The United Arab Emirates has officially launched a permanent residency system for investors and professionals in the fields of medicine, engineering and science.
The first permanent visas, or "Golden Cards", will be issued to more than 6,800 foreign investors whose total investments into the country exceed $27bn, (AED 100bn).
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, vice president and prime minister of the UAE and ruler of Dubai (pictured) yesterday officially launched the permanent residency system.
It is really a very good initiative for the investors who bring up the economy. This will encourage more investors."
Al-Maktoum said: "Today, we have launched the permanent residency system - "Golden Card". The Golden Card will be granted for distinguished individuals, exceptional talents and anyone who contributes positively to the success story of the UAE. We want them to be permanent partners going hand in hand with us in our journey. All residents in the UAE are our brothers and part of our great family in the UAE".
In January this year, the cabinet of the UAE approved the regulatory framework for the issuance of long-term residence permits to investors and entrepreneurs who have settled in the country. The UAE has begun granting visas for five- and 10-year sojourns in the UAE as residents, in a scheme equivalent to the American Green Card system.
Today the first Indians to benefit from the long-term visa scheme were granted 10-year visas. The new visas were issued to Vasu Shroff, chairman of the Regal Group of Companies, and Khushi Khatwani, managing director of the Khushi Group of Companies and Al Nisr Cinema.
The visas are issued by the Dubai-based government agency, the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners' Affairs (GDRFA).
Shroff told Gulf News' reporter: "It is really a very good initiative for the investors who bring up the economy. This will encourage more investors to make investments here. People from around the world are waiting for Expo 2020. With such encouragement from the government 2020 will prove we are one of the best countries in the world."
The efforts to encourage expats to stay longer come as several fellow GCC member states, including Oman, which banned new visas altogether earlier this month, have taken steps to reduce the number of expatriates living and working in their countries. Saudi Arabia is also in the midst of a drive to boost "Saudisation" of the economy. Thousands of expats have left the Kingdom over the past two years.
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