n a historic move, UAE on Saturday announced major changes to its citizenship law, allowing for the naturalisation of foreign investors, doctors, scientists, artists and talented people and their families, Gulf News reported.
The change in the citizenship law aims to ensure the social stability of the people in the country and boost the overall national development process.
The changes, taken upon the directives of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, were approved by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, on Saturday.
The decision specified the categories of the people who can be granted citizenship, under certain conditions.
The law allows for the recipients to also keep their current citizenship, which is a major change to the previous rule that doesn’t allow for dual citizenship.
The law detailed the terms and conditions on each category upon which the citizenship is to be granted:
The condition provided for investors is that they are required to own a property in the UAE.
As for medical doctors and skilled professionals, they are required to specialise in a unique scientific field that is needed by the UAE, while having contributed to studies and research that have scientific value in their field. In addition they are to possess 10 years of experience in that field and a membership in a prestigious professional organisation in thier field.
The prerequisite for scientists is that they should be active researchers in their field at a university, a research institute or the private sector, have 10 years of experience in that field, have scientific contributions- such as having won a prestigious scientific award, or having secured a significant funding for their research for 10 years, in addition to a recommendation letter from a credited scientific institute in the UAE.
The law also aims to facilitate “Talented people”, which is further divided in two categories.
Firstly the investors, who are required by law to have had at least one patent certified by the UAE Ministry of Economy or any, accredited relevant international body, which has a real value to the UAE economy, in addition to a recommendation letter from the UAE Ministry of Economy.
Secondly, the intellectuals and artists, who are required to be pioneers in culture, arts and other talents with at least one international award in those talents in addition to a recommendation letter from the UAE relevant bodies.
The terms and conditions for the citizenship law necessitate the recipients to take an oath and swearing in allegiance to the UAE, a pledge to uphold and respect the laws of the country, informing the relevant authority if they get new citizenship or lost one.
Meanwhile, the changes also specified the rights of those who are granted the UAE citizenship under the new law, such as the right to establish and own companies in the UAE, buy and own land and real estate property in the country, in addition to any other right extend to them by the federal bodies, with the approval of the Cabinet, or by local government bodies.
As per the law, citizenships of said individuals may be stripped from those categories in such cases as the violation of the legal commitment or losing at least one of the conditions upon which a person was granted the citizenship.
Those qualified for the citizenship would be nominated through the Emirates’ rulers’ court, the courts of the crown princes, the executive council in an emirate or the cabinet.
The historic move is the first major change to the UAE nationality law No.17 of 1972 on Nationality and Passports, represents a milestone in the Arab world, which usually restrict the naturalisation process to a very limited cases and mostly bans dual citizenship.
The UAE has taken several steps recently to ensure the social stability of those with long time residency in the country and those who contribute to the wellbeing and development of the society through the introduction in 2019 of the permanent residency scheme, which allowed for granting 5 and 10 year ‘Golden Visas’ to certain categories of residents.
Thousands of people have been given the Gold Visa in the past two years, including investors, medical professionals, engineers, scientists and specialised talents.
The new changes put the UAE on par with many developed nations that appreciate the talents of expatriates by awarding them the citizenship, ensuring in the process their social stability and secure a future for them and their families in the country.