UAE launches GREEN VISA initiative as it relaxes residency requirements

The United Arab Emirates, as part of the nascent set of 50 new initiatives and projects, have revealed the launch of the new green visa. This is part of the “Projects of the 50”, which is a series of development and economic projects to be rolled out in the month of September 2021 to celebrate the Emirate\s Golden Jubilee. The projects are aimed at accelerating the pace of the nation’s economic development to attract investors and talented individuals

The Green Visa is designed to allow foreigner to reside and work in the UAE without the need for sponsorship by an employer. This would effectively loosen the stringent residency requirements for expats and burgeon the economy.

Hitherto expats were given limited residency permits and visa contingent on sponsorship by an employer. The chances of long term residency in UAE is infamously slim. Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, the UAE’s Minister of State for Foreign Trade, revealed the official launch of the green visa initiative, stating that it will be accessible by entrepreneurs, investors, highly skilled individuals as well as high performing graduates and students.

Holders of this visa will be allowed to sponsor their parents as wekk as their sons until the age of 25. The current age limit is 18. Furthermore, green visa holders will be allowed a grace period of between 90 to 180 days to reside in the country once their visa is cancelled due to termination of employment or retirement. This is an upgrade on the current grace period of just 30 days.

The new regulations concomitant with the green visa will also inculcate expansions on the golden visa eligibility to include CEO’s, managers, STEM specialists and healthcare workers. The GOLDEN VISA was launched by the oil rich state in 2019 in a move to attract wealth individuals and highly skilled workers. Saudi Arabia and Qatar are the two other Gulf countries to have launched programmes in similitude to the UAE’s GOLDEN VISA.

A statement by a Government representative revealed that the measures are being introduced in order to boos the competitiveness and flexibility of the labour market of the UAE while facilitating sector growth as well as augmenting the development and transfer of skills. This is aimed at improving the security and stability for residents of the Gulf nation.

The expat population in the UAE is currently around 8.84 million which constitutes rought 89% of the country’s population. There are currently just over 1 million nationals domiciled in what is the second biggest economy in the Arab world just behind Saudi Arabia. The UAE boasts a GDP of around 37,749 USD per capita.

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