Com­pa­nies in the free zone can name those who fit re­quired cri­te­ria

The National - News - - BUSINESS - NADA EL SAWY

The Dubai In­ter­na­tional Fi­nan­cial Cen­tre has in­vited its clients to nom­i­nate peo­ple for the new long-term res­i­dency visas, ap­proved by the UAE Cabi­net last year, in one of the first signs of the re­forms com­ing into ef­fect.

In an email sent on Wed­nes­day to the more than 2,000 en­ti­ties reg­is­tered within the free zone, the DIFC asked senior ex­ec­u­tives to iden­tify and nom­i­nate in­di­vid­u­als within their or­gan­i­sa­tions who are el­i­gi­ble as “in­vestors, en­trepreneur­s, high cal­i­bre and out­stand­ing in­di­vid­u­als” by April 3.

The nom­i­na­tion can also be ex­tended to the di­rect fam­ily mem­bers of the el­i­gi­ble in­di­vid­u­als, which in­clude their spouse and chil­dren. Suc­cess­ful ap­pli­cants will be el­i­gi­ble for ei­ther a five or 10-year visa.

“DIFC is al­ways look­ing after the best in­ter­ests of its com­mu­nity,” a DIFC spokesper­son told The Na­tional. “This is a great op­por­tu­nity to give tal­ent within the fi­nan­cial ser­vices sec­tor the se­cu­rity to stay in the UAE and be a big­ger part of its fu­ture.”

The new long-term visas, which can be re­newed au­to­mat­i­cally, were an­nounced in May last year. They al­low ex­pa­tri­ate res­i­dents to live, work and study in the UAE with­out the need of a na­tional spon­sor and with 100 per cent own­er­ship of their busi­ness.

In Jan­uary, the UAE is­sued the first long-term visas to 20 fi­nal­ists for the Mo­hammed bin Rashid Medal for Sci­en­tific Dis­tinc­tion. Wider im­ple­men­ta­tion of the new sys­tem be­gan on Fe­bru­ary 3.

It is un­clear if other free zones have also asked for nom­i­na­tions. Abu Dhabi Global Market de­clined to com­ment on whether it has sim­i­lar plans.

Com­pany rep­re­sen­ta­tives at DIFC are re­quired to fill in an on­line form and, after re­view, the rel­e­vant doc­u­ments will then be sub­mit­ted to the Fed­eral Au­thor­ity for Iden­tity & Ci­ti­zen­ship.

“At present, DIFC is ... strictly col­lect­ing nom­i­na­tions,” said the DIFC spokesper­son.

Sam Instone, director of fi­nan­cial ad­vi­sory firm AES In­ter­na­tional, and one of the DIFC’s email re­cip­i­ents, said: “It presents a re­ally good op­por­tu­nity for us to pro­vide some­thing of real ben­e­fit and value to mem­bers of our or­gan­i­sa­tion.”

Those nom­i­nated must be el­i­gi­ble based on the Fed­eral Au­thor­ity’s spec­i­fied list of cri­te­ria and pro­vi­sions. For in­vestors, they must ei­ther have in­vested in real es­tate with a min­i­mum cap­i­tal of Dh5 mil­lion or in gen­eral in­vest­ments worth a min­i­mum of Dh10m.

For en­trepreneur­s, the main cri­te­rion is that they “own an estab­lished and suc­cess­ful busi­ness with a min­i­mum cap­i­tal of Dh500,000 in a field ap­proved by the Min­istry of Econ­omy”.

In­di­vid­u­als with “spe­cial tal­ents” and “re­searchers in the sci­en­tific and knowl­edge fields” are el­i­gi­ble un­der seven cat­e­gories with spe­cific con­di­tions. These cat­e­gories in­clude doc­tors and spe­cial­ists, sci­en­tists, in­no­va­tors, in­tel­lec­tual elite and senior ex­ec­u­tives. The fourth group la­belled “high cal­i­bre and out­stand­ing stu­dents” ap­plies to school and univer­sity stu­dents in­side and out­side the UAE who have ob­tained high marks and GPAs.

Mr Instone said the visas help pro­vide a thriv­ing SME en­vi­ron­ment and en­tre­pre­neur­ial cul­ture in the UAE. For com­pa­nies, the visas can help attract and re­tain tal­ent, he said.

“For ex­ist­ing cor­po­rates, the in­vestors and en­trepreneur­s are par­tic­u­larly in­ter­est­ing. It also means the ad­min­is­tra­tive bur­den would be re­duced sig­nif­i­cantly. At the mo­ment we go through that visa cy­cle every two years,” Mr Instone said. “It would pro­vide bet­ter long-term plan­ning and sta­bil­ity for lots of fam­i­lies.”

It presents a good op­por­tu­nity for us to pro­vide some­thing of ben­e­fit and value to or­gan­i­sa­tion mem­bers SAM INSTONE AES In­ter­na­tional director

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