UAE Announces New Economic Initiatives

The United Arab Emirates announced on Sep. 5 that it will launch 50 new initiatives to boost economic growth and attract $150 billion in foreign direct investment in the next nine years.

The “Projects of the 50” is a series of economic development projects aimed to make UAE the Persian Gulf’s trade and business hub.

Among the unveiled initiatives are new visas to attract foreign talent, accelerating tech investment, and more liberalized trade.

Thani al-Zeyoudi, the Minister of State for Foreign Trade, said that the UAE is restructuring its traditionally strict residency system to make foreigners “feel the UAE is home for them.”

UAE officials introduced the new “green visa” for high-skilled workers which will allow more flexibility in sponsoring family members and extend the grace period for moving from one job to another.

The new entry regulations also added the UAE’s first federal visa for the self-employed, with preference to IT specialists.

Sarah Al Amiri, Minister of State for Advanced Technology, said that among other projects, the UAE plans to establish 500 homegrown tech companies.

The plans came amid economic tensions between the UAE and neighbor Saudi Arabia as the former pushes for major trade agreements while surrounding sheikdoms remain protectionist.

“Anyone who is trying to be more conservative and trying to close their markets, the value is going to be only in the short term, but in the long term, they’re harming their economies,” al-Zeyoudi said.

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