Dubai: Over and above salary and bonus packages, some businesses in the UAE are offering 10-year Golden Visas as part of their recruitment for key positions or specific skills. This could soon extend to employers in other sectors too as demand for talent hots up and more employees seek extended residency options in the country.
The Dubai-based real estate portal Property Finder is definitely seeking early mover advantage by adding a new benefit for fresh intakes of software/data engineers and those coming into leadership roles. “The addition of newcomers into the ambit is aligned with our quest to be the company that continues to provide superior practices to our talent and works hand-in-hand with Dubai’s vision of making this geography attractive for talent,” said Anuradha Challu, Chief People Officer at Property Finder. “We seize every opportunity that encourages Dubai’s efforts in revolutionising talent pools as well as be a hub for digital innovation.”
According to consultancies that specialise in executive search, businesses in the healthcare and tech space too are offering such options to their latest recruits. These offers, it is felt, would help secure these personnel – many of them new to the country – for much longer stays than they might have been planning on. “It’s a win-win if these new highly skilled entrants to the local workplace start thinking beyond the 3- or 5-year residency,” said a consultant with one of the biggest recruitment agencies in the city. “The Golden Visa thus becomes a powerful incentive when their new employers start offering.”
In its original form, the 10-year residency was linked to specific investments – totalling Dh10 million and above. Recently, that entry level requirement was lowered to Dh2 million, and could come into effect from September in Dubai. Already, developers such as Samana have been offering Golden Visa as part of their latest offplan launches.
Last year, several companies offered Golden Visa status to long-serving employees, which is when it became a job-linked incentive to retain talent. Now, it is becoming the tool to attract talent. “We certainly hope to inspire more companies to invest in their talent and raise the bar on employee experience and total rewards overall,” said Anuradha. For those eligible, Property Finder will cover the fees for the Golden Visa processing.
Golden Visa offers a solution to 100% foreign-owned businesses who may experience difficulties opening a labour and immigration file without a local partner or sponsor. It is not surprising that we are seeing an uptick of applications
A true surge for 10-year residency
Right from the moment, the revised qualification norms for applying and getting Golden Visas was announced, it set off an unprecedented rush among property investors and from the broader community. “The Golden Visa offers a self-sponsored solution to investors, professionals and students, among others, to live and work in the UAE without being tethered to an employer,” said Helen Barrett, Partner at CBD Corporate Services. “The criteria for eligibility is getting broader each day and enables the holder to sponsor his/her spouse and children.
“It also offers a solution to 100 per cent foreign-owned businesses who may experience difficulties opening a labour and immigration file without an Emirati partner or sponsor. So, it is not surprising that we are seeing an uptick of applications."
Help with HR costs - long-term
Robin Philip is founder and director of A&A Associate, a Dubai-based company that offers litigation, auditing and business setup consultancy. He reckons that some sectors have been quick to take the obvious advantages from extending the option to key personnel, or those they are planning to bring in. Long-term, there are benefits to be had for the employers too.
"While it remains a matter of huge pride for companies to have Golden Visa holders in their ranks, it also means long-term benefits in the form of reduced overall costs to the employer,” said Philip. “And with the recent announcement of special insurance packages for Golden Visa holders, that decision making will become a lot easier for many other employers who may still have been considering applying for the visa for certain staff.
And although this is true across industries, it is the hospitals that have leveraged the Golden Visa scheme the most.