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Mon 21 Jan 2019 11:44 AM

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UAE to accept long term visa applications from February 3

Two committees formed as part of the resolution will evaluate candidates for the visas, one for investors and the other for entrepreneurs, scientists and specialised talent

UAE to accept long term visa applications from February 3
A total of 20 visas have already been granted to recent honorees of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Award for Scientific Excellence.

The UAE will officially begin accepting applications toward 10-year residency visas for expats, investors and businesspeople from February 3, Arabian Business has learned.

Approved by the UAE cabinet through a resolution in November 2018, the long term visa system is an effort to attract and retain high skilled talent to the country’s shores similar to initiatives in developed world countries such as the H1B programme in the United States.

A total of 20 visas have already been granted to recent honorees of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Award for Scientific Excellence. The names were announced last week and included 19 professors, all of whom were leaders in their fields and resident in the UAE.

“The implementation date [was] specified to be February 3 for the programme, and that is when applicants from across the UAE will be able to apply for the visas,” Murtaza Khan, a partner at international immigration firm Fragomen, said in an interview yesterday.

Two committees formed as part of the resolution will evaluate candidates for the visas, one for investors and the other for entrepreneurs, scientists and specialised talent.

The committees will adjudicate according to criteria set out in the regulations that are outlined below.

“It is important to note that the criteria outlined are only the minimums that candidates need to meet,” said Khan. “For instance skilled executives in the country often earn well in excess of AED 40,000, yet the regulation calls for salaries to cross a threshold of AED 30,000.”

There are also a few more clarifications yet to be outlined. For instance, entrepreneurs could be granted visas if they own a running business worth AED 500,000.

However, it is unclear whether startups claiming intellectual property worth that amount would also be able to fulfill that requirement.

It is unclear how many long term residency visas the UAE will grant, according to Khan.

“There has been no indication of a cap at which residency visa applications will stop being received,” he said.

Arabian Business reached out to the UAE’s General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs Ministry but was unable to reach an official for comment.

Investors:

• Investors and their families, including spouse and children will be eligible for the visas.
• Investors must invest minimum of AED 10 million in the UAE.
• Property investors must invest minimum of AED 5 million (in one or more properties; it can't be mortgaged).
• Health insurance is mandatory for the investor and any dependents he/she sponsors.
• Investors will be granted a 10-year visa.
• Property investors will be granted a 5-year visa.
• A multi-entry visa with a validity of six months will be issued to investors in order to facilitate the procedures of completing their business in the UAE; this visa is renewable.
• Investors are eligible to request the ICA to issue a 10-year visa for either an Executive Manager or a Consultant (and their families) working for the company under the investor's ownership. This is subject to a special committee's approval.

Entrepreneurs:

• Entrepreneurs and their families, including spouse and children will be eligible for the visas.
• Entrepreneurs will be granted a 5-year visa.
• To qualify, an entrepreneur must obtain approval of an accredited business incubator in the UAE, or own a previous successful business worth a minimum of AED half million.
• Entrepreneurs are eligible to request the ICA to issue a 5-year visa for three Executive Directors working for the company under the entrepreneur's ownership. This is subject to a special committee's approval.
• Entrepreneurs will be eligible to sponsor one domestic helper.
• A multi-entry visa with a validity of six months will be issued to entrepreneurs in order to facilitate the procedures of completing their business in the UAE.

Talents:

• Specialized talents and researches in various fields of science and knowledge (from all academic disciplines), and their families, including spouse and children will be eligible for the visas.
• They will be granted a 10-year visa.
• The eligible categories include: doctors, specialists, scientists, exceptional talents, executives and specialists in the educational disciplines. There are specific conditions to be fulfilled by each of these categories to qualify.
• Executives may be granted this visa is they have a minimum bachelor's degree, have a minimum professional experience of five years, earn a minimum salary of AED 30K, have a valid employment contract in the UAE and health insurance.
• The above categories will be eligible to sponsor one domestic helper.
• A multi-entry visa with a validity of six months will be issued to these categories of applicants in order to facilitate the procedures of completing their business in the UAE.