A long-term Indian resident who founded one of the UAE’s largest healthcare groups is the latest person to be granted permanent residency under the country’s Golden Card scheme.
Dr Shamsheer Vayalil, chairman and managing director of VPS Healthcare, was issued the permanent residency visa by Brig Saeed Al Shamsi, executive director of the General Directorate of Residency and Foreign Affairs, on Monday.
"I am humbled and extremely grateful,” said Dr Vayalil. “I have been in the UAE for just over a decade and this is a very proud moment for us.”
His wife and children have also been granted the Golden Card — announced by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, for certain investors and residents, last month.
“My family joins me in expressing our sincere appreciation to the leaders of the country for their kindness and care for expatriates in the UAE," said Dr Vayalil.
Aged 42, Dr Vayalil is the youngest of three businessmen to be granted the Golden Card so far. He joins Firoz Merchant, a self-made millionaire and founder of jewellery business Pure Gold, and Yusuff Ali, chairman and managing director of Lulu Group.
Dr Vayalil began his medical career as a radiologist at Sheikh Khalifa Medical City in Abu Dhabi. In less than a decade, he established an integrated health care group with 23 hospitals, more than 125 medical centres,
pharmaceutical manufacturing and other health care support services across the Middle East, Europe and India.
“My journey from a physician to entrepreneur has been challenging, but very rewarding,” said Dr Vayalil, who reportedly has a net worth of $1.4 billion (Dh5.12bn)
“My hope is that this honour will inspire young people and the next generation to take risks and follow their dreams.”
He said the introduction of the permanent residency scheme would attract even more talent to the UAE.
“We believe that the UAE’s economy isn’t just powered by just jobs and wages, but also by investment and innovation,” he said.
“This programme will certainly result in an increase in inventions, create a sustainable environment for entrepreneurs that will spur additional job creation and boost competitiveness.”
Dr Vayalil is also the Vice-Chairman and Managing Director of UAE-based Amanat Holdings — the region’s largest healthcare and education investment company.
Last year, Dr Vayalil announced he would donate half of his fortune to charity by joining The Giving Pledge — an initiative created by Microsoft founder Bill Gates, his wife Melinda and business magnate Warren Buffett in 2010 to support good causes around the world.
Dr Vayalil was also heavily involved in the emergency response to natural disasters in India, including floods in Jammu, Kashmir and Kerala, and is now co-ordinating a recovery mission in Mozambique after it was hit with devastating cyclones in March and April.