Dubai: In a bid to boost economy, the United Arab Emirates on Sunday announced a new visa allowing foreigners to work in the country without being sponsored by an employer, loosening residency requirements, reported news agency AFP. Foreigners in the oil-rich UAE are generally only given limited visas tied to their employment, and long-term residency is difficult to obtain. But those holding the new “green visa” will be able to work without company sponsorship, and can sponsor their parents and children up to 25 years old, officials reportedly said.
“It targets highly skilled individuals, investors, businesspeople, entrepreneurs, as well exceptional students and postgraduates,” Minister of State for Foreign Trade Thani al-Zeyoudi was quoted as saying. Resource-rich Gulf countries such as the UAE are increasingly seeking to diversify their economies and reduce reliance on oil. The coronavirus pandemic has also impacted tourism and businesses in the UAE, whose economy was already slumping in recent years due to low oil prices.
Here are top 5 points to know from this big story:
- In 2019, the UAE launched the 10-year “Golden visa” to attract wealthy individuals and highly skilled workers, the first such scheme in the Gulf.
- Similar programmes have since been launched in other resource-rich Gulf countries, such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
- Riyadh said in June 2019 that it will offer permanent residency for 800,000 riyals ($213,000) and a one-year renewable residency costing 100,000 riyals, allowing expats to do business and buy property without a Saudi sponsor.
- Doha also flung open its property market to foreigners, with a scheme giving those buying homes or stores the right to longer-term or permanent residency permits.
- Foreigners account for 90 percent of the 10 million population in the UAE, the Arab world’s second-largest economy after neighbouring Saudi Arabia.
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