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Dr. B.R. Shetty, founder of NMC Healthcare Image Credit: Ahmed Kutty/ Gulf News

Dubai: His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, on Tuesday launched a new UAE permanent residency system, dubbed the “Gold Card".

The first batch of beneficiaries will include 6,800 investors whose total investments exceed Dh100 billion.

Here, prominent UAE expats and businesspeople give their reactions to the new long-term residency system.

Dr Azad Moopen, 
founder chairman and managing director, Aster DM Healthcare

“It has been a long-felt desire of the expat community to stay here permanently as many of them consider UAE as home. The Gold Card is a huge leap forward in line with the green card in the US and permanent resident cards in Australia and Singapore. The prospect of permanent residency will prompt people to come to the UAE and establish businesses. This will in turn improve the economy and increase employment opportunities.”

Story of Dr. Azad Moopen
Story of Dr. Azad Moopen Image Credit: Supplied

Dr B.R. Shetty, 
founder and chairman, 
NMC Healthcare

“We are committed to the country and work towards the benefit of the country till our last blood. The country has given so much and we are ready to sacrifice for the benefit of the country and for its development. We are very happy with the decision. This is a good opportunity for investors.”

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B.R. Shetty is a multi-billionaire non-resident Indian (NRI) who has dedicated a large part of his life building an empire of healthcare facilities and other companies in the country. Forbes set his personal net worth at a whopping $4.2 billion in August 2018. Image Credit: Ahmed Kutty/ Gulf News

Rizwan Sajan, 
founder and chairman, Danube Group

“We should be thankful to the visionary leaders of UAE for their timely decisions. This is wonderful news for all the residents and this decision will bring so much more trust and confidence in investors who have invested huge money in the UAE. Additionally it will strengthen the personal loyalty of the expatriates to the UAE and encourage them to invest in their future.”

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Kamal Vachani,
 group director, Al Maya

“We are indeed very delighted by the Gold Card scheme. This is great news and it will help attract investments and retain talented people who have contributed to the growth and development of the UAE.”

Shamsheer Vayalil
, chairman and managing director of VPS Healthcare

“I am optimistic of the permanent residency. We are waiting for further details on this. It is an early Eid gift for UAE investors. It will encourage investors to do more for this country and boost the growth of the nation.”

Chawqui Derradji, 
CEO, Siadah Development

“Investments from the country will not migrate to any other emerging market and it will stay within the UAE to boost real estate as well as other sectors in the country. The decision will also give more confidence to the new funds entering the market.”

Dr Paul Macnamara, 
consultant orthopaedic surgeon, Medcare Orthopaedics and Spine Hospital

“This will provide stability, continuity and consistency in jobs. From a doctor’s point of view, it is great to tell patients you will be with them long-term. The benefits of continuity of care extend well beyond reducing hospital admissions and include better patient satisfaction. Other benefits include better adherence to medical advice and greater trust. I am indeed thinking of applying for the scheme as my family is already settled here in every way.”

Sunny Varkey, founder and chairman, GEMS Education

“The Gold Card is a significant initiative that will further cement the sense of belonging of people from all over the world in the UAE. It will also help attract more investment and top talent to the country. For several expatriates who have been part and parcel of the nation’s growth for decades this brings tremendous cheer. Permanent residency will further inspire trust and confidence in this nation.”

Sunny Varkey
Sunny Varkey, the founder of Global Education and Skills Forum (GESF), speaks at the opening session of GESF at Atlantis Hotel, Dubai. Image Credit: Clint Egbert/ Gulf News

Ramesh Shukla
, veteran Indian photographer

“I already consider Dubai as my permanent home. When I came here only people from 20 countries used to be here. Now there are people of more than 200 countries who have contributed for the growth of this country. In this day of technology, automation and artificial intelligence, what stands apart is the creative mind in both arts and science. So it is crucial that each country retain the talent which fuels growth.”

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Ramesh Shukla, one-time Royal photographer, who has been not only taking pictures of the Rulers of UAE, but has been documenting UAE throughout the years. 28th February 2019 Photo: Ahmed Ramzan/ Gulf News Story: Anjana Kumar/ Gulf News

Dr Reza Khan, 
Dubai wildlife specialist

“This is such wonderful and heartening news after my 35 years in this beautiful country. It is like seeing light at the end of the tunnel. It is a joy for everybody who has been part of the growth of this country. As a scientist, I feel it will be wonderful for people like me and my peers to stay here peramanently with family and friends. All of my children and grandchildren live here. People like us and those who have invested a major part of their lives here will really benefit.”

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Shailesh Dash, 
entrepreneur and financier

“This is a historic development in the timeline of UAE economy. The UAE government has taken several bold and very timely economic decisions to help stabilise and bolster the economy. I think today’s news will help attract significant amount of capital and skilled resources if the policy is implemented properly.”

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Layan Samir
, Yemeni-Spanish resident

“This will only positively affect people in certain professions such as scientists or doctors, which again are a minority in the UAE’s work force. However, for some people, depending on their nationality, obtaining permanent residency in the UAE will bring great peace of mind.”

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Jogiraj Sikidar, 
classical artist

“Talented people will now be encouraged to share ideas, experiences and contribute to the growth of the UAE. The country, on the other hand, will be flush with funds that are required for development. So it’s a win-win situation for all.”

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Noora Mahmood Falih, Iraqi resident

“Giving permanent residency to expats will create more balance, employment opportunities and motivate most people to give their best to the UAE. We feel safe and secure here and this announcement will enhance that feeling and make us feel that we truly belong to the UAE. It also shows that we are being appreciated.”