ABU DHABI, A local newspaper has said that the UAE's very first permanent residency scheme, the 'Golden Card programme', which was launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, two months ago, is already starting to bear fruit.

In an editorial published on Thursday, Abu Dhabi-based The National stated, "Buoyed by the programme, an impressive eight in ten UAE residents and investors are now planning to grow their investment portfolios in the country, according to a recent poll by Lootah Real Estate Development."

Under the new scheme, beneficiaries are awarded 10-year visas that are automatically renewed, with the aim of stimulating foreign investment, retaining local talent and developing the property market.

The paper noted Sheikh Mohammed's announcement that 6,800 people from 70 countries will receive the visa, many of them business people and entrepreneurs who helped shape the UAE we know today. "They include Yusuff Ali, Lulu Group's managing director and BR Shetty, founder of NMC Healthcare, who have both called the UAE home for more than four decades."

"Permanent residency is a way for the nation to give back to accomplished individuals who have contributed to its success story, rewarding their loyalty and encouraging them to keep living, working and investing here. At the same time, the move is growing confidence among overseas investors. A heartening one quarter of non-investors polled said the scheme has encouraged them to contemplate investing in the UAE for the first time," it added.

The editorial stated that "Nearly two out of three UAE residents now plan to invest in property, mostly in Dubai."

"Saleh Abdullah Lootah, chief executive at Lootah Real Estate Development believes that this will drive the property market "to a boom", as renters become buyers and settle here for the long-run."

The paper went on to say that "Permanent residency is proving to be a winning strategy to ripen the property market and diversify the economy. It follows a raft of impressive social and economic reforms, designed to prepare the nation for its post-oil future."

"But most importantly," it added, "Golden Cards are spurring a mentality shift, giving successful residents the sense of longevity and belonging they need to plan their futures in the UAE."

Source: Emirates News Agency