Bahrain's first golden visa given to chairman of Lulu

Yusuff Ali thanks King Hamad after becoming beneficiary of programme to attract talent and investors

Yusuff Ali, chairman and managing director of Lulu Group International, attends the World Economic Forum (WEF) India Economic Summit in New Delhi, India, on Thursday, Oct. 6, 2016. The summit runs until October 7. Photographer: Anindito Mukherjee/Bloomberg
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The chairman of the Lulu Group has become the first recipient of Bahrain’s new golden visa for foreign nationals.

UAE-based Yusuff Ali was handed the visa in a ceremony attended by Bahrain's King Hamad and Crown Prince and Prime Minister Salman bin Hamad.

The visa is part of a plan to attract talent and boost the economy.

It is a very proud and humbling moment in my life to receive this honour
Yusuff Ali

“Obviously, it is a very proud and humbling moment in my life to receive this honour,” Mr Ali said.

He thanked King Hamad, Prince Salman and the government of Bahrain.

“I am sure this new permanent residency initiative will further boost Bahrain's image as one of the key investment and business hubs of the region as well as attract and retain new investors here," he said.

Mr Ali, 66, was presented with his golden visa at a ceremony at Riffa Palace.

Lulu, based in Abu Dhabi, is a major employer in the Gulf with more than 50,000 staff.

Bahraini Crown Prince and Prime Minister Salman bin Hamad with Yusuff Ali at Riffa Palace in Manama. Photo: Lulu Group

In April 2021, Mr Ali his wife, two pilots and two other passengers survived an emergency landing in the helicopter they were travelling in during bad weather in Kerala, India.

He spent time recovering after the accident.

Under previous rules, Bahrain residents could only get a renewable visa tied to their employment status.

A golden visa allows them to extend the visa for an indefinite period and provide a residence permit for close family members.

To qualify, a person must have lived in Bahrain for at least 5 years and earn an average salary of at least 2,000 Bahraini dinars ($5,306) a month.

Similar to the UAE’s golden visa programme, retirees, talented people who fit certain criteria and those who own real estate above a certain value can also apply.

There are 11 Lulu stores across Bahrain, and the kingdom has big plans for expansion which include a metro network and national exhibition centre.

Bahrain’s population is also set to expand, with five cities planned on newly constructed islands that will increase the kingdom's land area by more than 60 per cent.

At 183 square kilometres, Fasht Al Jarim is the largest and will become a hub for housing, tourism and logistics.

Updated: February 14, 2022, 8:23 AM