The Emirates has long guaranteed its 1.4 million citizens a high standard of living through reserved jobs and a cradle to the grave welfare system.
To protect it, they have seldom allowed naturalizations.
Following Saturday’s unexpected announcement by Dubai Ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, that plans are underway to grant citizenships to certain individuals and their families, AMEinfo brings you the latest on the news item and who can benefit from it.
Foreigners can get UAE citizenships
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is home to over 9 million people, only a tenth of them are citizens.
The UAE on Saturday announced plans to grant some foreigners citizenship as part of efforts to stimulate its economy amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to the Associated Press.
According to Bloomberg, the UAE is the first Gulf Arab nation to formalize a process aimed at giving expatriates a bigger stake in the economy.
The major policy shift unveiled on Saturday is aimed at attracting talent in a way that will boost growth in the UAE, home to the Middle East’s finance and travel hubs and millions of expatriate residents, Bloomberg added.
The UAE previously gave citizenship to Palestinians and others who helped form the country’s government after its formation in 1971. Others have received it over time as well.
Sheikh Mohammed wrote on Twitter that hereditary rulers in the country’s seven emirates and at the federal level would nominate those for citizenship.
“The UAE cabinet, local Emiri courts, and executive councils will nominate those eligible for the citizenship under clear criteria set for each category,” he said. “The law allows receivers of the UAE passport to keep their existing citizenship.”
The UAE government said the amendment “aims at appreciating the talents and competencies present in the UAE and attracting more bright minds to the Emirati community”.
Lewis Allsopp, CEO of Allsopp & Allsopp on the recent UAE citizenship announcement.
“The UAE cabinet’s decision to give Emarati citizenship to talented and innovative people is a huge step. UAE leaders are continuously implementing change for the betterment of the country and are doing so at a time where people are craving security more than ever.
With investors being offered citizenship, the real estate market will benefit hugely. Not only that, but residents in the country will reap the rewards from the skilled professionals who will be enticed by the dual citizenship opportunity. I’ve commented for some time now that the overall sustainability of the property market relies on people feeling like the UAE is home and what better way to make people feel more at home than giving them citizenship.”
Preambles to this announcement
Preceding the announcement in November, the UAE had announced plans to overhaul the country’s Islamic personal laws, giving unmarried couples to cohabitate, and loosening other tighter laws related to alcohol consumption.
The government had recently made its visa policy more flexible, offering longer residencies for certain types of investors, students, and professionals.
Also, last year, the government extended its “golden” visa system which grants 10-year residency in the Gulf state to certain professionals, specialized degree holders, and others.
It was unclear if new passport holders would benefit from the public welfare system. The UAE spends billions of dollars each year on free education, healthcare, housing loans, and grants for its citizens.
Who can apply?
The ruler of Dubai said the offer could apply to artists, authors, doctors, engineers, and scientists, as well as their families.
Here’s a YouTube video offering more details: