UAE unveils Golden Card permanent residency scheme for expats

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The UAE has launched a permanent residency scheme for expatriates dubbed the ‘Golden Card, the country’s Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai announced on Tuesday.

The move will see permanent residency granted to “exceptional” professionals, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum said on Twitter.

He said about 6,800 will benefit from the scheme under the first round of applications.

“We launched a new “Golden Card” system to grant permanent residency to investors and exceptional doctors, engineers, scientists and artists,” Sheikh Mohammed said.

“Residents are an indispensable part of our country,” he added.

The Golden Card offers unprecedented benefits to the cardholders and their families while creating an attractive environment for business and growth.

“Throughout history, the UAE opened its door to millions of people looking for to pursue their dreams and better their lives. The Golden Card is our way to welcome all those seeking to be a part of the UAE’s success story and making it a second home,” said Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid.

The latest announcement comes after the UAE announced last year that it would grant five or 10-year residency visas to investors, entrepreneurs, specialists in the medical, scientific, research and technical fields, and ‘outstanding’ students to “facilitate business and create an attractive and encouraging investment environment” in the country.

It has already started issuing the longer-term visas to scientists as well as entrepreneurs and investors.

The UAE’s move also comes soon after Saudi Arabia implemented a ‘green card’-style residency scheme for expats.

The special residency scheme is aimed at attracting wealthy and high-skilled expats and will grant the special iqama (permit) holders residency without the need for a Saudi sponsor.

Under the law, the holder of such an iqama will have family status, can recruit workers, own and lease property and transport in the kingdom, can obtain visit visas for relatives, can freely enter and exit the country and will also have the use of designated queues at airports.

The fee for permit has been fixed at SAR800,000 ($213,333), local daily Saudi Gazette reported. A one-year temporary iqama will cost expats SAR100,000 ($26,666), the report quoted unnamed sources as saying.

Published on 21 May 2019

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