Abu Dhabi: The Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship on Monday announced that it had issued its first gold card to Indian resident and business leader M.A. Yousuf Ali. Ali, who is the chairman and managing director of LuLu Group, was handed the gold card in Abu Dhabi by Brigadier Saeed Salem Al Shamsi, executive director of the General Directorate of Residency and Foreign Affairs, as he becomes the first of 6,800 residents to receive permanent residency.
Announced last month by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, the gold card is part of a permanent residency scheme for investors, entrepreneurs, specialised talents, researchers and outstanding students residing in the UAE, with 6,800 residents from 70 countries already identified as qualifying for the gold card.
The benefits of the gold card also extend to the recipients immediate family members such as their wife and children who are also provided with a permanent residency status.
In his comments to Gulf News, Ali said: “I am totally humbled and at the same time feeling extremely proud at this very important day in my life. A true high point in my life.”
“The UAE has been my home for more than 45 years now. Right from the day I first landed in the shores of UAE in 1973, I never wanted to be anywhere else but here. Whatever I am today is thanks to this great country, which has given me more than what I can dream of,” he said.
“To be the first one to receive this great honour is truly a very humbling experience, and I sincerely thank the visionary rulers of this great country. The fact that they have decided to introduce this gold card for us expats shows their magnanimity and brotherly affection towards us. It is their far-sighted vision which has made the UAE, one of the most safe, secure, tolerant and developed nations in the world. I am sure this new gold card permanent residency aimed at key investors who have played defining roles in the nation building process will further boost the UAE’s image as one of key investment and business global hubs as well as attract and retain new investors here. I see this as an honour not only for me but for the entire expat community from more than 200 countries residing here, for whom UAE has been almost like a second home.”
The new scheme, which has been widely praised by business leaders in the UAE, is aimed at increasing the country’s competitiveness on the global stage by attracting investors and business leaders to stimulate and boost the local economy.
Along with attracting foreign investments, the permanent residency programme is also geared towards providing the right and stable environment for residents that are already residing in the UAE and who view the country as their second home.
In total, the investments of the 6,800 identified residents for the gold card amounts to Dh100 billion.
The permanent residency visa programme is just one of many long-term visa schemes that have been announced this year. Others include 10 and 5-year visa programmes split into several different categories
To qualify for the 10-year visa, investors must have a public investment of not less than Dh10 million. For the five-year visa, an investor’s total investment in real estate should not be less than Dh5 million. And as with the permanent residency scheme, the benefits of the 10 and 5-year visa programmes can also be used to sponsor one’s family and also be renewed.
As well as business leaders and investors, the 10-year visa programme is also opened for scientists and researchers, with 20 scientists having received the 10-year visa in January. Entrepreneurs and outstanding students may also apply for the 5-year visa plan.
What is gold card?
The gold card represents the UAE’s permanent residency scheme that was announced in May. Recipients who are handed a gold card will have a permanent residency status in the UAE. Benefits of the gold card also extend to the gold cardholder’s family.
According to the UAE government, 6,800 residents have already been identified to receive their gold card. In total, their investments in the UAE total to around Dh100 billion. Candidates who qualify for the gold card include business leaders, investors, specialised professionals, researchers and outstanding students
Not to be confused with the permanent visa programme, the UAE has also introduced 10 and 5-year visa schemes respectively. Unlike the gold card visa, these visa programmes are not permanent ones, but they still provide residents with a long-term residency status in the UAE that can be renewed.