UAE’s new visa regime to encourage residents to stay for a longer period

With more flexible visas, many residents and high-net-worth individuals are now planning their future in the country


Waheed Abbas

Published: Sun 8 Jan 2023, 8:56 AM

Last updated: Mon 27 Feb 2023, 1:11 PM

The average duration spent in the UAE by residents is set to increase as the new visa regime will encourage expatriates to stay in the country for a longer period, say recruitment and HR consultants.

The UAE has introduced many new long-term residency permits including Golden Visa, Green Visa, Retirement Visa and Freelance Visa for investors, property buyers, students and professionals to attract the best talent from around the world.

The UAE for a long time has been seen as a transient place, where professionals spend a year or two and then migrate to other countries. However, the introduction of long-term visas will increase the country’s appeal among skilled and professional workers from the Gulf, Asia and African regions.

Human resources industry executives noted that the time span of residents in the UAE has increased to over five years and is set to grow further as the country strengthened its position to one of the safest during the pandemic.

Nicki Wilson, managing director, Genie Recruitment, believes that having more flexible visas will encourage many individuals to stay long-term in the UAE and also allow HNWI to settle and plan their future with the UAE in mind.

“With the new longer-term visa options, we will see more of a shift in mentality with the average duration spent in the UAE set to increase. It is more often now that we hear of talent having lived in the UAE for a longer term, say five years plus, but the future would see more and more residents have an even longer tenure,” says Wilson.


After staying in the country for some time, many skilled and qualified UAE residents opted for permanent residence in other countries to gain a stronger passport i.e., Canada, the UK, and Australia. “We might see more individuals staying for longer rather than moving around as frequently.”

James Swallow, commercial director, PRO Partner Group, said there has been an influx of high net-worth individuals (HNWIs) moving to and remaining in the UAE since the launch of the Golden Visa in 2019 as the country has been referred to as a “millionaire magnet” and the availability of visas to individuals of high net worth make it an attractive destination to live and work.

“Dh2 million investment via property category allows HNWIs to obtain a Golden Visa. Hence, property value numbers are increasing, reaching record levels towards the back end of 2022. This shows that residents are here to stay, thanks to security and stability,” he said.

Between 2019 and mid-November 2022, Dubai's General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs issued 151,666 Golden Visas to investors and professionals, reflecting a steady increase in interest and successful residency approvals for long-term residents.

Nicki Wilson added that with the hybrid option gaining currency, people are more geographically mobile.

“The UAE is taking steps to ease the visa situation for expats who are not fixed in a UAE-based role, and this has opened the doors for many who seek the Dubai lifestyle without necessarily having to look for employment within the UAE. You may have people now working on global projects but living in the UAE,” she added.

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