UAE launches ‘green,’ freelance visas

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Holders of the green visa will be able to sponsor their parents, as well as their sons until the age of 25. Upon expiration of the visa, they will be given a 90 to 180 days grace period, significantly more than the traditional visas given by the UAE, reports Asian Lite News

The UAE has announced two new visa categories – green visa and freelance visa – as the Gulf country aims to attract global talent for its ambitious economic transformation plans.

Top students, investors, businessmen, and those with specialized skills are eligible to get the green visa, Minister of State for Foreign Trade Thani bin Ahmed Al-Zeyoudi announced at a press event in Dubai.

Holders of the green visa will be able to sponsor their parents, as well as their sons until the age of 25. Upon expiration of the visa, they will be given a 90 to 180 days grace period, significantly more than the traditional visas given by the UAE.

Owners of independent businesses, or self-employed individuals can apply for the freelance visa, the minister said.

The announcements were made at a press conference at the Jumeirah Emirates Towers Hotel in Dubai, just days after the government said it was planning 50 projects to mark the UAE’s 50th year.

More press events will be held in the coming weeks to announce further packages included in the 50-projects initiative.

Eyeing growth

The plan is aimed to stimulate UAE economy and liberalize residency for expatriates, as the country seeks to overhaul its finances and attract foreign capital and residents.

The country’s finance minister on Sunday pledged that the government would pour some $13.6 billion into the economy over the next year. Other UAE ministries introduced various government overhauls.

Further UAE is hoping to exceed 4% growth in 2021, the country’s economy minister said, a higher rate of growth than previously forecast.

The central bank had forecast of 2.5% growth in December. Economic growth contracted around 6% in 2020, according to estimates from the International Monetary Fund.

The UAE is looking to create more than 30,000 jobs in the coming year, Abdulla bin Touq said in an interview on the sidelines of an event where the government outlined plans to reposition itself as a global hub for business and finance.

The Emirates for years since its independence has tied employment to residency status, giving employers outsized power and forcing people to immediately leave the country once they lost their jobs. The new plans give residents more time to seek other jobs after termination, allow youth over age 15 to gain employment and others to more easily join their families in the federation of seven sheikhdoms.

The Gulf state will expand economic ties with countries including South Korea, Indonesia, Kenya, Ethiopia and Turkey, officials said in a media briefing on Sunday.

One of the most notable inward investments in recent years was Uber Technologies Inc’s acquisition of UAE-based ride-hailing company Careem in 2019 for $3.1 billion. That deal sparked interest from regional and international venture capital firms, and appetite for backing Middle Eastern startups has picked up over the past few years, buoyed by the rapid adoption of mobile technologies in the region.

Earlier, Economy Minister Abdulla bin Touq said the UAE was seeking 550 billion dirhams ($150 billion) of inward foreign investment over the next nine years and aims to be among the 10 biggest global investment destinations by 2030.

It will focus on investments from countries including Russia, Australia, China, and the U.K.

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