Lebanese singer Ragheb Alama to call Dubai home with UAE golden visa

The pop star will perform at Dubai Opera in March

Ragheb Alama is one of the Arab world's most popular crooners. Courtesy Mall of the Emirates
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Ragheb Alama is the latest celebrity to receive a UAE golden visa.

The Lebanese pop star announced the news on his Instagram account on Tuesday, and followed it up with an interview on TV programme The Insider.

He confirmed on the show that his two sons, Khaled and Louai, already reside and work in Dubai, as he praised the country’s vision and tenacity.

“The happiest thing for me is that my children are in Dubai,” Alama said.

"As a father, all I want for my children is to live in a place that is completely safe, fair, where there is opportunity, positivity and vision.”

Alama would often jet in to Dubai for family reunions, but he is now eligible to lay down more permanent roots in the country with this special visa.

The UAE golden visa scheme – offered to investors, entrepreneurs, chief executives, scientists, outstanding students, doctors and other skilled people – grants holders a renewable 10-year visa.

'I am very grateful for this'

Alama, who is scheduled to perform in Dubai Opera on Friday, March 12 and Saturday, March 13, joins a growing list of high-profile figures who obtained the permit. This includes Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan and singer Mohamed Ramadan.

Speaking to The Nationallast year from the launch of his Dubai-shot music video Yala Habibi, Ramadan said the visa will encourage him to produce more content in the country.

“This was honestly something that I did not plan or expect,” he said.

"I am very grateful for this. I think the powers that be saw that I have the potential with my company to bring a lot of initiatives here to the UAE, and they gave me that opportunity. With Ya Habibi, the whole crew was about 150 people. Imagine [the employment opportunities] if I do 100 or more music videos here."

Abu Dhabi launches creative visa

That potential underscores this month's launch of the creative visa, by the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi.

Under the scheme, long-term visas will be offered to accomplished, talented people working across cultural and creative industries, including the visual and performing arts, as well as e-sports.

Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, chairman of DCT Abu Dhabi, said the initiative aims to position the emirate as a creative hub for the region.

“Abu Dhabi is committed to not just nurturing the creative talent found within our borders, but to also extending our resources to innovators from the region and around the world,” he said.

“This mutually beneficial system will attract pioneering ideas and creativity to Abu Dhabi, as the creative visa will offer participants access to world-class facilities and infrastructure, as well as an attractive, safe and inspiring living and working environment for individuals and families.”

More information is at adcreativevisa.com