UAE visa
'Welcome to the UAE..." - The Golden Visa program for entrepreneurs - and 'non-skilled' professionals - are helping win over a new base of residents to the country. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

Dubai: ‘Entrepreneurs – Welcome to the UAE’.

The UAE’s Golden Visa initiative to be the natural destination for entrepreneurs and their businesses has been hitting its targets. More so, when linked to some of the other progams launched by the various emirates.

For a new entity, especially those operating with limited personnel, not having an office for those 12 months represent a major saving.

In Abu Dhabi, the ‘opportunity to open a business without the need to spend on office space for the first year (of operations) would be an additional incentive.

- Simon Gordon, Managing Director for Sovereign Corporate Services.

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Cost of doing business

There are also free zones in the country that have ‘reduced’ the initial cost of launching operations for their new tenants, either through direct reduction on the lease terms or through one-off incentives. And consultancies that specialise in business set ups suggest there could be more of these as the various authorities reassure business owners about the cost of operations.

“What the UAE has done is build on the Golden Visa program for business owners,” said a consultant. “The take-up rates for entrepreneur-linked long-term resident visas have been significant. Through cost reduction offers, a new wave of entrepreneurs can be attracted.”

Helping businesses – and more so the new entrants - manage costs has become a top priority for the authorities, especially as other global investment destinations are aggressively pursuing prospective clients.

"The UAE’s focus on helping businesses manage costs has been instrumental in making the Golden Visa compete against the most attractive global investment options. Along with ease of launching a new business, cost is the deciding factor in convincing a new business to launch here."

Widening the Golden Visa coverage

  1. Of the categories available, each comes with varying subcategories.
  2. The investor category is split between 'real estate' and 'public' investments.
  3. The 'outstanding students'' category has been expanded to include graduates.
  4. Under 'outstanding specialised talents', there can be doctors, athletes, scientists, those involved in humanitarian work, etc.

What entrepreneurs need

Under the entrepreneur category, the candidate for the Golden Visa must provide an approval letter from an auditor in the UAE stating the (investment) value is not less than Dh500,000,” said Libbie Burtinshaw, head of Operations at PRO Partner Group.

“There are a number of Golden Visa categories and routes applicants can opt for to obtain longer-term residency. Of these, there are a few which could be regarded - from a qualification perspective - as non-skilled professionals.”

Arts and academia

According to Libbie, “Golden Visa categories that don’t necessarily require an attested degree include entrepreneurs - and for other outstanding specialised talents in culture or arts.

“We have processed successful Golden Visas for residents in the investment category, and most recently in the outstanding students’ category.”

Some UAE residents may find that they easily qualify for these visas through their on-going contributions to the local economy, or their successes in academia.

- Libbie Burtinshaw - Head of Operations, PRO Partner Group

For those in the creative fields, a successful applicant would be based on their ‘portfolio and an approval letter from the culture and arts authority in the respective emirate’. This would demonstrate ‘there are Golden Visa possibilities for candidates that do not necessarily require financial backing’, said Libbie.