Income sufficient to support their families will be the only requirement for UAE expatriates to sponsor their family members as opposed to the previously listed 'professions', the UAE Cabinet has announced.
"The decision aims at enhancing family stability of foreign workers and social cohesion, as well as attracting highly skilled workers while maintaining a healthy balance between professional and personal life," a statement said.
Currently, men who are employed in the UAE can sponsor their immediate family members such as wife and children if he earns a monthly salary of Dh4,000 or Dh3,000 plus accommodation provided by his company. He also had to be employed in certain categories for him to be eligible to sponsor his family. For example, domestic helpers and certain other categories were not entitled to sponsor their families irrespective of their monthly income.
The decision aims at enhancing family stability of foreign workers and social cohesion, as well as attracting highly skilled workers while maintaining a healthy balance between professional and personal life"
Similarly, a female resident could sponsor her family only if she was a teacher, engineer or a health professional and earned Dh4,000 per month. If she worked in any other sector, she needed to have a minimum monthly salary of Dh10,000 and a special approval from the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs.
With the latest Cabinet announcement, the requirement for residents to have certain professions was scrapped. However, it is not clear if the salary threshold will change.
The Cabinet decision, the statement added, called on relevant government entities to conduct studies to assess and enhance the services provided to residents, including aspects of education and health, and encourage the active participation of their family member in the job market as an alternative to recruiting new workers from abroad, within the existing policies and regulations.
The Dubai International Financial Centre has invited its clients to nominate individuals for the new long-term residency visas approved by the UAE Cabinet last year in one of the first signs of the policies coming into effect.
"DIFC is always looking after the best interests of its community," a DIFC spokesperson told The National. "This is a great opportunity to give talent within the financial services sector the security to stay in the UAE and be a bigger part of its future."
In an email sent on Wednesday to the more than 2,000 entities registered within the free zone, the DIFC asked senior executives to identify and nominate people within their organisations who are eligible as "investors, entrepreneurs, high calibre and outstanding individuals" by April 3. The nomination can also be extended to the direct family members of the eligible individuals, which include their spouse and children. Successful applicants will be eligible for either a five or 10-year visa.
The new long-term visas, which can be renewed automatically, were announced in May last year. They allow expatriate residents to live, work and study in the UAE without the need of a national sponsor and with 100% ownership of their business.