ABU DHABI, February 1 — The UAE on Saturday approved amendments to its nationality laws to attract more foreign talent to contribute to the country’s “development journey”.
Under the directives of UAE President, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Prime Minister and Vice President of the UAE and Dubai Ruler, approved the changes to the Executive Regulation of the Federal Law concerning Nationality allowing investors, professionals, special talents and their families to acquire Emirati nationality under certain conditions.
Specific categories can acquire Emirati citizenship including investors, doctors, specialists, inventors, scientists and individuals with creative talents such as intellectuals and artists, a tweet from the UAE Government read.
It said the naturalised individual must comply to Emirati laws and officially inform the respective government agency in case of acquiring or losing any other citizenship.
It added that the families of those nominated for a UAE passport can acquire the citizenship as well, while retaining their current nationality.
The step aims at appreciating the talents and competencies present in the UAE and attracting more bright minds to the Emirati community in a way that contributes to the development and prosperity of the country.
Sheikh Mohammed tweeted: “We adopted law amendments that allow granting the UAE citizenship to investors, specialised talents and professionals including scientists, doctors, engineers, artists, authors and their families. The new directives aim to attract talents that contribute to our development journey.”
Another tweet said the UAE cabinet, local Emiri courts and executive councils will nominate those eligible for the citizenship under clear criteria set for each category.
The law also allows receivers of the UAE passport to keep their existing citizenship.
Professor Ammar Kaka, the provost and vice principal of Heriot-Watt University, told Arabian Business: “This is a historical move which will go a long way in retaining the best and the brightest brains, and boost the overall development of the UAE.
“Under the National Agenda, the goal of the UAE is to transition to a knowledge-based economy, and the wise leadership of this country has always worked tirelessly to develop talent, promote innovation and research and instill an entrepreneurial mindset.
“Universities especially will have a key role to play in nurturing and developing talent, and we look forward to supporting the vision of the government to the best of our capabilities. We are sure that these changes to the UAE citizenship law will attract quality talent and thereby boost the pace of economic growth.”
“It’s another milestone that comes along a transformation path of the UAE as a financial, trade and cultural hub, allowing for further avenues of economic growth,” said Mohamed Abu Basha, head of macroeconomic research at Cairo-based EFG Hermes, told Bloomberg.
The scope of implementation – including the rights granted for the new passport holders- will be key, he said. “The wider the scope, the wider the positive economic implications of a qualitative growth in population and economic value added.”
Conditions that must be met to qualify for a UAE passport:
- Investors are required to own a property in the UAE.
- Doctors and specialists must be specialised in a unique scientific discipline or any other scientific principles that are highly required in the UAE. The applicant must have a practical experience of not less than 10 years, in addition to obtaining membership in a reputable organisation in his field of specialisation.
- Scientists are required to be an active researcher in a university or research centre or in the private sector, with a practical experience of not less than 10 years in the same field. It is also mandatory to obtain a recommendation letter from recognised scientific institutions in the UAE.
- Inventors are required to obtain one or more patents that are approved by the UAE Ministry of Economy or any other reputable international body, in addition to a recommendation letter from the Economy Ministry.
- Individuals with creative talents such as intellectuals and artists should be pioneers in the culture and art fields and winners of one or more international award. A recommendation letter from related government entities is mandatory as well.
The UAE citizenship offers a wide range of benefits including the right to establish or own commercial entities and properties. As per the amendments, the citizenship can be withdrawn upon breach of the conditions.
The legislation change is one of a number of measures recently announced by the UAE as its economy looks to rebound from the impact of the global coronavirus pandemic.
The UAE abolished the need for companies to have Emirati shareholders late last year, in a major shake-up of foreign ownership laws aimed at attracting investment into an economy reeling from the coronavirus and a decline in oil prices.
In September, Dubai launched a retirement programme for resident expatriates and foreigners over the age of 55.
Retire in Dubai, the first of its kind in the region, is being spearheaded by Dubai Tourism in collaboration with the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs.
Eligible applicants will be provided a retirement visa, renewable every five years. The retiree can choose between one of three financial requirements for eligibility: earning a monthly income of AED20,000 ($5,500); having savings of AED1 million ($275,000); or owning a property in Dubai worth AED2 million ($550,000).
In its initial phase, the programme will focus on UAE residents working in Dubai who have reached retirement age.
Dubai has also recently launched the Virtual Company Licence, which allows global businesses to access a regulated e-commerce platform populated by Dubai-based companies, while also exploring new markets and investment opportunities digitally.
The initiative, which allows investors worldwide to do business in Dubai digitally without having to live in the emirate, is expected to attract more than 100,000 companies. — Arabian Business