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The significance of the new UAE visa rules unpacked

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For the past few years, Dubai has become a famous travel destination for those looking for greener pasture and those looking for where to have the best vacation ever. Dubai has a relaxing atmosphere blended with both traditional and modern culture where everyone would love to call home. However, foreigners has been discouraged due to the strict visa policy adopted by Residency department in Dubai, and also the issue of temporary residential visa of two years.

Interestingly to know that a new visa policy is about to ensue to attracts foreigners of exceptional talent to the country in sector like healthcare, science, research and technology.


In the word of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, says the Cabinet had agreed to a new visa system to attract exceptional talent to this country in sectors such as science, health care, research and technology. Although no details have been given as to what the new visa will look like, this initiative seems to go hand-in-hand with the UAE’s strategy to build a country at the cutting edge of economic and social development. The Dubai Future Foundation and Government Accelerator Programme are shining examples of that ambition.

The United States has an O-1A visa for individuals with “extraordinary ability” in science, education or business. US immigration defines extraordinary ability as a level of expertise indicating that the person is one of the small percentages that has risen to the top of their field. Once someone qualified for this visa via a petitioner, employer or union group, there is no limit to how long they can remain in the US, although their status is subject to renewal.

You may be thinking: what are the advantages of this special visa versus a normal working visa? Well, for a lot of other visas you have to maintain an address in your home country to satisfy the authorities that you have a residence abroad. The UAE aspires to be a nation built on knowledge and innovation, but many expats feel like that their time in this country is limited or temporary and that makes it harder to achieve our goals. Why do I say that?

Well, to support that vision you need to incentivise the best and brightest from around the world to join us and help turn the dreams we have into reality. You need that exceptional talent to have a vested interest in the country – and for that to happen some policies need to change.

The UAE has the ability to attract the best and brightest, but the question is how do you get this talent to stay? How do you get them to see things through?

The thing with attracting the best and brightest from around the world is that they are the best and brightest wherever they live – that could be in the heart of the Silicon Valley, the financial district in London or among the natural beauty of Cape Town, for instance.

One of the original definitions of the word “home” is the place where one lives permanently. It’s a place where one is comfortable and where one can find peace.

Whenever I hear someone mention the word “home” it takes me back to a day when I was sitting on a panel called “happiness in the UAE”. One of the panellists, who was a long time resident of this country, was asked what change in the UAE would make him happiest. His response was simple: “The ability to call this country home.” It was a deep and heavy comment.

He elaborated by saying that he loved this country and that he could certainly see himself living here for the rest of his life, but due to the immigration rules that would be nearly impossible. Once his employment came to a halt so did his ability to call this country home.

What I am hopeful for is that this is the first step to a grander strategy for innovation and development around immigration policy.

The UAE has the vision, it has the energy, and it has the people who want to make things happen. What it needs now are people who are in it for the long haul, people who are ready to lay down their roots in the UAE and will be given the space to do so. For that, we need to give the people we attract and the people who live here the ability to call this country home.

Culled from


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