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UAE Cabinet approves major overhaul of visa residency system

by Dubai Forum
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The UAE has confirmed major changes to the visa system, approved by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

The notification on Monday, by the UAE Government Media office, formally ratifies and adds details to the changes announced before the new year, aimed at strengthening the UAE’s position as an ideal destination to live, work, and invest.

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.

The new Entry and Residence Scheme offers 10 types of entry visas with simplified conditions and more benefits.

Major improvements include introducing a new 5-year residence visa to attract talent, 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.

Also on offer is a 5-year residency for skilled employees, without a sponsor or employer. 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.

In line with the growing importance of flexible work models, a 5-year residency for freelancers and self-employed individuals is offered 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 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.

Substantial amendments have been introduced to the Golden Residence Scheme to simplify eligibility criteria and expand the categories of beneficiaries.

The 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 a Golden Residence holder to sponsor his/her family members, including spouse and children regardless of their age, and to sponsor support service (domestic) workers without a limit on numbers. 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.


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