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In a move that could help Indians living in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the Middle Eastern nation has announced radical changes to its visa regime, according to a report by The Indian Express.
UAE has announced it will grant 10-year visas for specialists working in fields such as medicine, science and research, among others.
The move is expected to attract talent to the UAE. Foreign students will also be able to avail a 5-year visa while 'exceptional' graduates can secure a 10-year visa, the report suggests. Right now, students are required to apply for a renewal of their visa every year.
The new rules announced on Sunday state that the 10-year visas would be extended to the families of the specialists as well.
The UAE is also set to allow foreign firms to own 100 percent of their business. Currently, foreign companies are required to have an Emirati partner to hold a majority stake, unless the business is based in a free trade zone.
This is expected to benefit many Indian businesses and entrepreneurs, who may be facing challenges in the UAE at the moment. Most shops and restaurants are outside free trade zones and require a local partner to operate in the country.
Indians will be significant beneficiaries of the new policy. As many as 2.8 million Indians live in the Gulf country, forming the largest expatriate community there. Of the total, 15-20 percent are professionally qualified personnel. Another 20 percent have white-collar non-professional jobs, while the remaining 65 percent are blue-collar workers.
The changes are likely to take effect by the end of this year. However, it remains unclear if the visa for professionals will be a 10-year employment visa or a 10-year residency visa.
At present, visas of most professionals living in the Emirates is linked to their employer and cannot be carried forward in case one decides to change jobs. If the changes lead to a residency visa, professionals will have better mobility in jobs.