- The UAE cabinet has approved new regulations regarding the entry and residence of foreigners, in an attempt to attract and retain global talent and skilled workers from all over the world.
- The new system includes several visa schemes including the golden residence for entrepreneurs, scientists, exceptional talent, skilled workers and investors. Under the new visa scheme, entrepreneurs will be eligible for the 10-year Golden Visa.
- The new law will come into force after 90 days from the date of its publication in the Official Gazette.
The UAE Cabinet, headed by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, has approved the executive regulations of the Federal Decree-Law on Entry and Residence of Foreigners aimed at strengthening the UAE's position as an ideal destination to live, work, and invest.
The executive regulations provide comprehensive information on the types and conditions of entry visas and residence permits. The new system of entry and residence aims at attracting and retaining global talents and skilled workers from all over the world, boosting the competitiveness and flexibility of the job market and fostering a high sense of stability among UAE residents and families.
Substantial amendments are introduced to the Golden Residence Scheme to simplify the eligibility criteria and expand the categories of beneficiaries. This long-term 10-year residence is granted to investors, entrepreneurs, exceptional talents, scientists and professionals, outstanding students and graduates, humanitarian pioneers and frontline heroes.
The amendments allow the Golden Residence holder to sponsor his/ her family members, including spouse and children regardless of their age, and to sponsor support services (domestic) labourers without limiting their number. Furthermore, there is no restriction related to the maximum duration of stay outside the UAE in order to keep the Golden Residence valid.
There are other benefits for family members that allow them to stay in the UAE in the event of the death of the original holder of the Golden Residence until the end of their permit duration.
Golden Residence for Entrepreneurs
The executive regulations set flexible requirements for entrepreneurs eligible to obtain the Golden Residence; an entrepreneur should own or be a partner in a startup registered in the country in the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) category and generates annual revenues of not less than AED1 million.
In addition, obtaining approval for a startup idea from an official business incubator or from the Ministry of Economy or the competent local authorities is sufficient to obtain the Golden Residence in this category.
Moreover, if the person is a founder (one of the founders) of a previous entrepreneurial project(s) that was sold for a total of not less than AED7 million, he/she will be entitled to the Golden Residence. The approval of the Ministry of Economy or the competent local authorities is required for projects or ideas.
New Residence Types with Unparalleled Benefits
Major improvements include introducing new 5-years residence tracks to attract talents, skilled professionals, freelancers, investors and entrepreneurs. More benefits are offered to facilitate family members residence, and longer flexible grace periods that reach up to 6 months to stay in the country after the residence permit is cancelled or expired, in addition to facilitating and simplifying the requirements of all residence types.
Green Residence for Skilled Employees
This new track provides a 5-year residency for skilled employees, without a sponsor or employer. The applicants should have a valid employment contract and should be classified in the first, second or third occupational level as per the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation. The minimum educational level must be a bachelor’s degree or equivalent, and the salary should not be less than AED15,000.
Green Residence for Freelancing and Self-Employment
In line with the growing importance of flexible work models, this track provides a 5-year residency for freelancers and self-employed individuals without requiring a sponsor or employer in the UAE. It requires obtaining a freelance/ self-employment permit from the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation, the minimum educational level should be a bachelor’s degree or specialised diploma, and the annual income from self-employment for the previous two years should not be less than AED360,000, or that the applicant proves financial solvency throughout his/her stay in the country.
Green Residence for Investor or Partner
This residence permit is introduced to encourage investment, providing 5-year residency for investors establishing or participating in commercial activities. It replaces the previous residence that was valid for 2 years only. Requirements include approval of the investment and proof of investment. If the investor (partner) has more than one licence, the total invested capital will be calculated. Approval of the competent local authorities is mandatory.
New System for Entry Visas
The new system offers UAE visitors a variety of visa types for different visit purposes. New types of visas are introduced without requiring a host or sponsor for the first time. Major improvements include facilitating the entry requirements for all visa types, offering flexible visa durations that meet the needs of the visitors and the purpose of the visit. In addition, all entry visas are available for single or multiple entries and can be renewed for a similar period(s) and are valid for 60 days from their issuance date.
Business Entry Visa
This type enables easy entry without requiring sponsors or hosts to encourage investors and entrepreneurs to explore business and investment opportunities in the UAE.
The executive regulations of the Federal Decree-Law on Entry and Residence of Foreigners shall come into force after ninety days from the date of its publication in the Official Gazette.