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UAE offers permanent residency for foreigners

Sheikh Muhammad Bin Rashid, vice-president and prime minister of the UAE and ruler of Dubai, announced the permanent residency system for foreigners. UAE will grant permanent residency to investors, exceptional professionals in various areas including medicine, engineering, and science in a bid to attract investment. Residency will be given to the people who will invest a hefty amount of money in UAE.

permanent residency

News Desk

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has launched a permanent residency under a new “Golden Card” system days after the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) approved Green Card-style residency for foreigners.

Sheikh Muhammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice-president and prime minister of the UAE and ruler of Dubai, announced the permanent residency system through his Twitter account on Tuesday.

Importantly, the law stated that foreign expatriates investing in Qatar would no longer be required to have a Qatari citizen as their partners.

Under the new Golden Card scheme, the UAE will grant permanent residency to investors, exceptional professionals in various areas including medicine, engineering, and science in a bid to attract investment.

“We launched a new “Golden Card” system to grant permanent residency to investors and exceptional doctors, engineers, scientists, and artists. The first batch of 6,800 investors with Dh100 billion worth of investments will be granted the “Golden Card,” Sheikh Muhammad announced.

Read more: KSA approves Green Card-style residence scheme for foreigners

“The permanent residency “Golden Card” will be granted to exceptional talents and everyone who positively contributes to the success story of the UAE. We want them to be permanent partners in our journey. Residents are an indispensable part of our country,” he said.

A week earlier, the UAE had also introduced a six-month multiple-entry interim visa for non-UAE residents seeking long-term investment visa in the Gulf state.

The government had announced plans last year to ease its visa policy as, typically, foreigners only get renewable visas valid for only a few years and often tied to employment.

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KSA approves Green Card-style residence scheme

On May 10, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia took a giant leap towards modernization by offering the Green Card-style residence system for foreigners aimed at attracting investors. Saudi Arabia’s Shoura Council had approved plans to attract entrepreneurs and investors from overseas with the new residency scheme.

The UAE has launched a permanent residency under a new “Golden Card” system days after the KSA approved Green Card-style residency for foreigners.

The Shura Council consisting of a 150-member parliament had approved the draft proposals and laws before referring the matter to Saudi Arabia’s King Salman for final approval. The KSA has decided to abolish decades-old Kafala system under which a migrant worker’s immigration status is legally bound to an individual employer or sponsor (Kafeel) during the contract period.

The move is an attempt to attract foreign skilled professionals and investors. With the approval of the scheme, a person would no longer be dependent upon someone to sponsor his/her travels to the kingdom. Finding a sponsor for travelling to Saudi Arabia has always been a barrier to enter the kingdom but it seems, the times are now changing.

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The Arab media had reported that the authorized draft of the new Privileged Iqama system would offer a raft of benefits to highly skilled expatriates and owners of capital funds. Residents would not require a Saudi sponsor or employer as is required under the current system.

The benefits on offer include the ability to recruit of workers; ownership of property and transport; employment in the private sector, commerce and industry and freedom of movement and exit from the Kingdom and return.

Saudi Arabia’s Shoura Council had approved plans to attract entrepreneurs and investors from overseas with the new residency scheme.

With a specific fee, a valid passport with a credit report, a health report and no criminal record, the new system would offer two categories: an extended iqama and a temporary one. Holders of new iqama will also have a family status and be entitled to use the processing service designated for Saudis at airports.

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Qatar first Gulf nation to grant permanent residency to expats

In September 2018, Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani had directed the government to grant permanent residency to 100 expatriates every year. With the announcement, Qatar had become the first Arab Gulf nation to allow long-time foreign residents to become permanent residents.

Under the scheme, it was ruled that priority would be given to children born to a Qatari mother and the foreign nationals who have lived in the country for more than 20 years. The offer was also extended for people considered “valuable” because of their skills. The benefits included social security as Qatari citizens, healthcare, education in government schools, entitled to own real estate and they would be given priority in government jobs.

Importantly, the law stated that foreign expatriates investing in Qatar would no longer be required to have a Qatari citizen as their partners.