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At the recently concluded World Economic Forum held in Jordan, the UAE government announced that it will grant long-term visas for the top 100 start-ups. Currently, the scheme is valid for Arab start-ups, including promising technology ventures in Egypt, Morocco and Palestine, and is expected to be extended to other regions soon.
The new five-year visas, announced by Abdulla bin Touq, Secretary General of the UAE Cabinet, and Khalfan Juma Belhoul, CEO of Dubai Future Foundation, aims to attract talent to the UAE and encourage start-ups to contribute to its vision for innovation in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
“The UAE is a global incubator for emerging innovations. Our innovation-friendly legislative structure is essential for start-up companies,” said Abdulla bin Touq, Secretary General of the UAE Cabinet in a WAM report. “This collaboration with the World Economic Forum to grant long-term visas to the top 100 Arab start-ups reflects our commitment to facilitate businesses, create an attractive and encouraging environment for growth, and underline the UAE’s position as a global destination for talents.”
The five-year visas will be granted to owners or founders of companies, all of their partners and up to three executives. The visas require no sponsor and will be in the names of the individuals they are provided to. Business founders, owners and executives applying for this new visa category can also take advantage of affordable licences, and also bring their families to join them in the UAE. If a successful start-up is bought or acquired, leading to founders and partners being made redundant, or if it should fail, the visa will still remain valid. This provision is to ensure talent is not just encouraged to move to the UAE, but retained for the long term, according to Belhoul.
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