Expatriates welcome long-term residence rule

Long-term residence option will bring more certainty, attract more people to the UAE, say expats

Shaikh Mohammad during the UAE Cabinet meeting. The 5-year renewable residence visa for expat retirees will be given if they meet certain conditions, including ownership of property worth Dh2 million, or savings of at least Dh1 million, or a monthly income of at least Dh20,000.

Dubai: Expatriates on Sunday welcomed the UAE Cabinet’s decision to allow them long-term residence, helping residents continue their life in the country post-retirement.

His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, on Sunday announced the decision that expatriates said would bring more certainty to their lives.

The UAE Cabinet on Sunday passed a decision to grant a five-year renewable residence visa for expatriate retirees, aged 55 years and above, renewable on meeting certain conditions, including ownership of property worth Dh2 million, or savings of at least Dh1 million, or a monthly income of at least Dh20,000. The law will come into effect from next year.

“This is an excellent decision that will go on to help expatriates plan their lives in the UAE with more clarity and certainty. It will also have a very positive impact on the market and attract more people to the country,” said Syed Maqbool, a longtime resident.

The 52-year-old business development manager added that people love to work and live in the UAE, and for many longtime residents who don’t have anywhere to go after retirement and struggle to relocate themselves, this comes as a great news.

“This comes as a great news for all, particularly those who are nearing retirement. It will help us plan our future better, considering this option we have now,” said Maqbool.

Another longtime expatriate, Moosa Kaleem, hailed the decision as a great and positive move.

“This will open up new doors for people who have spent their entire lives here and don’t want to go back. Most expats are uncertain about their future and this will certainly help provide more security for them,” said Kaleem, who is vice-president of Financial Institution at a bank.

The decision was also welcomed by expatriate business leaders.

Kamal Vachani, group director of Al Maya Group, said the decision to allow expats to stay back in UAE for a longer period after retirement is great news and a welcoming step.

Rajesh Balachandran, regional sales manager, Middle East for Whirlpool, said the law sounds promising for people looking to keep long term ties with the UAE. “It will motivate people to invest here. Professionals who wish to continue can do so by providing consultancy services even after retirement,” said Balachandran.

The UAE had earlier enacted sweeping changes to its residency system this June, in which key workers will be offered visas of up to 10 years to attract sought-after professionals. Doctors and engineers and their families are among those who will be eligible for long-stay visas.

Specialists working in medicine, science, research and technical fields will also be eligible.

Students will also be able to secure five-year visas and “exceptional” graduates could remain in the country for 10 years. At present, students must apply to renew their visa each year. Other major changes include allowing investors to own 100 per cent of a company based in the emirates.

Other agreements passed

The cabinet also approved the launch of the ‘one-day court’ system, to provide the fastest and most efficient services to the community. It will speed up rulings in minor criminal offences, and the initiative affirms that the UAE upholds its law institutions, with a distinguished judicial system based on modern mechanisms.

As part of the government’s vision to develop human competencies across the federal government and to optimise human resources, the UAE Cabinet has approved the Succession Planning and Talents Pool project in the federal government. Its aim is to ensure that Emirati manpower is equipped to take on leadership and specialised positions.

The cabinet also adopted the unified national standards for public and private hospitals, in line with the UAE Vision 2021, to improve medical service provided in the UAE, in accordance with the best international practices. The new unified standards give guidelines for health care professionals and hospital design, as well as other standards on medicines, patients’ rights etc.

The cabinet also approved a resolution regulating trading control and stamping requirements in precious stones and precious metals, to establish the necessary framework and increase the scope for international investment in the sector.

An agreement between the UAE and the Government of the Russian Federation — on the mutual exemption of visa requirements for citizens of both countries — was approved. So was an agreement between the UAE and Gabon, to establish an embassy to Zimbabwe in Harare.

An agreement on economic and technical cooperation between the UAE and Cyprus was also approved.

New Cabinet decisions

Special Long-Term Residency Visa for Expatriates  After Retirement: 
Expats retirees over the age of 55 years will get 5-year visa, with the possibility of renewal. 
To qualify for the long-term visa, an expatriate retiree should have an investment in a property worthDh2 million, or financial savings of no less than Dh1 million, or having an active income of no less than Dh20,000 per month. 

FEWA Industrial Sector Electricity Tariff Reduction:
The initiative introduced a reduced tariff for FEWA electricity consumption for the industrial sector, to be in effect as of quarter four (Q4) of this year. 
Large factories will be supported by reducing the electricity consumption charges by 29 per cent, while the small and medium factories will have reduced fees by 10 per cent to 22 per cent, in addition to waiving the service connection fees for new factories. 

One Day Court: 
Launching of the “one-day court” system to provide the fastest and most efficient services to the community.
The “one-day court” will contribute to speeding up the ruling in minor criminal offences.

UAE-RUSSIA Visa waiver: 
The Cabinet approved an agreement between the UAE and the Russian Federation on the mutual exemption of visa requirements for citizens of both countries

Major Cabinet decisions on visas announced this year
Abolished mandatory bank guarantee for labour recruitment and replace it with a low-cost insurance system 
New visa facilitation procedures for visitors, residents, families & people overstaying visas adopted  
Approved UAE exemption of transit passengers from all entry fees for first 48 hours approved. Transit visa extension for up to 96 hours for a fee of Dh50   
New six-month visa introduced for job seekers who overstayed their visa but wish to work in the country
10 years visa for professionals such as doctors, engineers, specialists working in medicine, science, research and technical fields 
Approved five-year visas for students and 10-year visa for “exceptional” graduates

— With inputs by Wam


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