Gold Card UAE
In May of this year His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, announced the introduction of a “Gold Card” permanent residency scheme. This scheme promised successful applicants access to a UAE visa valid for up to ten years. Those persons identified as eligible were initially isolated to prominent UAE businesspeople and certain UAE based investors.
The General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) have recently announced that the Gold Card shall also be available to high salaried managers, entrepreneurs, specialized talents, researchers and outstanding students, as well as their families, provided they meet the specific requirements set by the GDRFA. Inclusion of alternate professionals, as well as talented individuals, suggests a move toward accessibility and perhaps eventual permanent residency availability in the UAE.
The eligibility criteria now extend to those that have been resident in the UAE for at least five years, earn a monthly salary of AED 30,000/-, and hold a senior job title within their organization. Worthy to note these criteria only pertain to individuals that exhibit “exceptional ability” and eligibility remains at the discretion of the GDRFA.
The UAE Gold Card scheme is comparable to the Green Card system in the USA, as well as the ‘indefinite leave to remain’ permission in the UK, both of which are a preliminary step toward permanent residency in the country of issuance for the person to whom same is granted. Permanent residency in the UAE is, however, not yet available and thus the benefit attached to the coveted Gold Card is primarily exemption from the current condition that visa is issued only where the holder is present in the country for no less than six consecutive months in a calendar year. It has been reported that at least four hundred Gold Cards have been awarded to residents since introduction, this together with the recent inclusions suggests significant steps toward recognition of, and permanent partnership with, expatriates in the UAE’s success story.
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