handshakeThe United Arab Emirates has launched a permanent residency scheme aimed at attracting highly talented and wealthy professionals to the Gulf nation, the Business Standard reports.

UAE Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum unveiled the ‘Golden Card’ programme, particularly for investors and “exceptional talents” including doctors, engineers, scientists, students and artists.

He said: "We want them to be permanent partners in our journey. Residents are an indispensable part of our country.”

He also revealed that the first to be given permanent residency were a group of 6,800 investors originating from more than 70 countries with investments totalling to a total of 100 billion dirhams, or $27 billion.

"Throughout history, the UAE opened its door to millions of people looking for to pursue their dreams and better their lives. The Golden Card is our way to welcome all those seeking to be a part of the UAE's success story and making it a second home," Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid said.

As the Khaleej Times reported, this scheme will attract more foreign investment and boost the local economy, while strengthening the UAE’s competitiveness.

Many benefits are provided by the Golden Card, particularly an environment aimed at supporting businesses.

This is a highly advanced move from the typical limited duration residence permits that are handed out to UAE expats under a sponsorship system.

Major-General Saeed Rakan Al Rashedi, UAE's Director-General for Foreigners Affairs and Ports, had previously revealed that the categories for this new scheme include general investors who will be granted a 10-year visa, real estate investors who are able to acquire a visa for a five-year duration, professionals who may acquire a visa for 10 years, and outstanding students who may obtain five-year visas.

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