UAE: Afghan student gets Golden Visa, hopes to spread positivity

Supplied photo
Supplied photo

Dubai - Usman Speen Jan is thankful to the UAE for its humanitarian efforts in Afghanistan


James Jose

Published: Fri 27 Aug 2021, 5:52 PM

As Afghanistan bleeds and the world watches in horror, Usman Speen Jan hopes that his accomplishments can bring a ray of hope and positivity among his countrymen living in the UAE as well as back home.

Born and raised in Dubai, the 25-year-old received the UAE Golden Visa in the exceptional student category, making him perhaps the only Afghan student to be granted the 10-year visa.

Usman received the Golden Visa after graduating from the UAE University with a 3.99/4 GPA in accounting.

And while it was a joyful moment, it was kind of a bittersweet feeling for Usman, especially with what has transpired in Afghanistan.

“To be honest, I didn’t expect to get it so quickly but the whole process took just 10 days. It feels amazing to receive the UAE Golden Visa,” Usman told Khaleej Times.

“Yet, there are mixed feelings as it is really sad to see what is happening in Afghanistan at the moment, the heart-rending scenes at the airport and the news of the attack that happened yesterday (Thursday) and dozens were laying in the waste water canal. That was really, really hard to see.

“But I wish that my news (Golden Visa) would give Afghans living here some hope, and shed some light on some positive aspects of Afghanistan. In the end, it is about the people of the country, the politics might be, you know, good or bad, but it is the people who matter the most,” he added.

In 2019, Usman had received the Future Makers Award, one of the prestigious awards in the University, with him upstaging 18,000 students, to win the award with the highest academic achievement. He also won a cash award of Dh10,000 as well as a summer programme in the USA, where the UAE University collaborated with The George Washington University School of Business. Usman completed the summer programme in ‘Emerging Topics on Leadership & Innovation’ at Washington DC and New York.

During the programme, Usman got to visit the Congress, the UAE Embassy in Washington DC, and organisations such as the World Bank and the UN Headquarters in New York.

Indeed, Usman’s story is a fascinating one as his father, a native of the Khost province, fled the country during the Afghan-Soviet War in 1986 and moved to Pakistan before arriving in the UAE to work as a labourer.

“I’ve never been to Afghanistan. I was born here in 1996, when the Taliban took over. My father’s journey began as a labourer because he was not educated — he studied until the sixth grade. And after the Soviets came, he was unable to continue his education and was forced to move to Pakistan and then came to the UAE when he was 18, with my grandfather. He later went on to start his own construction company. We are 12 siblings and my father made sure we were well educated,” said Usman, who had got a scholarship at the UAE University.

Usman is also thankful to the UAE for its humanitarian efforts in Afghanistan and hoped that he can repay it by serving the UAE.

“The efforts put in by the UAE in helping Afghanistan is not new and it goes way back. The UAE has always lent a helping hand to Afghan citizens and I want to thank them for this wonderful gesture and I hope they continue offering help and support,” he said.

“This is a wonderful chance for me to give back to this wonderful country that has given me a lot. And I have considered this as a home, because I have not been able to go back to my country,” Usman said.

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