The UAE is known as a destination for expats with the number of expats living in the country exceeding the number of Citizens. Nearly 80% of the population in the seven sheikhdoms that make up the UAE are foreign residents. While the UAE has been a popular destination for expats, it has had very strict laws with regards to granting Citizenship to foreigners until now. This has been true even in cases where the person may have spent their entire life in the country.
In a welcome change, the UAE government has recently passed a new law through which select talented non-Emirati Citizens can now obtain Emirati Citizenship. The new law allows for granting of Citizenship to investors, professionals, scientists, and other people with special talents such as artists and authors. The government of the UAE is looking to attract talents that will contribute to the new UAE. as envisioned by its ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. This superlative move has been lauded for its inclusivity in opening the door to people of all nationalities from different parts of the world who can hereafter embrace the UAE as their own. The ruler Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum quoted “The new directives aim to attract talents that contribute to our development journey.”
Those eligible for Citizenship under the new immigration law will need to be approved by the UAE Cabinet, local courts and Executive Councils under the criteria set for each and every category. This law will further establish the UAE as a trade, financial and cultural hub. The conditions for securing Citizenship are as follows:
- Business investors must own a property in the United Arab Emirates.
- An inventor must be able to obtain from the UAE Ministry of Economy or from a reputable international body around one to two patents. A letter of recommendation from the Economic Ministry is also required.
- Doctors and others specialising in the field of medicine should belong to a unique scientific discipline or field that is in high demand.
- Scientists – only those who are participating in active research in a private university, research center, or the private sector. The experience level for the above mentioned professionals should be at least 10 years or more.
- Intellectuals and highly creative professionals should be pioneers in the field of art and culture. They should also be winners of international awards. A letter of recommendation is mandatory from government entities related to the particular fields.
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