A Dubai business magnate has become one of the first people to be granted a 10-year residence visa in the UAE.
Indian-born Rizwan Sajan, founder and chairman of Danube Group, a multi-billion dirham conglomerate, is one of a select band of residents chosen to receive long-term residency.
On Friday, Mr Sajan spoke of his pride after receiving the visa, which he said would encourage others to invest in the country.
“This is a great moment as we have been waiting for this for a long time. I am grateful to the Almighty and the UAE’s visionary leadership for granting a 10-year visa to me,” said Mr Sajan.
“This is the beginning of a new chapter in the UAE economy as it further liberalises the economy to attract more investment. Initiatives such as the ten-year visa, 100 percent ownership of companies in selected economic sectors and finally the permanent residency – are some of the game-changing developments that will re-define our relationship with this wonderful land of opportunities.
“This is a great moment not only for me but for millions of foreigners living in this country. I’m sure the scope of these initiatives will expand gradually to include more investors, entrepreneurs, scientists, philanthropists, innovators and highly-skilled professionals.”
Mr Sajan came to the UAE in 1991 with a Dh1,500 salary package to work with a building materials trading company. He set up Danube Building Materials Trading in 1993, at the age of 30, after he and his wife, Sameera Sajan, agreed to invest all their savings into the new company.
“I feel that I was at the right place at the right time and in the right trade. Success came as the building constriction sector began to grow, so the demand for building materials grew.”
Danube Group has since grown to a conglomerate of 10 companies operating in a range of sectors, from manufacturing and real estate to building materials and fashion retail, with an annual turnover of Dh5.5 billion. Mr Sajan’s personal net worth is estimated to be more than Dh3.7 billion.
The 10-year residency visa was among a series of changes to the country’s residency policy announced by the UAE Cabinet last year.
The overhaul included the introduction of five and 10-year visas for sought-after professionals, leading academics and for long-term investors.
This month, the government went a step further and rolled out a "golden card" scheme, providing foreign investors and residents with permanent residency scheme.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, said an initial batch of 6,800 investors and residents, worth an estimated Dh100 billion, had been chosen to receive the permanent residency visa.
The visa changes are part of a drive to offer further stability to the country's economy, and give investors the confidence to do business in the UAE for many years to come.
Mr Sajan received the 10-year visa, stamped on his passport, from the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs in Dubai, on Friday.