UAE loosens residency requirements with ‘green visa’
The UAE yesterday announced a new visa allowing foreigners to work in the country without being sponsored by an employer, loosening residency requirements in an attempt to boost economic growth.
Foreigners in the oil-rich United Arab Emirates are generally only given limited visas tied to their employment, and long-term residency is difficult to obtain.
But those holding the new "green visa" will be able to work without company sponsorship, and can sponsor their parents and children up to 25 years old, officials said.
"It targets highly skilled individuals, investors, businesspeople, entrepreneurs, as well exceptional students and postgraduates," said Minister of State for Foreign Trade Thani al-Zeyoudi.
Resource-rich Gulf countries such as the UAE are increasingly seeking to diversify their economies and reduce reliance on oil.
The coronavirus pandemic has also impacted tourism and businesses in the UAE, whose economy was already slumping in recent years due to low oil prices.
In 2019, the UAE launched the 10-year "Golden visa" to attract wealthy individuals and highly skilled workers, the first such scheme in the Gulf.
Similar programmes have since been launched in other resource-rich Gulf countries, such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar.