UAE government awards golden visas to top high-school pupils

Children who achieved 95 per cent in their final exams will get 10-year visas for themselves and their families

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates - Pupils seated for the Mathematic, grade 11  exam hall at Gems Cambridge International School in Baniyas. Khushnum Bhandari for The National

High-school pupils who achieved top marks in their final exams will be granted golden visas by the UAE government.

Children who scored 95 per cent or more will receive a 10-year visa for themselves and their immediate families.

The UAE government said that move was an "appreciation of the efforts of outstanding students and their families, and within the framework of the UAE government's direction to create an attractive and encouraging environment for talented people".

The country aims "to attract exceptional minds and talents to be permanent partners in the development process in the UAE", state news agency Wam said.

Pupils in private and government schools are eligible for the visa.

As was previously announced by the authorities, university students with a gross point average of 3.75 – who are either studying in the Emirates or are abroad and considering a move here – are also eligible for the 10-year golden visa.

The long-term visa system has been rapidly expanded to residents in recent months, including everyone from scientists and academics to businesspeople and public figures.

Fiona Cottam, principal at Hartland International School in Dubai, said the decision offered security and peace of mind for the hardest working pupils and their families.

"It is a huge recognition ... certainly for families it's significant," Ms Cottam said.

A child sponsoring their family is a radical departure from how the UAE's immigration and visa system works.

"It is ultimately parents' jobs that keep families in the country as opposed to visas. It is difficult to know what the long-term impact will be," she said.

Quote
Clearly this offer from the government will further ensure that the top pupil talent will return to the UAE, after studying in the world's top universities
Alan Williamson, Taaleem

The fact that the visa is paid for would help to cut costs for families, she said.

Last week, Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation officials set out some details of how someone on a golden visa could change jobs, which would be relevant for parents who are effectively sponsored by their children.

Alan Williamson, chief executive of Taaleem, which runs 13 schools in the Emirates, said the visa was an "exciting opportunity to motivate our pupils".

"What a wonderful reward for their academic endeavours, for themselves as individuals and their families.

"Clearly this offer from the government will further ensure that the top pupil talent will return to the UAE, after studying in the world's top universities."

“The move to offer golden residency to outstanding high school and university graduates along with their families will help attract and retain the brightest brains and boost nation-building efforts,” said Prof Ammar Kaka, provost and vice-principal of Heriot-Watt University Dubai.

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Updated: July 6th 2021, 6:35 AM
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