Pakistani businessmen hail UAE golden visa service

This file photo shows passengers on escalators at the airport in Dubai on Dec. 26, 2018. (REUTERS)
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Updated 04 January 2020

Pakistani businessmen hail UAE golden visa service

  • Investors, entrepreneurs and professionals will now be able to get long term residence visas
  • Pakistan should adopt the UAE model to attract foreign investment, say businessmen

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s business community has applauded the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Golden Visa Portal, saying it has made it extremely convenient for investors, entrepreneurs and professionals to apply for long-term visas of five or 10 years.

The UAE Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship launched a purpose-built portal to receive golden visa applications on December 16, 2019. The website allows business owners to enjoy a wide range of services and facilities along with unprecedented privileges and multiple options to manage and develop their investments.

A “Gold Residency Visa” or “Gold Card” grants the holder five or 10 years of residency in the UAE.

“It is a great step in this global world where every state is focusing on trade and investment. The UAE wants to attract foreign investors from across the world, including Pakistan,” Mian Anjum Nisar, President of the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI), told Arab News on Friday.

“The facility previously lacked in the UAE system: People who had invested a lot still could not cherish the benefits of residency in the Gulf state. This step will further improve the business and investment environment in Emirates,” Nisar said.

Director-General of Pakistan’s Bureau of Emigration and Overseas Employment Kashif Noor concurred with him, saying it was a good opportunity for Pakistani businessmen and entrepreneurs.

“Presently only high net worth individuals can benefit from the scheme, yet it can be a good opportunity for wealthy businessmen from Pakistan who have always wanted to invest in the UAE,” he said, adding it could also benefit the families of golden visa holders who would be able to obtain long-term visas for their dependents as well.

Waheed Ahmed, Patron-in-Chief of All Pakistan Fruit and Vegetable Exporters, Importers and Merchants Association (PFVA), said people all over the world wanted to live and run their businesses in Dubai.

“The UAE is also arranging Expo 2020, so it is a good time to introduce such service as the whole world will be focusing on Dubai for six months. So it is a good strategy to give an attractive message to investors all over the world,” Ahmed told Arab News on phone from Karachi, adding that it would also open plenty of new avenues and opportunities for Pakistani businessmen, investors, and talented professionals.

“Pakistan should also follow the UAE model to ease the business environment and attract foreign investment,” he added.

A Pakistani expat and managing partner of Alliot Group, Dr. Hadi Shahid, who has been living in the UAE for the last 40 years, told Arab News on phone from Dubai that the new scheme would be very helpful for Pakistanis running their businesses in the UAE since they would not have to go for visa renewal every two to three years.

“It will also curb the feeling that the UAE does not offer permanency like other countries of the world despite huge investments by individuals. This will be beneficial for those who have properties above 500 million dirhams or have made other heavy investments,” Shahid said.

Pakistan ‘wants to play its role’ for peace in Middle East – FO

Updated 12 January 2020

Pakistan ‘wants to play its role’ for peace in Middle East – FO

  • Work on foreign minister’s visit to Saudi Arabia, Iran and the United States being done
  • Pakistan’s strong relations with regional countries has made it an important player

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs reiterated on Thursday that the country was going to play its role in restoring peace in the Middle East by working with other international stakeholders in the region.

“Pakistan welcomes de-escalation and wants to play its role in ensuring peace and stability in the region. We have seen that indication in United States President [Donald] Trump’s speech and are evaluating its contours,” the country’s foreign office spokesperson, Aisha Farooqui, said in her weekly media briefing in Islamabad on Thursday.

She said that Pakistan’s geographical position, along with its strong relations with regional countries and the United States, had made it a significant player in the Middle East.

“Pakistan has maintained that war is not the solution to any issue and made it clear that it will not become part of any regional conflict,” she said.

The spokesperson noted that Islamabad had enhanced its efforts to defuse tensions in the region and Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi had contacted his counterparts in Iran, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey and many other important states in this connection.

“All the international players, including Saudi Arabia, have said that the region cannot afford another war and asked for restraint from both parties [the US and Iran]. It’s a collective objective of all countries to ensure peace and stability in the Middle East,” she said.

Commenting on the foreign minister’s upcoming visit to Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the US, she said that “work on these tours has already started and they will take place as soon as dates are finalized with the respective countries.”

“We are very mindful for our brotherly and friendly relations with Saudi Arabia, Iran, and other regional countries. Pakistan and the US also enjoy longstanding relations and have contacts with each other through multiple forums including political and military leadership,” Farooqui said, adding that the foreign office had established a task force to continuously monitor the situation in the Middle East and inform the government about it along with its suggestions on a daily basis.

The spokesperson expressed hope that recent developments in the Middle East would not affect the ongoing Afghan peace process.

“Pakistan hopes that progress made on Afghan peace process will not come to a halt and the world community will not lose its focus as a result of the ongoing tensions in the Middle East,” she said.

Asked about the safety of Pakistani nationals in Iraq, she said the country’s embassy in Baghdad was on the alert to deal with any emergency situation.

“We are concerned about the safety of Pakistani citizens in Iraq and have issued an advisory in this regard. We have also instructed our mission in Baghdad to remain vigilant to deal with any emergency,” Farooqui said.