‘Made in UAE’: Expat entrepreneurs praise ‘Golden Visa’ scheme as eligibility expands

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United Arab Emirates’ Golden Visa holders have said that their new residence status makes them more committed to the country.

“If you are successful locally you can quickly become successful internationally too because you’re part of the ‘Made in the UAE’ brand,” Khaled Awamleh, the owner of media consultancy Eventica, told Al Arabiya English.

“It benefits me because I feel I belong to the country as a permanent resident, which then offers greater incentive to lead and grow the company over time,” he added.

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Naim Maadad, of the advisory firm Gates Hospitality, received his Golden Visa in March, and writing for Al Arabiya English in July said that there is a sense of safety when making business decisions.

“In any business, weighing up opportunities against risks is essential to see either an enterprise grow or collapse,” Maadad said. “One factor that is included in any business plan for an expat launching an SME in the UAE has always been the length of time one can stay in the country: can the business owner secure a Return on Investment (ROI) in a short period?”

Maadad explained that this security is generating more commitment from expat entrepreneurs willing to remain in the country in the long-term.

The food and beverage industry in which he works includes challenges when trying to get a concept running successfully.

“Taking the plunge in the UAE and setting up an F&B business was a difficult call because the narrow window for success versus packing your bags and exiting the country is tight,” he said.

A general view of the Abu Dhabi skyline. (Reuters)
A general view of the Abu Dhabi skyline. (Reuters)

The Golden Visa lifts that pressure of spreading investments between injecting money into their enterprises in the UAE while looking for investment opportunities in other countries.

“There is a freedom of knowing that there is long-term assurance on investments without having to face the worry of risks linked to financial returns. The visa also provides the flexibility to build proactive business plans,” Maadad said.

Restaurant owner and Chef Reif Othman said his Golden Visa means he doesn’t need to receive other expat documentation to live and work in the country, while developing his business successfully.

Othman owns the Japanese restaurant Reif Kushiyaki, and he said that on the back of the Golden Visa his decision-making is “more flexible, and I can take things one step at a time without being rushed.”

Maadad believes that the initiative will attract more foreign investment while stimulating the local economy. On the back of this the UAE’s competitiveness will increase and improve the country’s position as a global hub for entrepreneurs to pursue a plethora of activities.

“With the Golden Visa my business interests in the UAE have been extended, and I’m planning to live here for several years more. Given my age, in the not-so-distant future I’m hoping the UAE will introduce an expat retirement visa,” Maadad said.

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