Dubai: Five-year residency visas for students will bolster the UAE’s status as a leading education destination, top academics said.

In a new system announced on Sunday by the UAE Cabinet, which provides 10-year visas for exceptional students as well, they said this is also expected to retain the talent pool within the UAE.

Currently, most students in the UAE need to renew their visa every year, but with the new rule, this will help them with future residence and possible employment in the UAE.

In a statement to Gulf News, Mohammad Abdullah (right), managing director of Dubai International Academic City and Dubai Knowledge Park, said the decision is will further boost UAE’s position as a hub of higher education.

“The UAE Cabinet’s announcement of new student visa regulations is positive news. We expect that this will further boost the UAE’s attractiveness as a global education hub, and encourage the retention of talented students after graduation. We are confident that the new law will support the diversification efforts of the government, as well as drive the UAE’s status as a leading destination for students and professionals alike,” he said.

Dr Jihad Nader (left), vice-president of American University in Dubai, said the decision will make joining universities or accepting positions in scientific fields in this country “a much more attractive option than ever before”.

“The new visa rules will have a significant positive effect on the higher education sector in the UAE. They provide prospective students, faculty, researchers and their families more security regarding their residency status in the UAE,” he added.

Once the complete details of the nature and scope of the new visa rules, and the categories covered by the different visa durations (5 or 10 years) will become available in their final form, this will provide much greater clarity, he said.

“The new rules will certainly have a very positive impact on the economic and social levels in the UAE,” Dr Nader continued.

Similarly, Dr Bjorn Kjerfve (right), chancellor of American University of Sharjah, also praised the UAE Cabinet announcement of the integrated visa system, especially the benefits for students.

“This is a landmark in the UAE’s visa system that will have a great impact on all sectors including expatriate students and graduates. We expect the announcement will improve the future of students residing and settling in the country. We expect the announcement to also support the country’s investment in knowledge, future generations, and knowledge based economy.”

Students in the UAE have also welcomed the new visa rule changes, saying the new visa system will help them find jobs as well as provide them with more peace of mind while carrying out their studies.