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UAE residency: Foreign students can now sponsor families

UAE residency: Foreign students can now sponsor families

Foreign students in the UAE will now be permitted to sponsor their families, provided they have the financial means to do so

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum

The UAE has amended its residency laws to now permit foreign university students in the UAE to sponsor their families, provided they have the financial means to do so and can afford suitable housing.

The decision was conveyed via Twitter by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, who chaired a meeting of the Council of Ministers in Abu Dhabi on Sunday, January 24.

“The UAE has become a regional educational destination with more than 77 universities and tens of thousands of students annually,” said Sheikh Mohammed.

The move will serve to increase the number of students who would consider higher education in the UAE, said Professor Ammar Kaka, provost and vice principal of Heriot-Watt University Dubai.

“Families coming in could mean that they seek employment and gain valuable experience here, possibly invest in property and stimulate economic growth, especially critical during the post-pandemic recovery stage. Most importantly, students and their families can now plan a long-term future here in the UAE and one that goes beyond just the duration of their study programme,” he said.

“At Heriot-Watt University Dubai, international students already make up a sizeable segment of our overall student enrollment. We have students who travel from Africa, Middle East and South Asia to pursue higher education with us, across a variety of disciplines and we anticipate greater numbers now in the future,” he added.

There have been a number of changes to local residency laws in the country, especially in the emirate of Dubai.

The Dubai Government launched a new five-year renewable Retirement Visa that allows resident expatriates and foreigners aged 55 and over to live within the emirate.

Read: Dubai introduces five-year renewable Retirement Visa for those aged 55 and over

Retirees are eligible for the visa provided they either earn a monthly income of at least Dhs20,000 ($5,500), or have savings of Dhs1m ($275,000) or own a property in Dubai worth Dhs2m ($550,000).

In October, the emirate also launched a new residency programme which allows overseas remote working professionals to relocate and live in the Dubai – along with their families – while continuing to work remotely for their overseas employer.

Read: Dubai launches new residency programme for overseas remote working professionals

As for the 10-year golden residency visas, Sheikh Mohammed recently expanded the categories of individuals eligible for it to include PhD holders, doctors, engineers in the fields of computer engineering, electronics, programming, electricity and biotechnology as well as graduates from accredited universities with a GPA of 3.8 or more.

Read: UAE expands eligibility for golden residency visas – new categories revealed

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