Golden Visa: Frontline workers thank UAE leaders

Those eligible to apply for long term residency also include the families of fallen heroes

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Photo: File
Photo: File

Dhanusha Gokulan

Published: Mon 1 Nov 2021, 7:15 PM

Frontline heroes and their families have thanked the UAE leadership for issuing directives that grant them the golden visa.

On Sunday, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, issued directives granting Golden Visas to frontline heroes and their families.

Those eligible to apply includes the families of fallen frontline heroes, and distinguished individuals whose extraordinary efforts helped protect the nation and its people throughout the Covid-19 pandemic said state media WAM.

"This humanitarian initiative will provide enhanced stability to frontline heroes and their families. It will also reinforce the UAE’s commitment to maintain a world-class first line of defence by granting long-term residency to the distinguished professionals who help protect the nation’s public health,” reads the report.

Since the announcement, frontline workers in the healthcare sector have praised the UAE leadership for providing them with the honour.

Dr Varsha Washimkar, the widow of Dr Sudhir Washimkar told Khaleej Times, “It is a very good initiative. I think it is a great and benevolent act by the government.”

Dr Varsha lost her 61-year-old husband to the virus last year while on shift as head of the accident and emergency ward at Burjeel Royal Hospital in Al Ain.

Dr Varsha is a recipient of the UAE golden visa. “I received the ten-year residency visa earlier. However, this initiative will help scores of individuals lead a fruitful life here in the UAE.”

Dr Sanjay Paithankar, the managing director of Right Healthcare, told Khaleej Times, “The current announcement stands to benefit more frontline workers and this means they would stay in the country for longer periods of time. More and more talented people will be available to provide quality healthcare to people in the country.”

Out of the 180 doctors in the Right Health network, at least 90 have already received the visa.

The UAE Golden Visa grants critical workers and their families ten-year residency.

Since the beginning of this year, hundreds of medical personnel, especially doctors, were granted the Golden Visa for services rendered amidst the Covid-19 pandemic. The doctors work in both private as well as the public sector.

Frontline heroes were also given help with schooling costs and other benefits including free flights home to see their families under the Hayyakum programme.

The programme aims to provide the children of frontline healthcare professionals with high-quality education and alleviate the financial stress they face. The ultimate goal is the "long-term retention of frontline healthcare professionals in the UAE”.

Rani Elsa Oommen, chief nursing officer at VPS Healthcare, said, “This is a great decision taken by the UAE government to support the frontline workers. It is truly inspiring. UAE has become a role model in handling the pandemic by adopting several effective measures right from day one.”

Oommen was leading the group's nursing department throughout the pandemic. When the group decided to set up the dedicated Covid facility, she was responsible for coordinating the nursing team and training them to handle services.

She added, “The authorities provided free treatment and services to frontline workers considering their dedication and the new initiative is another milestone to celebrate. The decision will help to retain experienced medical professionals in the country by making available their service for a long term.”

Usually, nurses move from country to country in search of better opportunities. “Long-term residency program like this, is an initiative for those to stay here in the UAE. The country has set a model for the world through these novel initiatives. It's a proud and happy moment for all healthcare professionals,” said Oommen.


Sarah Ilyas, the chief nursing officer at Aster Hospitals and Clinics UAE said, “The entire nursing fraternity of UAE is grateful for this kind gesture of appreciation offered by Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed.”

“In nursing training, we are taught to serve with selfless sacrifice and to go over and above the call of duty, to place our patients above our loved ones. The world has realised the significance of the nursing profession during this pandemic phase. Covid-19 has unveiled the hardship, sacrifices and risks a nurse goes through each day,” she said.

Sarah added, “There’s only one thing that nurses expect in return and that is a humble appreciation, kind gestures as demonstrated by the government of UAE by offering Golden Visas to frontline workers. On behalf of the entire nursing workforce in UAE, I take the privilege to salute and stand in admiration of His excellency for considering us worthy of this gratitude.”

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