Kris Fade
Kris Fade

Kris Fade feels 'adopted by the UAE' with Golden Visa

The emotional bond to the country has been made official explains radio star


David Light

Published: Sun 28 Feb 2021, 2:20 AM

A surprise phone call last week fired the starting pistol on a whirlwind experience for one of the most recognisable faces and voices in the UAE. A consistent Virgin Radio morning presence to millions for well over a decade, Kris Fade’s services to broadcasting have won the 41-year old (who also celebrated his birthday yesterday) a Golden Visa.

“I haven’t applied for anything. I had no idea how it worked,” a still almost bewildered Fade told City Times on Saturday. “I received a call from the office...From what I understand it’s a 10-year visa, possibly rolling, and I come under the category of talent. The process is pretty simple. I have to speak to immigration directly and they speak with ARN (Arabian Radio Network) and then we put in the paper work. I’m learning about it as we go along. But it’s for my whole family. The kids and the wife-to-be will go under that visa.”

Describing the telephone conversation as a “goose bump moment” the overwhelming sensation emanating from the breakfast show host was one of gratitude. Moving to the UAE from his native Sydney in 2008 with a couple of thousand dirhams in his pocket and not knowing a soul, Fade quickly built a strong network of friends and contacts and was able to parlay a natural talent for presenting into a career now in its 13th year. The cache his name draws has also led to the establishment of several businesses including a snack company and tennis academy under the Fade Fit umbrella.

“They say America was a land of opportunity, but I really feel the UAE is too,” Fade said. “If someone has an idea and they want to run with it they can. There are always people willing to give you a go. I meet so many people who need nothing from me, and I don’t need anything from them, but they’ll call me up with a suggestion for my products for example. I feel like we are all here together raising each other up.”

While the Australian-Lebanese will always be a proud Aussie and familial bonds dictate the nation will always be ‘home’ in the more traditional sense, Fade questions what’s to stop us having two?

“In 20 years, when my daughters will be 30 and I’ll be close to 60 I’ll always, no matter where we are or what we are doing, I’ll want to drive them around Dubai and show them where they were born and what we did,” Fade said. “Be it a Golden Visa or whatever the passion for this place will never change. Actually we’ll probably still be here! I have no plans to move.

“Having this visa means so much. It’s more of an emotional connection. I feel like I have been adopted by the UAE. These are the official papers to say ‘we have adopted you.’”

In the beginning

As with many a Dubai expat observing a milestone, the chat quickly turned nostalgic. Confessing he didn’t know too much about Dubai before landing at Terminal 1 those many moons ago, it was friends’ recommendations and just a ‘feeling in the air’ which attracted Fade to the Middle East.

“Burj Khalifa was only half built. There was no Dubai Mall!” he explained. “There was no Virgin Radio. We at ARN set it up and you don’t know how these things are going to go. You have plans but you never know. This country is such a melting pot so we wanted a station and show that resembled the country. I didn’t want to do anything directed at just one segment of society. I wanted to speak to everyone. We have such a cool mixed team and I feel we resonate with everyone in this country.”

Going from strength to strength the morning programme has stood the test of time, Fade says, as a result of that diverse fan support.

“I feel the love all the time,” he said. “We receive hundreds of messages every day from all kinds of people from all walks of life.”

And the pandemic has only encouraged more vociferous support, which has resulted in a new found sense of responsibility for Fade and his co-stars.

“Being able to get into the studio and on that radio station every day has been a privilege. All the radio presenters in the whole network really took a step up especially in those early days. We didn’t know what was happening but we had a duty to make sure the right info was going out because people are turning to us. Just to be able to hear our voices I think was a bit of reassurance and consistency for people.”

Now armed with a Golden Visa, Fade’s continuation of regular service and striving for greater accolades looks set to be guaranteed.

More news from In The City