The other special relationship: the UAE and the UK

At a reception earlier this year in the British Embassy in Dubai, the newly appointed ambassador, Dominic Jermey, referred to London as the "eighth emirate" due to the close relationship between both countries. Many people aren't aware of just how close this relationship is today.

For instance, the only country in the world in which Britain - or, for that matter, any other country - is represented by two embassies in the same country is the UAE. The dual embassies in Abu Dhabi and Dubai are probably due to the fact that both were fully functioning outposts prior to the UAE's union.

Soon after the UAE gained its independence from a government formed under the current British monarch, it set up one of its first embassies in London to oversee interests in the British Isles as well as the European mainland.

Today, there are approximately 240,000 British citizens living in the UAE, with another one million plus visiting the country every year and up to 40,000 Emiratis visiting Britain annually. In fact, just this month, Dubai beat other cities to become the second busiest destination at London Heathrow airport after New York.

The British Business Group in the UAE today represents over 1,600 businesses based in the country that are encouraged by an annual trade between both countries exceeding Dh45bn, with ambitious plans to increase it to Dh70bn by 2015.

Many of the UAE's leaders were educated in British academies, schools and universities, including the UAE's Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, Abu Dhabi's Crown Prince, as well as the ruler of Sharjah, who established a centre for Gulf studies in Exeter University, his alma mater. Recently, a number of leading British institutions such as the London Business School, Repton School and Cass Business School have set up permanent campuses in the UAE while the number of Emirati students in Britain today is estimated to be around 2,800.

British nationals have for decades contributed to setting up successful UAE ventures, including Emirates Airlines. This company in turn inked a historic deal to sponsor the Arsenal stadium for Dh662 million in 2004, making it the world's largest sponsorship agreement. The countries' sports relations were further elevated with Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed's acquisition of Manchester City FC in August 2008.

Many successful Emiratis that I have written about are proud of their mixed Emirati-British heritage, including Ali Mostafa, the director of City of Life, as well as Sarah Shaw of Abu Dhabi's Executive Council.

The British media has also firmly established a presence in the UAE, with newspapers such as the Financial Times and The Times being printed in the country, while the Telegraph and Skynews maintain permanent correspondents here.

The UAE's investments in Britain have included a stake in Barclays Bank, Travelodge, the famous London Eye, and span various sectors of the economy. Dubai Ports World, meanwhile, is spearheading the development of the Dh5.4bn London Gateway project to create Britain's newest deep-sea container port.

On the cultural front, the British Council in the UAE has played a major role in deepening the special relationship between both countries.

Besides offering English language courses, it has been instrumental in bringing world class art exhibitions to the UAE, including the Lure of the East and the Jameel Prize, which started at the Tate Britain and the Victoria and Albert Museum, respectively, and made their way to the Sharjah Islamic Civilisation Museum. The British Museum also recently hosted Word into Art, an exhibition of modern Middle Eastern calligraphy sponsored by Dubai Holding that was later exhibited at the Dubai International Financial Centre.

I recall many years ago walking down the Dubai Creek and admiring the Dubai Municipality building that was inaugurated by Queen Elizabeth II on her first visit to the UAE in February 1979. The Queen has demonstrated throughout her life her dedication to her country. At London's Imperial War Museum, visitors can see images of the then princess visiting bombed sites and interacting with the crowd during the Second World War. This spirit of unrelenting dedication touches the hearts of every Emirati as it reminds them of Sheikh Zayed, the country's founding father who hosted the visiting monarch over three decades ago.

Both Britain and the UAE are progressive monarchical federations that have welcomed immigrants from around the world.

The relationship between the UAE and Britain is one that is manifested everyday and goes far beyond a single element; it is one that is rooted in mutual respect and one extends to issues of global security, culture and education.

Finally, it is a relationship between the global capitals of Abu Dhabi and London that will be reaffirmed during the historic visit of Queen Elizabeth II.
Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi is a non-resident fellow at the Dubai School of Government
Correction: This article has been changed from an earlier version that said both countries intended to increase trade to Dh70bn by 2010.

Fifa World Cup Qatar 2022

First match: November 20
Final 16 round: December 3 to 6
Quarter-finals: December 9 and 10
Semi-finals: December 13 and 14
Final: December 18

The results of the first round are as follows:

Qais Saied (Independent): 18.4 per cent

Nabil Karoui (Qalb Tounes): 15.58 per cent

Abdelfattah Mourou (Ennahdha party): 12.88 per cent

Abdelkarim Zbidi (two-time defence minister backed by Nidaa Tounes party): 10.7 per cent

Youssef Chahed (former prime minister, leader of Long Live Tunisia): 7.3 per cent

The specs

Engine: 3.0 twin-turbo inline six-cylinder
Transmission: eight-speed
Power: 503hp
Torque: 600Nm
Price: from Dh400,000 (estimate)
On sale: now


