Freelancers, self-employed people, and investors would now be allowed to stay in the UAE for five years.
The cabinet of the United Arab Emirates, where expatriates make up about 80 percent of the country's population, has approved a new system to regulate the entry and residence of foreigners. According to the UAE government, the decision to develop a new mechanism has been taken to give a bigger stake to expatriates in the country's economy.
"The new system of entry and residence aims at attracting and retaining global talents and skilled workers from all over the world, and boosting the competitiveness and flexibility of the job market and fostering a high sense of stability among UAE residents and families," said a communique issued by the UAE government.
Here's how the new system will work
In the UAE, a 10-year residence is granted to "investors, entrepreneurs, exceptional talents, scientists and professionals, outstanding students and graduates, humanitarian pioneers, and the first-line heroes". This scheme is called the "golden residence scheme". Now, amendments have been made to this scheme to simplify its eligibility criteria and expand the categories of beneficiaries. For instance, beneficiaries of the golden residence scheme can now live with their families in the UAE.
Also, this "golden residence" will now remain valid even if an individual chooses to stay outside of the UAE for most of the time during the given 10 years. Real estate investors who purchase a property of 2 million dirhams ($544,500) or more would now be given the benefits of the golden residence scheme.
Besides, freelancers, self-employed people, and investors who establish or participate in commercial activities would now be allowed to stay in the UAE for five years under a "green residence" program. Earlier, such people were allowed to stay in the country for two years. The change in the norm has been made to attract "talents, skilled professionals, freelancers, investors, and entrepreneurs".
The country has also simplified its visa norms. The first-time entrants would not require a host or sponsor for the first time. According to the new norms, all entry visas are available for single entry or multiple entries. Such visas are valid for 60 days from their issuance date but can be renewed.
Further, those coming to the UAE to seek a job opportunity would also not require a sponsor or a host. The UAE's Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation would allow anyone with a minimum education level of a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent to enter the country and look for jobs. Such people would be classified in the first or second or third skill level.
Similarly, people who want to come to the UAE to explore business and investment opportunities in the country can now do so without requiring a sponsor or host. The move aims at encouraging investors and entrepreneurs to come to the country.
As for tourists, the UAE cabinet has decided to roll out a 5-year multi-entry visa. A tourist would not require a sponsor but the person needs to have a bank balance of $4,000 or its equivalent.
(Edited by : Sudarsanan Mani)
First Published: IST