In a significant development, the UAE government just approved a new visa system devised to attract major talent to the country.
The new scheme, which was passed by cabinet on Sunday, will allow foreign workers to apply for permanent residency.
But, there’s a catch: they kind of have to be geniuses.
“The United Arab Emirates is the land of opportunities,” Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, the vice president of the UAE and the ruler of Dubai, said on Twitter. Attracting top talents will “add to our economy and future,” he added.
Under the current law, the UAE doesn’t offer permanent residency to foreign workers.
And so, this initiative, according to Khalid Al Ameri, an Emirati columnist and social commentator, "seems to go hand-in-hand with the UAE’s strategy to build a country at the cutting edge of economic and social development."
"The United States has an O-1A visa for individuals with 'extraordinary ability' in science, education or business," he writes. "The UAE aspires to be a nation built on knowledge and innovation ... For that, we need to give the people we attract and the people who live here the ability to call this country home."
The ruler of Dubai has ordered that committees be set up to identify “the vital sectors that will be open for specialized visas, and to draw a plan to attract the most notable, exceptional regional and international talents,” according to Bloomberg, which quotes a statement carried by the official WAM news agency.
No further details have been given as to what the new visa will look like.