Announced on January 24th, 2021, according to a new Cabinet decision approved by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, the UAE has amended its residency laws to now permit foreign university students in the UAE to sponsor their families, provided they have the financial means to do so and can afford suitable housing.
The UAE itself has more than 77 universities and tens of thousands of students annually. The decision, many universities said, will give a boost to student enrollment in the UAE universities. The flexibility to sponsor families also will give students the ability to make long-term commitment that would encourage them to start their entrepreneurship journeys in the UAE.
According Professor Ammar Kaka, provost and vice principal of Heriot-Watt University Dubai, the coming of the families could mean that they seek employment and gain valuable experience in UAE, possibly invest in property and stimulate economic growth, especially critical during the post-pandemic recovery stage. Most importantly, students and their families can now plan a long-term future in the UAE and one that goes beyond just the duration of their study programme.
There have been a number of changes to local residency laws in the country, especially in the emirate of Dubai. In October 2020, the emirate also launched a new residency programme which allows overseas remote working professionals to relocate and live in the Dubai – along with their families – while continuing to work remotely for their overseas employer.