'Almost shed tears': Long-time UAE resident brought back on Golden Visa by President

In a short, heartfelt video, Dr Welch expressed his deep affection for the UAE, particularly Abu Dhabi

by

Ruqayya Al Qaydi

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Supplied photos
Supplied photos

Published: Sat 18 May 2024, 6:00 AM

Last updated: Sun 19 May 2024, 7:40 PM

When Dr James Welch came to the end of his tenure as a professor at Rabdan University in Abu Dhabi, he thought it was the end of his journey in the UAE. However, the American professor received an unexpected royal invitation to come back and obtain a Golden Visa.

The story begins with Nasser Saeed, a 23-year-old Emirati filmmaker from Abu Dhabi, who had a chance encounter with Dr Welch. This meeting, which took place during a university project on National Day, sparked a friendship that would ultimately lead to a series of unexpected events.


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Nasser Saeed
Nasser Saeed

Nasser was curious to know more about the blue-eyed man dressed in a kandura, dancing to the rhythms of traditional Emirati music. So, he approached Dr Welch and ended up making a short video on his story.


Deep love for UAE

"After talking with him (Dr Welch), I discovered that this man has many stories and deep love for this country. I wanted to show it to everyone," Nasser told Khaleej Times.

Dr Welch, in the heartfelt video, expressed his deep affection for the UAE, particularly Abu Dhabi. He also said that he would leave the country in two weeks and expressed his hopeful desire to return here one day.

Personal call

The video went viral and Dr Welch received heartwarming comments from Netizens. However, he did not expect the video to reach President Sheikh Mohamed.

Dr Welch then received a personal call from the governor's office just weeks after his departure, extending a formal invitation for him to return to Abu Dhabi.

He returned and stayed in a hotel that he described as ordinary, only to be surprised that someone from the royal office came to him and informed him that he would be transferred to a five-star hotel and given the golden residency.

“I was shocked. It was surprising, I almost shed tears," he said.

Overwhelmed by generosity

Upon his return, Dr Welch was overwhelmed by the warmth and generosity extended to him, even though he had reservations stemming from the end of his teaching position at the university. He was then assured that he would be employed as a consultant.

With deep gratitude, Dr Welch described his love for the UAE and its Rulers, saying: "The Rulers here care not only for their people but also for the residents of this country."

“I never expected the video to reach Sheikh Mohamed and for him to see it; this indicates the President’s attention to detail and his notice and care for everything.”

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