The UAE Vice-President has directed the bodies concerned to implement the decisions by the end of the year. He has also directed them to review the current residence visa scheme to extend the duration of the visa validity of dependents after they complete their university studies "to ease up their future residence in the UAE".
This will give them the opportunity to study their practical options in the future.
.@HHShkMohd orders concerned Gov’t entities to implement decisions before the end of 2018. His Highness also orders extension of residency for students sponsored by their parents after completion of their graduate studies to allow for ample time to decide on career paths. #UAE pic.twitter.com/d3bgo6vMRV— WAM News / English (@WAMNEWS_ENG) May 20, 2018
.@HHShkMohd: The #UAE offers an open & tolerant living environment, deeply rooted values, and excellent infrastructure. Our flexible regulations attract int’l investments & exceptional talent… #UAE will always shine as the land of opportunities. pic.twitter.com/oQ895DeHZs— WAM News / English (@WAMNEWS_ENG) May 20, 2018
"The UAE will remain an incubator for innovators and a hub for investors," Sheikh Mohammed tweeted. "Our open environment, tolerant values, infrastructure and flexible legislations constitute the best plan to attract global investments and exceptional talents. The UAE will remain a land of opportunities. It is the best environment to realise the dreams of humans and unleash their exceptional potentialities."
Sheikh Mohammed tweeted late Sunday night that the decision will be enforced by third quarter of this year:
This decision will be enforced by third quarter this year .— HH Sheikh Mohammed (@HHShkMohd) May 20, 2018
Our open society, tolerant values, excellent infrastructure and flexible legislation offer the best environment for international investment and exceptional talent. pic.twitter.com/kdOVX02q4L
Business owners upbeat in UAE
Business owners and industry experts have hailed the 10-year visa scheme.
Yusuffali MA, chairman of Lulu Group, said "This is a landmark announcement (and is) sure to further boost the UAE's image as the most investor-friendly economy in the region.
"This new long-term visa will go a long way in attracting and retaining not only investors but also top notch professionals who are very essential in today's highly competitive world."
Rizwan Sajan, chairman and founder of Danube Group, said Indians like him have invested a lot of money in the UAE. "This (move) boosts the trust and confidence which we already have in the UAE. We are thankful to Sheikh Mohammed for this initiative, which will surely boost the economy."
Atik Munshi, senior partner, Crowe Horwath, termed the move an "incredible development to attract investments".
"The 10-year visa is not only incredibly attractive, but also has come at the right time when the UAE is looking to enhance its investor community. This will build up enormous confidence for the investors who want to make the UAE their home," Munshi told Khaleej Times.
Pakistan Business Council (Dubai) president Ahmad Shaikhani said the move would benefit the UAE economy in general and the property sector in particular. "I hope it would be extended to all businesses," Shaikhani said.
Kamal Vachani, Director Al Maya Group, said: "10-year visa - this is great news as it will further boost the confidence of investors. UAE has always been in the forefront of taking pragmatic, business friendly and investor friendly decisions.
"We are very excited and indeed very happy with this announcement, and congratulate UAE's leaders for this investor friendly decision.
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