The UAE’s announcement of a 10-year visa for investors and professionals, along with a slew of other pivotal changes that will further boost the economy, is a laudable move that once again provides irrefutable evidence of the visionary leadership of the country.
The new visa system will grant investors and talents including specialists in medical, scientific, research and technical fields, as well as innovators, a long-term visa for up to 10 years. In another major policy shift, international investors will be able to enjoy a 100 per cent ownership of enterprises, a reality that will be in place by the end of the year.
The changes also include a five-year residency visas for students, and 10-year visas for exceptional students. Additionally, the UAE Cabinet also issued instructions to conduct a review of the residency system with a view to extending residency permits for those sponsored by their parents after completing their university studies to facilitate their future residence in the UAE.
These path-breaking decisions, underscored by UAE’s legendary farsightedness and goal-orientation, aim to help the country bedrock its position as a primary destination for international investors and top talent from around the world.
The UAE’s progressive policies have rigorously addressed every bandwidth in the full spectrum of domains down the decades.
From the economic, humanitarian, social and administrative fields to health, education, culture and human resource optimisation, the UAE has always been a step ahead of the demands of the time and these new policies will take their place as catalysts par excellence for its future.
The key to creating a truly effective knowledge-based economy is to not only attract top talent but to also retain it with the right incentives and environment at the right time. This is what separates the leaders from the followers, as a nation is galvanised to stay competitively ahead in a league of equals. For example, in April, the Dubai government announced policy changes related to exempting businesses from fines and trade violations, reducing operational costs in the retail sector, supporting local production and procurement, as well as attracting the best start-ups to Dubai and promoting them.
A salient aspect of these reforms was the proposal to set up a consultative council to enhance the contribution of international companies in shaping the legislative atmosphere and investing in infrastructure as well as boosting their role in building the local economy while focusing on creative industries.
This is by any yardstick a fundamentally transformational vision for the country’s economy.
Other propulsive policies recently include a decision by both the UAE Federal government and Government of Dubai to freeze government fees while the Abu Dhabi Executive Council and the Cabinet are working on series of amendments to the residency system and laws governing foreign companies to boost investment in the emirates. As can be deduced, there is a clear synergy at work in the way the various aspects of governance are converging towards a singular goal — to make the UAE home for the best forms of creativity and innovation in the world.
A commendable aspect of this vision is embodied in the changes in the student visa policy, for example. By granting a visa of up to 5 years, along with the a 10-year visa option for high-achieving students, it will lead to strengthening the foundation for UAE’s knowledge economy architecture by expanding possibilities for human resource excellence.
The intent to draw the best brains from around the world to make the UAE a crucible of creativity and contribution, including young minds who aspire to do undertake their learning in UAE’s premier educational institutions, has always earned the UAE international appreciation and respect.
The global investors’ ownership of UAE-based businesses, which is expected to reach 100 per cent by the end of the year, is a clear indication of the country’s ability to rethink its approach to doing business on an ongoing basis. By offering international investors the opportunity to entirely steer their ship on their own, the UAE is enhancing its investor-friendly profile exponentially that will yield rich dividends, tangible as well as intangible.
As His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-president and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai tweeted, following the announcement of the Cabinet decision on Sunday, “Our open environment, tolerant values, infrastructure and flexible legislation are the best plan to attract global investment and exceptional talents to the UAE”.
Many a country has aspired to this end with variable results, but the UAE is advantaged by a breathtaking array of pluses — world-class infrastructure, state-of-the-art technology, high ease of doing business rankings, unmatched geographical accessibility, smart governance, superlative facilities and enviable global mix of nationalities, to name some.
Every one of these advantages will work towards creating fertile ground for the new policies to take root and soon bear fruits of sweet success.