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The move is driven by economic interests, and the eligibility rules are still strict and the cap on permits is low. But it's good news for corporate leaders who do a lot of business in the region.

The United Arab Emirates said foreign executive directors will be eligible for long-term residency permits if they earn a monthly salary of 30,000 dirhams ($8,200), in a sign the Gulf nation is easing regulations to ensure sustained growth in the economy.

Applicants will also need a bachelor’s degree and no less than five years of work experience to apply for a 10-year residency visa, according to a presentation by the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship seen by Bloomberg. The news was first reported by Gulf News.

The move indicates further opening in a country where 80% of the population is made up of foreign expatriates, some of whom have lived in the U.A.E. for decades with no long-term residency guarantee. A recently introduced residency law was criticized for mostly offering rights to millionaires.

“The 10-year visa would increase the propensity for expatriates to save and invest in the U.A.E. given the outlook for longer-term residency, and we would expect strong demand for the visas,” said Monica Malik, chief economist at Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank.

Executive directors seeking the visa would need to present a valid work contract and must show health insurance for himself and dependents during that entire visa period, according to the presentation.

The offer is being made under the so-called “Golden Card” program announced earlier this year, which restricts the total number of 10-year visas for 2019 at 6,800. That “relatively limited” number will cap the benefits for the economy, Malik said.

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

This article was written by Zainab Fattah from Bloomberg and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to

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Tags: abu dhabi, corporate travel, united arab emirates

Photo Credit: The Burj Khalifa skyscraper, left, stands above the city skyline seen through the Dubai Frame architectural landmark in Dubai. Christopher Pike / Bloomberg