Relaxed rules in the UAE to retain expats

  • jeune femme au chapeau jetant un regard sur Dubai
Published on 2021-10-20 at 13:00 by Bonjour_Vancouver
After more than a very complicated year for travel and international mobility, many countries are reopening slowly and smoothly. Amid the uncertainty and hopes for a better tomorrow, the United Arab Emirates is implementing new rules to attract expatriates from all over the world to revive their economy.

A wave of expatriates

Amid the pandemic, the United Arab Emirates, and especially Dubai, have been dynamic and proactive enough to attract business people from all over the world. While life had come to a standstill in most major cities, Dubai was almost back to normal. In fact, it became even more attractive in the eyes of individuals who were looking to do business overseas. In a testimony to the Financial Times, Zaïad Dannaoui, CEO of a global investment firm, used to travel between London, Dubai, New York and Beirut, his hometown, before the Covid-19 crisis. In August 2020, this global citizen chose to settle down in the United Arab Emirates. “It's secure and open. Dubai has a good sense of leadership, it is very proactive and solid, they are quick decision-makers, and are committed to building reliable infrastructure!".

The UAE's bet on the border reopening has paid off. Over the past year, the country has seen the world's largest jet-setters flock. With a successful vaccination campaign and a return to normalcy and festivities, Dubai managed to restore its image and remains one of the favourite expat destinations.

Relaxed residence rules and visas

The UAE is fully aware of the significant contribution of expatriates to its economy. This is why it took all the necessary measures to respond to the growing demand in a very short time. The country has also adapted many of its once-controversial rules.

In recent years, moving to the United Arab Emirates has been a very complicated task. For most expats, it was essential to have an employment contract upstream with a locally-based company. But things have evolved. Today, retirees can obtain a 5-year visa (since 2018), investors can get a five to ten-year Golden Visa (since 2019). During the pandemic, while most countries had their borders closed, the UAE relaxed its tourist visas application process. In January 2021, the United Arab Emirates introduced a remote work visa -- which means that you no longer need to leave your job and find a job in the country to live there.

At the beginning of September 2021, the country announced a series of new visas for immigrant workers. In addition, expatriates will be able to enjoy the same living standards and comfort as they had back home. For example, unmarried couples are now allowed to live together under the same roof. Expats are also allowed to have alcohol, and couples and divorce according to their home country's laws.

While many countries are still recovering from the pandemic and are gradually reopening their borders to attract expatriates again, the United Arab Emirates is a step ahead. This risk was worth taking for a country with a 90% expat population.