The UAE's permanent residency programme will encourage more entrepreneurs and businesses to invest in the country, experts said.
The 'golden card' initiative, rolled out by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, has been met with a chorus of approval by senior business leaders already operating in the Emirates.
Experts have backed the new visa, believing it will entice big business to trade in a marketpace with increased stability.
“This is a perfectly timed initiative by the government in view of the processes and regulations in place today which make doing business safer, more efficient and faster,” said Dubai-based Omar Jackson, partner at Berkeley Assets, a private equity firm.
“Setting up any new business’s operational process in the UAE has never been simpler, and improvements are being made year on year.”
He said entrepreneurs would thrive in a country that possessed both wealth and opportunity.
The programme is part of the government’s larger ambition to draw high-end research, technology and start-up firms to the Emirates.
People planning long-term investments would consider making Dubai their home address following the decision, said Hussain Sajwani, chairman of Damac Properties.
“The initiative will surely encourage more people to consider Dubai in their long-term investment and living plans,” he said.
“The golden card programme will definitely heighten interest. Last year’s announcement of long-term visas has already generated increased interest globally and should visas be applicable to those expats who are at the point of considering Dubai as their home address, this will certainly influence their decision making.”
The government said that the first 6,800 people have been selected for long-term status.
Fathi bin Grira, chief executive of Menacorp, a financial services group, said the UAE’s visa programmes compared favourably against Singapore’s permanent residency programme since it did not involve the military service component.
"In Singapore when you are a long term permanent resident, the second generation has to serve in military service, which is not the case here," Mr bin Grira said.
“It's a new asset for the UAE in terms of positioning itself in the worldwide competition between cities to attract talent. When you compare the two schemes, it is clear that now the UAE has an edge.”