UAE approves 100% business ownership, 10-year residence visas for investors and professional talent

Government of the United Arab Emirates has announced a new ten-year residence visa to attract international investors and professional talent.

The decision was made in a cabinet meeting earlier today. The country has also approved 100% foreign ownership in the country, which was previously limited to companies operating in the freezones only. Companies not operating in the freezones were required to have a local partner with at least 51% of the ownership.

The new residency system will grant 10-year residency visas to investors and specialists in medical, scientific, research, and technical fields, as well as for all the scientists and innovators, a statement by UAE’s government noted.

The most important thing for startups in the region in this news after the 100% business ownership is perhaps ‘innovators’. It would be interesting to see down the line when we learn the details to see what exactly does the government mean by innovators but it would be safe to assume that tech talent (in some categories at least) would be covered under this.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Vice President and Prime Minister of the country announcing the decision said, “The UAE will remain a global incubator for exceptional talents and a permanent destination for international investors. Our open environment, tolerant values, infrastructure and flexible legislation are the best plan to attract global investment and exceptional talents in the UAE.”

The residency system will also grant the same 10-year visas to exceptional students and five-year visas to any student studying in the UAE.

According to the statement released by the government, the new decision will also review the current residency system to extend the residency time for the dependent students after completing their university studies which will allow them to find work and continue their stay in the country.

The system will grant investors and talents up to 10-year residency visas for specialists in medical, scientific, research and technical fields, as well as for all scientists and innovators, as well as five-year residency visas for students studying in the UAE, and 10-year visas for exceptional students.

Government stakeholders have been asked to implement the changes by the end of this year.

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