UAE launches ‘green visas’ for expats to work without being sponsored

Children above 15-years-old will be allowed to work in the UAE under a new visa scheme for the first time.

Abu Dhabi: In an attempt to boost the economy of the nation, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has announced a new class of visas called ‘green visas’, which will allow expatriates to apply for work without being sponsored by an employer, Emirates News Agency (ENA) reported on Sunday.

Expatriates in the UAE are generally granted specific visas related to their work, and it is difficult to obtain a long stay. The green visa is intended for people who have their own businesses and are not working or sponsored by an employer.

“It targets highly skilled individuals, investors, business people, entrepreneurs, as well exceptional students and postgraduates,” UAE minister of state for foreign trade Thani al-Zeyoudi, spoke to reporters on the sidelines of the UAE Projects of 50 event.

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Green visa holders can sponsor their parents and children up to 25-years on their permits, said the ENA report. The UAE government will allow people who have lost their jobs to stay in the UAE for up to 180 days, which is an incentive as most visas are linked to work contacts.

UAE law currently allows laid off workers to leave the country within 30 days. However, authorities are easing the expiration date and allowing people to stay from three to six months after losing their jobs. The initiative also allows students over 15 years of age to gain work experience, which ensures greater flexibility in attracting expertise to the state.

The UAE government also allows extension of business travel permits from 3 months to 6 months and extension of one year residence permit for humanitarian cases.

Expatriates make up more than 80 percent of the UAE’s population and have been a mainstay of its economy for decades. The oil-rich Gulf states have had to consider longer stays for expatriates as they seek to attract investment and diversify.

It is noteworthy that the UAE had announced in March the introduction of a residence permit for virtual work, under which any employee anywhere in the world can reside in the country even if his company is not located in the UAE.

In May 2019, the UAE government announced the implementation of the long-term golden residency system, whose owners will enjoy a number of unprecedented advantages that are limited to some categories.

In July this year, it was also announced that the golden residency was granted to the best 100,000 programmers from around the world. It provided a range of facilities and financing options for entrepreneurs and programmers, supporting the implementation of their projects and innovative ideas, and establishing digital companies that support the competitiveness of the UAE economy.

15-years-of age allowed to work part-time jobs for first time

In a major policy change, children above 15-years-old will be allowed to work in the UAE under a new visa scheme for the first time. With a temporary work permit, they would be able to get a part-time job and get a taste of the workplace without interrupting their studies.

“Anyone who’s living here, who’s above 15 years old, can apply for a temporary job,” Dr Al Zeyoudi said. The relaxation from the UAE government to ensure students have access to the market.

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