Dubai’s status as one of the world’s most popular investment destinations is set to be further enhanced following the launch of a new UAE government scheme that rewards wealthy investors with permanent residency in the emirates.
In launching the Golden Card system, UAE authorities have initially granted 6,800 foreigners – who have invested a combined AED100 billion ($27 billion) in the emirates – permanent residency in the country.
Announcing the initiative in a series of tweets published on 21 May, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, wrote: “We launched a new Golden Card system to grant permanent residency to investors and exceptional doctors, engineers, scientists and artists.
“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.”
The launch of the Golden Card system follows other immigration initiatives designed to raise the UAE’s appeal to investors keen to establish roots in the country.
In May 2018, the government announced it would start offering investors, entrepreneurs and highly-skilled workers the option of applying for 10-year residency visas, while also allowing 100 percent foreign ownership of new businesses being set up in the country.
Previously, 100 percent foreign ownership was restricted to freezones located across the UAE.
Long-term visas have also been made available to students studying at UAE universities to encourage them to forge post-graduate careers in the country.
"The UAE will remain a global incubator for exceptional talents and a permanent destination for international investors,” said Sheikh Mohammed at the time.
“Our open environment, tolerant values, infrastructure and flexible legislation are the best plan to attract global investment and exceptional talents in the UAE."