Director: Richie Mehta

Starring: Nimisha Sajayan, Roshan Mathew, Dibyendu Bhattacharya

Rating: 3/5

Dengue fever symptoms
  • High fever
  • Intense pain behind your eyes
  • Severe headache
  • Muscle and joint pains
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Swollen glands
  • Rash

If symptoms occur, they usually last for two-seven days

Company Profile

Company name: myZoi
Started: 2021
Founders: Syed Ali, Christian Buchholz, Shanawaz Rouf, Arsalan Siddiqui, Nabid Hassan
Based: UAE
Number of staff: 37
Investment: Initial undisclosed funding from SC Ventures; second round of funding totalling $14 million from a consortium of SBI, a Japanese VC firm, and SC Venture

Citizenship-by-investment programmes

United Kingdom

The UK offers three programmes for residency. The UK Overseas Business Representative Visa lets you open an overseas branch office of your existing company in the country at no extra investment. For the UK Tier 1 Innovator Visa, you are required to invest £50,000 (Dh238,000) into a business. You can also get a UK Tier 1 Investor Visa if you invest £2 million, £5m or £10m (the higher the investment, the sooner you obtain your permanent residency).

All UK residency visas get approved in 90 to 120 days and are valid for 3 years. After 3 years, the applicant can apply for extension of another 2 years. Once they have lived in the UK for a minimum of 6 months every year, they are eligible to apply for permanent residency (called Indefinite Leave to Remain). After one year of ILR, the applicant can apply for UK passport.

The Caribbean

Depending on the country, the investment amount starts from $100,000 (Dh367,250) and can go up to $400,000 in real estate. From the date of purchase, it will take between four to five months to receive a passport. 


The investment amount ranges from €350,000 to €500,000 (Dh1.5m to Dh2.16m) in real estate. From the date of purchase, it will take a maximum of six months to receive a Golden Visa. Applicants can apply for permanent residency after five years and Portuguese citizenship after six years.

“Among European countries with residency programmes, Portugal has been the most popular because it offers the most cost-effective programme to eventually acquire citizenship of the European Union without ever residing in Portugal,” states Veronica Cotdemiey of Citizenship Invest.


The real estate investment threshold to acquire residency for Greece is €250,000, making it the cheapest real estate residency visa scheme in Europe. You can apply for residency in four months and citizenship after seven years.


The real estate investment threshold to acquire residency for Spain is €500,000. You can apply for permanent residency after five years and citizenship after 10 years. It is not necessary to live in Spain to retain and renew the residency visa permit.


Cyprus offers the quickest route to citizenship of a European country in only six months. An investment of €2m in real estate is required, making it the highest priced programme in Europe.


The Malta citizenship by investment programme is lengthy and investors are required to contribute sums as donations to the Maltese government. The applicant must either contribute at least €650,000 to the National Development & Social Fund. Spouses and children are required to contribute €25,000; unmarried children between 18 and 25 and dependent parents must contribute €50,000 each.

The second step is to make an investment in property of at least €350,000 or enter a property rental contract for at least €16,000 per annum for five years. The third step is to invest at least €150,000 in bonds or shares approved by the Maltese government to be kept for at least five years.

Candidates must commit to a minimum physical presence in Malta before citizenship is granted. While you get residency in two months, you can apply for citizenship after a year.


A one-year residency permit can be bought if you purchase property in Egypt worth $100,000. A three-year residency is available for those who invest $200,000 in property, and five years for those who purchase property worth $400,000.

Source: Citizenship Invest and Aqua Properties

Under 19 World Cup

Group A: India, Japan, New Zealand, Sri Lanka

Group B: Australia, England, Nigeria, West Indies

Group C: Bangladesh, Pakistan, Scotland, Zimbabwe

Group D: Afghanistan, Canada, South Africa, UAE


UAE fixtures

Saturday, January 18, v Canada

Wednesday, January 22, v Afghanistan

Saturday, January 25, v South Africa

Company Profile

Company name: Namara
Started: June 2022
Founder: Mohammed Alnamara
Based: Dubai
Sector: Microfinance
Current number of staff: 16
Investment stage: Series A
Investors: Family offices


Goalkeepers: Ahmed El Shennawy, Mohamed El Shennawy, Mohamed Abou-Gabal, Mahmoud Abdel Rehem "Genesh"
Defenders: Ahmed Elmohamady, Ahmed Hegazi, Omar Gaber, Ali Gazal, Ayman Ahsraf, Mahmoud Hamdy, Baher Elmohamady, Ahmed Ayman Mansour, Mahmoud Alaa, Ahmed Abou-Elfotouh
Midfielders: Walid Soliman, Abdallah El Said, Mohamed Elneny, Tarek Hamed, Mahmoud “Trezeguet” Hassan, Amr Warda, Nabil Emad
Forwards: Ahmed Ali, Mohamed Salah, Marwan Mohsen, Ahmed "Kouka" Hassan.