Dubai moves to attract world’s remote workers with new residency programme

Scheme will allow professionals to work for overseas companies while living in the emirate

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Latest: Dubai's new remote working scheme to attract a 'new influx of expats'

Dubai has launched a remote-working programme to allow professionals to live in the emirate while employed by companies overseas.

The initiative aims to encourage workers employed around the world to relocate to Dubai.

Through the programme, applicants can obtain all services available to permanent residents in Dubai, including phone and internet, utilities and schooling. They will also benefit from the tax-free salaries given to UAE residents.

Officials said the scheme is in line with a rapidly developing digital drive in the workplace, prompted by the Covid-19 outbreak.

The global pandemic has changed how we live and work

“The global pandemic has changed how we live and work," said Helal Almarri, director general of Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing.

"As multinationals and leading start-ups across the world accelerate their rates of digital adoption, the need to be physically present to fulfil professional responsibilities has been redefined.

“People continue to prioritise their health, well-being and ability to ensure a positive work-life balance.

"Dubai is uniquely positioned to offer a safe, dynamic lifestyle opportunity to these digitally savvy workers and their families while they continue to work remotely, whether it is for a couple of months or an entire year.”

Sami Al Qazmi, director general of Dubai's Department of Economic Development, said the scheme would cement the emirate's status as a global business hub.

"With its advanced infrastructure, global connectivity and pro-business ecosystem, the virtual working programme gives Dubai a significant opportunity to enhance business practices and maximise growth,” he said.

The enterprising project is part of a wide-ranging strategy to cement Dubai's status as a prime location to live and work.

Last month, authorities unveiled a five-year visa that allows residents of other countries to retire in Dubai.

Eligible applicants must be older than 55 and have valid UAE health insurance.

Applicants must also fulfil one of these three requirements: earn a monthly income of Dh20,000 ($5,445); have Dh1 million in cash savings; or own property in Dubai worth Dh2m.

Retired expatriates and their spouses can apply for the five-year visa with the possibility of automatic renewal online, provided the retiree continues to meet the criteria.

Last year, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, introduced a golden card 10-year residency scheme for thousands of investors and professionals

The annual remote working programme costs $287, plus medical insurance with valid UAE cover and processing fee per person.

What are the criteria?

  • Passport with minimum six months validity
  • Health insurance with UAE cover validity
  • Proof of employment from current employer with a one-year contract validity, a minimum of $5,000 per month salary, last month's payslip and three preceding months' bank statements
  • If the applicant is a company owner: proof of ownership of company for one year or more, with an average monthly income of $5,000 per month, and three preceding months' bank statements