UAE announces new initiatives, including visa changes and new data law
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UAE announces new initiatives, including visa changes and new data law

UAE announces new initiatives, including visa changes and new data law

A new green visa has been launched to offer more flexibility to expats in the UAE

The UAE announced the first set of 50 new projects and initiatives set to be unveiled this month as part of its golden jubilee.

The ‘Projects of the 50’ is a series of developmental and economic projects that will be rolled out throughout September, which aim to accelerate the UAE’s development, consolidate it into a comprehensive hub in all sectors and attract talents and investors.

Several initiatives were announced in the areas of economy, entrepreneurship, advanced skills, digital economy, space and advanced technologies at an event on Sunday.

Visas

Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, UAE’s Minister of State for Foreign Trade, revealed the launch of a new ‘green visa’, which will be granted to entrepreneurs, investors, highly skilled individuals, top students and graduates.

The green visa, which distinguishes between work permits and residencies, enables its holders to sponsor themselves.

The visa will permit holders to sponsor their sons until the age of 25 (from 18 at present) and will also grant them a grace period of 90-180 days
to stay in the country once their visa is cancelled either due to job loss or retirement (up from 30 days at present).

It will also allow for the sponsorship of parents.

Al Zeyoudi also announced the launch of a federal freelancers visa for self-employed workers based in the UAE and overseas in specialised fields such as artificial intelligence, blockchain and digital currencies.

The new regulations also include expanding the golden visa eligibility to include managers, CEOs, specialists in science, engineering, health, education, business management and technology.

Other specific regulatory changes include:

– Extension of business trip permits from three months to six months
– Sponsorship of parents under the visa of direct family members
– One-year residency extension for humanitarian cases

“The measures have been introduced to enhance the competitiveness and flexibility of the UAE labour market, facilitate sector growth, spur knowledge transfer and skills development, and create greater stability and security for residents,” a statement said.

Industrial push

New initiatives to support the growth of the local industrial sector were unveiled by Dr Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology along with Sarah Al Amiri, Minister of State for Advanced Technology.

The newly launched Project 5Bn will see Dhs5bn allocated to support Emirati projects in priority sectors and is part of the Emirates Development Bank’s April 2021 allocation of Dhs30bn to help accelerate industrial development, adopt advanced technology, and support entrepreneurship and innovation by 2025.

The UAE government also launched ‘Tech Drive’, a Dhs5bn programme to support advanced technology adoption in the industrial sector.

Established in partnership with the Emirates Development Bank, the fund will support the industrial sector’s shift towards the applications of the Fourth Industrial Revolution over the next five years.

It will also provide programmes and incentives to support entrepreneurs in the industrial sector, aiming to achieve a Dhs25bn contribution to the GDP and raise productivity by 30 per cent.

The fund’s packages include financial and non-financial programmes, direct and indirect lending, capital investment in emerging and small and medium-sized companies, and advisory and guidance services.

Meanwhile Al Amiri unveiled the launch of a new index which will measure the progress of the UAE’s Fourth Industrial Revolution Strategy (4IR).

The Smart Industry Readiness Index and has been created in partnership with international tech giants and will support the digital transformation of 200 industrial companies after evaluating the efficiency of digital operations.

A leadership strategy has also been created to support industry leaders with 100 business leaders set to receive training initially.

The plan is to create “smart industry powered by technology”, Al Amiri said.

New data law

The UAE is also set to unveil a new data law that will ensure privacy of individuals and international companies, revealed Omar Al Olama, Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, Digital Economy and Remote Work Applications.

The federal law, designed in partnership with major international technology companies, gives individuals the freedom to control the way their personal information is used, stored and shared, and in a manner that supports preserving the privacy of individuals and institutions in the country.

“We don’t believe that the role of the government is to hinder the prosperity of the economic accelerators to do their job – we can do our job while allowing the private sector to go up,” he said.

Al Olama also said that the country is increasing its efforts to attract more coders, in line with the recently announced initiatives.

“The first step was announcing 100,000 global visas to programmers and coders,” he said.

He announced the “100 programmers every day” project, which will see the UAE add 3,000 programmers per month to the workforce in the national economy, to reach 100,000 programmers within 12 months.

The country is specifically looking at boosting the number of women in the sector, with an aim to “have the highest number of female coders per capita in the world”.

“We don’t want to be a local player, but a global player [in the coding landscape],” Al Olama stressed.

“We want to become a Silicon Valley, and export technology to the world,” he added.

Economic partnerships

To boost the UAE’s position as a main gateway for global trade and investment, the government is undertaking comprehensive economic partnership agreements with eight key global markets around the world.

The agreements aim to achieve an Dhs40bn annual increase to the UAE’s current Dhs257bn trade volume with these markets.

The agreements fall under the UAE’s global economic partnerships strategy, which aims to double the size of the national economy from Dhs1.4 trillion to Dhs3 trillion over the next 10 years.

The countries with which deals were signed are large markets that constitute 10 per cent of the world’s GDP, with an economic exchange among these countries worth $80bn. They are also home to 26 per cent of the world’s population, with high demand for goods and services, in addition to strong trade and economic relations in their respective regions.

The UAE government also approved the higher committee for economic agreements to oversee the expansion of partnerships with new markets and seize new investment and economic opportunities to sustain the growth of the national economy.

The country also launched three initiatives to boost foreign direct investment:

– The 10×10 programme aims to achieve an annual increase in the country’s exports by 10 per cent in 10 key markets: China, the UK, the Netherlands, Italy, Russia, Poland, Luxembourg, Australia, New Zealand and Indonesia.

Through an integrated system of incentives and benefits, the project will work to achieve a 14 per cent growth in cumulative FDI outflow by 2030, and a growth of investment directed to the targeted countries of 24 per cent by 2030.

– A new electronic portal – invest.ae – has been launched to act as an umbrella for all investment-related local entities and 14 state economic entities and will present all investment opportunities across the UAE. The portal will also provide information on the local investment environment, as well as business and bank account set-up services. It will also highlight entrepreneurial success stories.

This electronic platform is designed to showcase the UAE to major international companies and unicorn companies (billionaire companies), and encourage major global sovereign wealth funds to funnel investments to the country. It will also facilitate the identification of investors unable to invest in their own countries, open communication with them and incentivise the transfer of their investments to the UAE.

– The UAE will host the Emirates Investment Summit to connect investment funds with the public and private sectors to attract Dhs550bn in FDI over the next nine years. The summit is scheduled to take place during the first quarter of 2022.

Further projects set to boost the UAE’s economic and political development are set to be unveiled throughout this month.

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