Indian businessman M.A Yussufali, the chairman and director Lulu Group, has become the first expat in the UAE to receive the gold card permanent residency, the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (ICA) revealed.
He was handed the gold card in Abu Dhabi, becoming the first of 6,800 investors to receive the permanent residency.
The ICA said it has launched a programme to connect with remaining investors who are eligible for the gold card.
“The aim is to familiarise them with the new system and explain its benefits and advantages that offer them more diversified options for managing and developing their investments,” official news agency WAM reported.
The programme also includes an outreach initiative to investors and business leaders outside the UAE to introduce the new facility, the report said.
The gold card holders will enjoy long-term residency in the UAE along with their family members including the spouse and children. Investors can also employ three workers and obtain residence for a senior employee, advisor or manager.
The UAE launched the permanent residency scheme for expatriates in May.
The move will see permanent residency granted to “exceptional” professionals, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the country’s Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai said at the time.
“We launched a new “Golden Card” system to grant permanent residency to investors and exceptional doctors, engineers, scientists and artists,” Sheikh Mohammed said.
“Residents are an indispensable part of our country,” he added.
The first batch of recipients includes expats who have made total investments of over Dhs100bn.
The UAE also announced last year that it would grant five or 10-year residency visas to investors, entrepreneurs, specialists in the medical, scientific, research and technical fields, and ‘outstanding’ students to “facilitate business and create an attractive and encouraging investment environment” in the country.
It has already started issuing the longer-term visas to scientists as well as entrepreneurs and investors.