The UAE has been known for a lack of citizenship programs, and difficult permanent residency, until recently.
Just late January this year, a new merit-based scheme was announced by HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum (Dubai’s ruler, and the UAE’s Prime Minister).
The new scheme targets individuals who can greatly contribute to the Emirati economy.
It encompasses specialized talents, investors, and outstanding professionals (including engineers, doctors, scientists, authors, and artists).
Family members of applicants are also allowed into the program.
Who is Qualified?
The new scheme comes after the UAE’s success with its golden visa scheme, and it allowing foreigners to fully own companies in the country.
However, the program does come with strict requirements. They differ depending on the type of applicant.
To qualify, they need to own UAE property. The minimum capital required has yet to be set.
They are required to have practical experience in their domain, not less than 10 years. Also, they should be researchers in a university or in a private sector research center.
The applicant should have contributed to the scientific field, while showing proof in the form of a prestigious award, or larger funding for their research in the last 10 years.
Finally, they’ll need a letter of recommendation from a recognized scientific UAE institution.
Specialists and Doctors.
Like scientists, they are required to have practical experience in their specialty amounting to over 10 years.
They must specialize in a unique discipline, especially those that are in-demand in the Emirates.
The applicants should have proof of acknowledged scientific contributions. Those may include research or studies.
Finally, the applicant should belong to a well-regarded organization in their specialization.
Applicants need 1+ of their patents to be approved through a reputable international institution or the Ministry of Economy. Also, they’ll need to get a letter of recommendation from the Ministry.
They include artists and intellectuals.
They include cultural and artistic pioneers who have won recognized international awards. Applicants are required to get a letter of recommendation from a government entity.
Pros and Cons of the Program
First, those naturalized don’t have to rescind their current nationality.
Second, citizenship can be extended to the main applicant’s family. They are required to swear an Oath of Allegiance (along with the main applicant).
Thirdly, it’s not purely an investment program. It does allow access to highly skilled workers.
What About Cons?
First, the citizenship may be revoked if any of the applicants breach the Oath of Allegiance.
Also, the clauses follow extreme discretionary requirements. The nominees for the program will mainly come from Ruler and Crown Prince Courts, the Cabinet, and Executive Councils.
Thus citizenship will mostly be granted on a legislative or executive basis, a similar form of exceptional naturalization followed in many countries.
Also, the policies so far are worded subjectively. Many details about the program still aren’t clear. They aren’t formulated well-enough to define benchmarks for applicants.
However, it isn’t a bad program at all. It’s a step in the right direction, especially since the UAE doesn’t have a conventional program to begin with.