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All you need to know about UAE’s 50 economic initiatives, so far

The UAE Government has unveiled a global campaign to attract foreign investment and talents and promote the features that distinguish the UAE as one of the world’s most dynamic, competitive, and innovative business hubs

UAE’s planned 50 economic initiatives aim to attract $150 billion in foreign direct investment The UAE and the Emirates Development Bank will invest $1.37 billion in technology-heavy sectors The new data law aims to attract 100 coders every single day

The UAE Government has unveiled a global campaign to attract foreign investment and talents and promote the features that distinguish the UAE as one of the world’s most dynamic, competitive, and innovative business hubs.

Known as the “United Global Emirates,” the campaign will build on the UAE’s “Impossible is possible” brand and champion the world-class capabilities, services, infrastructure, legal frameworks, and resources available to international investors, entrepreneurs, and professional talents in the country.  

With open skies policies, zero income tax on individuals, investors or corporates, (except for oil companies and branches of foreign banks), free zones and 100% foreign ownership, direct airline routes to more than 250 global cities, and shipping lines to more than 400 cities that connect the East with the West, the UAE has become the globe in one country in less than five decades.

Details of the plan

UAE’s planned 50 economic initiatives aim to attract $150 billion in foreign direct investment (FDI) in the next 9 years and include investing in technology and creating new visas to attract residents, digital nomads, and skilled workers.

This adds to several measures over the past year to attract investment and foreigners amid a growing economic rivalry with Saudi to be the region’s trade and business hub.

The UAE has already unveiled social reforms to make the country more attractive to expatriates, who make up 90% of the 10 million population. These include allowing cohabitation by unmarried couples and allowing expatriates to use their home countries’ legal systems for personal matters such as divorce. 

Among the newly announced projects, the UAE and the Emirates Development Bank will invest $1.37 billion in industrial technology and technology-heavy sectors in a bid to raise productivity by 30%, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology Sultan al Jaber said during a media briefing.

Other initiatives include allocation of $1.36bn to a national development bank to support Emirati projects. The country will also target a 10% increase in exports to 10 key markets, including China and the UK, as part of a 14% growth in investment outflows by 2030 in preparation for a post-oil future.

Two new visa categories – one for freelancers and one for entrepreneurs and skilled workers – will be created to have more flexibility for sponsoring family members and will allow more time to find a new job after one employment ends.

Last year, the UAE extended to more categories a “golden” visa system which grants 10-year residency that Dubai said could boost economic growth in the emirate by up to 1%.

The UAE also plans to deepen its trade ties in fast-growing economies in Asia and Africa.

‘Principles of the 50’

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, took to social media on September 5 to share the ‘Principles of the 50’.

Highlights are below:

Relaxation in residency laws

Widows and divorced women will soon be able to remain longer in the UAE without visa restrictions.

Instead of a grace period of 30 days, they will be able to continue in the country for a whole year.

New ‘data law’ unveiled

Omar Sultan Al Olama, the Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, Digital Economy and Remote Work, unveiled the ‘Data Law’.

It is the first federal law designed in partnership with major international technology companies.

The law, to be deployed in the coming weeks, gives individuals the freedom to control the way their personal information is used, stored, and shared.

The new law also aims to attract 100 coders every single day and have the highest ratio of female coders per capita in the next 5 years, according to Al Olama.

“We want to be home to the best talent, one of the Silicon Valleys of the world,” he said, giving a boost to a coveted Golden Visa program to 100,000 of the best coders from around the globe.  

Johnny Karam, Managing Director and Vice President of International Emerging region at Veritas Technologies commented:

 “The UAE’s new data law serves as an important reminder of the significant value of data in today’s digital economy. Hackers are using increasingly sophisticated attacks to hold our data and the companies who harbor it, to ransom. Analysts predict the amount of data stored globally will grow from 33ZB (1 zettabyte= 1021 bytes) in 2018 to 175ZB by 2025. The rise of social media, online banking, remote working, and e-commerce mean our digital footprints are bigger, riskier, and more dispersed than ever.”

 Temporary work visa scheme for some students

Students aged 15 and above will soon be allowed to work in the UAE under a temporary visa scheme, according to Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, UAE’s Minister of State for Foreign Trade.

100 lighthouse projects in priority sectors

Sarah Al Amiri, Minister of State for Advanced Technology, stated that 100 lighthouse projects have been launched in priority sectors. The UAE will look to invest $6.82 bn in the industry over the next 10 years.

“We are ushering in the next phase of the fourth industrial revolution,” she said. “It is a comprehensive program for the adoption of technology.”  

A Readiness Index will provide companies with a roadmap on how to progress on the technology front.

UAE ‘green visa’ holders can sponsor sons till they are 25

The green visa is for entrepreneurs and pioneers, among other professions and their holders can sponsor their sons’ visas till they turn 25 from 18 originally.

Green visa holders can also sponsor their parents.

New portal to be launched

A new portal called Invest.ae will be launched.

Several foreign markets will be the subject of focus. These markets include Russia, Australia, Holland, Azerbaijan, Italy, Hungary, China, United Kingdom, Luxembourg, Slovakia, Poland, New Zealand, and Indonesia.