Dr. S.P. Singh Oberoi receives 10 years Gold visa. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Dubai-based Indian businessman S.P. Singh Oberoi has joined the privileged group of expatriates who have been granted the 10-year Gold Card by the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners’ Affairs (GDRFA) in Dubai.

Shortly after receiving the new residency status this week, Oberoi, chairman of the Apex Group of Companies, told Gulf News: “It is an absolute honour. I am very thankful to this gesture and it strengthens the fact that the Government of the UAE believes in the work I do and in my vision to further contribute to the development of this beautiful country.”

He said the UAE’s open-minded and pro-business policies had not only helped him venture into business, but also diversify into many fields over the years.

“I came to Dubai at the age of 20 in 1977 on a job visa to work at Coastain Taylor Woodrow at Dubai Dry Docks. In 1993, I started my own business in Dubai and formed a company named Apex Emirates General Trading LLC. In 1995, I diversified and set up Apex Construction & Land Dewatering. Two years later, I opened the four-star hotel, Dubai Grand (which I have since sold), and in 2004 saw the launch of Oberoi Properties & Investment.”

He said as the journey continues, the new Gold Card would encourage people like him to come up with newer plans and be part of the UAE’s continued growth.

Oberoi, who runs the NGO Sarabat Da Bhala Trust, said the spirit of the UAE had encouraged him to get into social work and give back to society. Known for his philanthropic projects back in India, Oberoi has saved more than 80 people convicted of various cases from the gallows in the UAE after paying blood money to the families of victims.

“While what they did was wrong, most of them were the only bread winners of their families and got a second chance at life,” said Oberoi who has also provided air tickets to around 600 people of various nationalities to return home, besides funds to repatriate more than 100 bodies to their home countries, with the approval of the authorities.