Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum on Sunday declared that the United Arab Emirates announced that it is seeking to expand its 'golden visa' scheme under which individuals may obtain residency in the Gulf state for up to 10 years, granted they meet specific eligibility criteria.
The golden visa is a long-term residency programme that came into effect in May 2019 following approval from the Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai. Immediately after its launch, over 400 investors and businessmen, along with members of their families, were issued the visa, with several more being granted daily.
The visa class was originally drafted to be a permanent residency system however the General Directorate of Residency and Foreign Affairs later noted that it is actually a long-term, 10-year visa that is renewable.
A golden visa is a type of grant issued to wealthy individuals looking to trade significant investment into a country for the opportunity to reside within it. The system has often been used by governments to broaden their tax base. The UAE has emerged as an attractive destination for investors and entrepreneurs particularly for its business-friendly and tax-free environment.
The latest expansion of UAE's golden visa will now enable PhD holders who have studied from one of the top 500 universities in the world to apply for the grant. Under the new law, certified doctors can also obtain the visa as the country looks to meet the shortfall of resident medical professionals exposed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Engineers who have specialized in the fields of computers, electronics, programming electronics, active technology, electricals, AI and Big Data are also eligible for the visa.
The visa has also been extended to 'highly qualified individuals' who have received Grade Point Average (GPA) scores of 3.8 (out of 4) or higher from government-approved universities.
This also extends to scientists and researchers who are specialists in their chosen fields, as long as they have been accredited by the Emirates Scientists Council. Holders of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Medal for Scientific Excellence can also apply for the visa.
Inventors may also be eligible for the visa as long as they have obtained a patent of value that has shown to directly contribute to the UAE's economy. These patents must be approved by the country's Ministry of Economy.
Foreign investors who have invested, at least, Dh10 million can also apply for the golden visa irrespective of whether this investment comes via an investment fund, the setup of a company, the purchase of real-estate, or funding into strategic sectors.
Entrepreneurs that have injected capital equal to or over Dh500,000, or those who have been selected by accredited business incubators within the country, can obtain a renewable, multiple entry visa initially valid for six months.
Similar visas can also be obtained by secondary-school or university students with outstanding academic records (95 per cent or higher) residing both, within or outside the country. Long term visas can also be issued for families of these students.