Bangladeshi businessman Mohammed Rahman receives golden card visa

The entrepreneur said the permanent residency initiative will encourage more people to invest in the country

Mohammed Rahman (centre) receives his golden card visa from Colonel Ali Al Hammadi (left) and Lieutenant Abubaker Ali (right) at the General Directorate of Residency and Foreign Affairs.   
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A benevolent Bangladeshi business magnate who has used his fragrance fortune built in the UAE to support those in need back home said securing a golden card visa is an honour for himself and his country.

Mohammed Rahman, chairman and managing director of Al Haramain Group, is believed to be the first non-resident Bangladeshi to be granted permanent residency under the UAE government scheme.

Mr Rahman, 61, heads up one of one of the largest fragrance manufacturers in the region as part of a diverse empire with interests in banking, healthcare, education and hospitality.

Al Haramain Group operates more than 20 businesses across the Gulf region, as well as in Bangladesh, Malaysia, the United States and the United Kingdon, employing more than 1,000 staff.

“The golden card visa is an honour for me and my country Bangladesh,” said Mr Rahman.

“This will encourage us to invest more in to the UAE economy and help the UAE economy expand more.

“We are grateful to the leadership and people of the UAE for allowing us great economic opportunity and honour.”

Born in Sylhet, Bangladesh, Mr Rahman later made the move to the Middle East, joining his family business in Saudi Arabia.

The company first opened for business in Makkah in 1970, selling perfumes to pilgrims.

With the fragrance business booming, he sniffed out new opportunities for success by opening a showroom in Dubai in 1981.

He soon moved the firm's entire operations to the UAE, opening a manufacturing plant in Ajman in 1982.

It helped to lay the groundwork for decades of growth across the Emirates and beyond, giving Mr Rahman the resources to support worthy causes in Bangladesh.

He has overseen the launch of Al Haramain Hospital, in his home city of Sylhet, a 12-storey hospital set up to provide essential healthcare to less privileged sections of society, and supports a number of other education and charitable initiatives in the country.

In 2011, he founded the Bangladesh Business Council in Dubai, help strengthen economic relations between Bangladesh and the UAE.

Thousands of foreign investors and residents have been identified as beneficiaries of the golden card permanent residency scheme, rolled out by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, last month.

Sheikh Mohammed said the current investments of the 6,800 selected investors and residents are worth an estimated Dh100 billion.

The permanent visa aims to generate foreign investment, encourage entrepreneurship, and attract top engineers, scientists and students.

Permanent residency is also extended to the spouse and children of the cardholder.

Mr Rahman joins a select band of businessman to receive the golden card.

Dr Shamsheer Vayalil, chairman and managing director of VPS Healthcare, is the youngest recipient announced, at 42.

Firoz Merchant, a self-made millionaire and founder of jewellery business Pure Gold, and Yusuff Ali, chairman and managing director of Lulu Group have also received the visa since its announcement.

On Friday,  Ziad Saleh, chief executive of Alain Pharmacy Group, became the first Arab resident to be granted the permanent residency visa.

Others who have received permanent or long-term UAE residency