After 40 years of service, Elsamma Varghese retired on July 17. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: A 61-year-old Indian nurse in Al Ain received the birthday gift of her life! Elsamma Varghese, after 40 years of service, was also retiring that day — July 17. So, it was a special day by all means. However, what made it extra special was the fact that on that very day, she received a phone call from the UAE authorities, informing her that she had been granted the UAE Golden Visa!

A golden gift

She spent the best part of her birthday bidding goodbye to her colleagues at Tawam Hospital where she had worked since 2006. “I was thrilled to bits. I had worked as a nurse for more than 40 years. Though retirement age in the UAE is 60, Tawam Hospital authorities were kind enough to grant me a one-year extension. I am so very grateful to them. And the Golden Visa helped me extend my stay in the UAE,” Varghese said.

Elsamma Varghese with her family members. Image Credit: Supplied

Not expecting to get her golden visa

“I never expected to get the Golden Visa. My colleagues had received email notifications about them being granted the Golden Visa. They kept telling me to keep checking my email, too, but since I was about to leave the UAE, I never expected it. Then one fine day, the email popped up in my inbox and my happiness knew no bounds,” said the retired nurse who hails from Pandalam in the state of Kerala in India.

“My birthday marked the last day of my nursing career. It brought a lot of memories. It was a very emotional day for me,” she added.

My birthday marked the last day of my nursing career, Varghese said. Image Credit: Supplied

The journey

Varghese graduated with a degree in nursing from Dr R.N. Cooper Hospital in Mumbai. She started her career at the same institute and joined Royal Hospital in Oman in 1987. In 2006, she joined Tawam Hospital where she worked as a nurse for 16 years. “The UAE has been my home. My career has grown here, my family has grown here. I still can’t imagine life away from the UAE after my retirement. My children grew up here and are employed here. So, heading home for good was never a priority. The news about the Golden Visa came as a blessing.”

UAE my first home

“The UAE has been my first home. Our friends, colleagues, the great leadership in UAE has made me feel so comfortable living here. We have received much love from everybody in this country and for that we are so very grateful.”

In 2006, Elsamma Varghese joined Tawam Hospital where she worked as a nurse for 16 years. Image Credit: Supplied

Varghese’s son Daniel, who works in Germany, commented on his mother’s achievement, saying: “My mother was retiring, but in her heart of hearts, she did not want to leave the UAE. She did express her desire to stay back in Al Ain for a little while longer. However, gradually, the reality started sinking in — that she would finally have to bid goodbye to the UAE. So, she was preparing to head home.”

He further said: “In April this year, the authorities announced that Golden Visas would be issued to exceptional employees in the health-care sector. Honestly, she never expected to get one. Yet, she did and it came as a pleasant surprise.”

‘Our Family Hero’

“I received the Golden Visa on the cusp of my retirement. It is the best gift that I have ever received. I am overwhelmed,” Varghese said.

Daniel said: “When my mother shared the good news, I clearly understood from her voice how much she appreciated this well-deserved gift. I would like to designate my mother as our ‘Family Hero’. Granting Golden Visas to heroes is inspiring and a life-saver for many. It has changed my parents’ lives for the better and we feel grateful.”