Progress is impossible without change…George Bernard Shaw.
The statement was true few decades back and even truer today. UAE has always been a torch bearer of change and has accepted innovation and technology with open arms. Be it the digital adoption in the public sector, vision to transform 50 per cent of government transactions into the blockchain platform by 2021, aim to locally develop alternative energy sources to account for 50 per cent of its energy needs by 2050 and now the possibility of having long term visas for investors, entrepreneurs, specialized talents and students.
Subsequent to buzz in the media and business circles, Cabinet Decision 56 of 2018 (the Decision) has been published in the Gazette on 03 rd February 2019 officially enforcing and Regulating the Residence Permits for Investors, Entrepreneurs and Specialized Talents (Resolution), which was first published in November 2018.
The Resolution sets out the criteria for the various categories of expatriates entitled to apply for a long-term residence visa as the following four categories of persons in the UAE:
1. Fund investor / UAE company investor / UAE property investor – those investing at least AED 10 million into UAE companies and investments are eligible for a renewable 10-year residence visa. Those investing at least AED 5 million into property in the UAE are eligible for a renewable 5-year residence visa. The amount invested should be wholly owned by the investor and not loaned and proven by supporting documents. Furthermore, it is mandated that the investment should be retained for at least three years. The long-term visa can also be extended to include the spouse, children, as well as one executive director and advisor, subject to the approval of the authorities;
2. Entrepreneurs – those owners of previous projects worth AED 500,000 of a “technical or future” nature and who desire to start a business in the UAE are eligible for a renewable 5-year residence visa. The visa in this case can also be extended to include the spouse, children, as well as three executive directors, subject to the approval of the authorities;
3. Specialized Talents – those with “excellence, skills, leadership or outstanding performance and talent in the fields of science and knowledge” and who desire to work in the UAE are eligible for a renewable 10-year residence visa. The Resolution lists certain roles, including Physicians; Scientists; Creative Intellectuals and Artists; Inventors; Elites; and Executives;
4. Students – those students with extremely high attainments in prior exams and “promising scientific potential” who desire to study in the UAE are eligible for a renewable 5-year residence visa. The application shall be evaluated by two committees for the long-term visas according to the criteria set out above and as amended from time to time.
To sum up the long-term visa system looks to increase the inflow of expatriates in the back drop of Expo 2020. The Resolution does provide a degree of certainty and longevity for prospective investors, entrepreneurs, talented individuals, and students to both migrate, and commit, to the UAE on a long-term basis.
The authority has started accepting applications from 03 February 2019 and a total of 20 visas have been granted to recent honourees of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Award for Scientific Excellence.
The new Resolution officially coming into force is a welcome move and we look forward to see how it will pan out in practice as more details are awaited.
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