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What are the New Employment Visas in UAE for 2021?

The UAE continues to be a hot destination (no pun intended) for migrants from around the world. In large part, due to its continued strong growth but also its relatively low levels of COVID-19, the prospects for foreign workers in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and the wider UAE region appear to be excellent for 2021. As a nation, the UAE has an incredibly modern and technologically advanced infrastructure attracting some of the best engineers, scientists, and IT specialists from around the world. To make the country even more desirable, a number of new immigration initiatives have been announced by the UAE authorities in recent weeks and months. In this article, we will explain what we know about the newly announced UAE employment visa and immigration schemes for 2021.

New UAE Remote Work Visa Announced

The new scheme announced by the UAE government is extremely innovative and is designed to allow workers to based themselves in one of the seven emirates but work for a company in another country. This may be a move that is echoed by more nations around the world as governments recognise the highly fluid nature of work in the global society. Indeed, several other countries already have similar schemes, including Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Bermuda, Estonia, Georgia, and Mauritius. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, the Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, has made it clear that the UAE government intends to be innovative and will develop more flexible programmes and initiatives for the benefit of its citizens and migrants; “We are working with clear objectives to boost our economic status globally ... Our journey of development endures”. Demand from the UK for the new visa has already been extremely high, with 400 of the 2,000 visas granted so far being to British nationals.

Under the new scheme, remote work visa applicants will effectively sponsor themselves, rather than being sponsored by a UAE-based business. If successful, remote visa holders will be permitted to remain in the UAE for a period of 12 months, after which they will either need to leave or apply for another visa.

One of the main reasons to apply for this visa, apart from allowing overseas workers to live in the UAE, is the tax benefit. Visa holders will still need to pay tax in their home country, but they will not need to pay tax in the UAE. As such, they will be able to effectively pay the same taxes they would have paid in their home country but benefit from the superb weather and lifestyle available in the UAE.

Applicants are required to have an income of at least $5,000 (£3,636) per month. The fee for the visa is $287 (£209) per year, in addition to the cost of medical insurance.

According to Issam Kazim, chief executive of the Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing, many people are applying from within the UAE, including those on tourist visas; “We also see a direct effect from the more than 18,000 people already in the city leveraging the complimentary tourism visa extensions, many of whom are now choosing Dubai as a more semi and permanent base for themselves by opting to choose to live and work remotely from here.”

UAE Offering Citizenship To Migrants For The First Time

In another substantial shift in policy for 2021, the UAE government has announced that it will offer passports to select foreigners and professionals. As such, migrants will not be able to apply for citizenship in the UAE, they will need to be invited. The UAE passport is internationally recognised as one of the most flexible in terms of global mobility. The official statement on the new policy stated, “The United Arab Emirates has approved amendments ... allowing investors, professionals, special talents and their families to acquire the Emirati nationality and passport under certain conditions”. It went on to say, “The step aims at appreciating the talents and competencies present in the UAE and attracting more bright minds to the Emirati community in a way that contributes to the development and prosperity of the country”.

Golden Visa Scheme Expanded For 2021

The highly innovative ‘Golden Visa’ scheme in the UAE allows overseas nationals to reside, work, and study in the UAE without needing to be sponsored. It also allows business people to retain 100% ownership of their business within the UAE. The scheme is geared towards investors, entrepreneurs, specialist talent, researchers in various fields of science, and “bright students with promising scientific capabilities”. Visas are typically granted for an initial period of either five or ten years, depending on the route chosen. Under the 2021 scheme, the range of occupations and qualifications for the Golden Visa scheme has been expanded and now includes:

  • Ph.D. holders who have studied at one of the top 500 universities in the world
  • Certified doctors
  • Engineers specialising in the fields of computers, electronics, programming electronics, active technology, electricals, AI, and Big Data are also eligible for the visa.
  • ‘highly qualified individuals' with a Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.8 or more from a government-approved university
  • scientists and researchers who are specialists in their chosen fields (accredited by the Emirates Scientists Council)
  • holders of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Medal for Scientific Excellence
  • Investors with Dh10 million
  • Inventors with approved patents
  • Entrepreneurs with ‘injected’ capital of Dh500,00 or more

Final Words

In addition to the above schemes, the UAE has also recently announced a five-year multi-entry tourist visa for all nationalities and a scheme that will allow international students to bring their family members to the UAE to join them. All in all, the new schemes announced by the UAE government signal a clear intent to draw the brightest from around the world to boost the countries economic prosperity and standing in the world. We expect to see more schemes being announced by the UAE in the coming months. We will keep you up to date with the latest UAE immigration news as it is announced. If you need further assistance with your immigration matter, don’t hesitate to contact a UAE immigration lawyer in London.

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