The United Arab Emirates announced on Sunday the launch of a “green visa” allowing beneficiaries to reside and work in the country without being sponsored by their employer, an initiative aimed at attracting more “highly qualified” foreigners and boosting the ‘economy.
To reside in the Emirates, foreign workers – who represent 90% of the 10 million inhabitants of the rich Gulf countries – are normally granted short-term visas attached to their employer, who becomes their sponsor (guarantor).
The “green visa” will allow foreigners to work in the Emirates without a sponsor, according to Minister of State for Foreign Trade Thani al-Zeyoudi.
This new right of residence is intended for “highly qualified individuals, investors, businessmen, entrepreneurs, as well as exceptional students and master’s and doctoral students”, he added during a press conference announcing a slew of initiatives to stimulate the economy.
Holders of the “green visa” will also be able to bring their parents and their children, aged under 25, continued the official.
The Covid-19 pandemic has hit tourism and the economy of the Emirates hard, already at half mast due to falling oil prices.
The country had already set up in 2019 10-year “golden residences” for wealthy investors and for highly qualified workers, a program extended in November 2020 to professionals mobilized against the pandemic.