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A new visa to work remotely in the UAE: the French take the plunge

Since March 21, the United Arab Emirates have opened applications for a new remote work visa, which will allow employees from all over the world to live and work in the UAE for one year. An announcement in line with the shift of work patterns since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, that should boost tourism in the region.

Who has not recently come across the picture of an Instagrammer nonchalantly sipping a cocktail under the palm trees and hot sun of Dubai? Some photos that seem like a provocation to the rest of the world, and create a certain craze for the region among the public.

With sunshine all year round, the absence of taxes on its citizens and businesses, some modern infrastructure and an almost non-existent crime rate, the advantages of the United Arab Emirates don’t leave anyone indifferent, even attracting many international influencers who massively settled there in the last months. Magali Berdah, a famous artistic agent and head of the Shauna events agency, even declared having moved to Dubai this year to get closer to her clients, in a report broadcast last February on the french channel TF1.

Influencers only?

Influencers who take advantage of the paradisiacal scenery of Dubai and its surroundings, between sea, desert, and azure sky, to make their juicy product placements. But the last are not the only ones to look towards the UAE, it’s also the case of many entrepreneurs and freelancers who hope to escape the European austerity imposed by the health crisis.

A process now facilitated since the UAE cabinet announced the implementation of the “Virtual Working Program” last March, a one-year visa that will allow professionals from any country to choose the UAE as a place to work remotely. The government has also approved a multiple-entry tourist visa for all nationalities. A series of initiatives that aims to put the UAE on the map as an ideal destination for work and tourism. A catalyst for the local economy and local real estate, but also an open door for foreigners who want to experience the “Dubai style” while working in an innovative and safe environment. A movement that is part of the global shift of working patterns in a post-Covid world as Gabriella De la Torre, director of the real estate investment firm CBRE Dubai branch, explained to the Arabian business newspaper “This trend naturally creates an opportunity for different markets to attract these remote workers by offering them the positive quality of life that the UAE has to offer.”

Many a European gets seduced by Dubai’s quality of life.

The french on deck

An announcement that has already seduced many french who are thinking of applying, like Vivien, founder of a Bubblebump (football you play inside a plastic bubble) start-up, who intends to use this visa to test his service on the local market without taking any risks, “With this visa, I will be able to continue to manage the operations of my company in France remotely, while testing the service on the UAE market. It’s a great opportunity because I won’t have to open offices there, which gives me administrative flexibility and allows me to try the adventure at a lower cost”. Or Sonia, web developer in video games, “I’ve always wanted to live abroad but it was not legally possible, I have been thinking about Dubai for a few years now so I’m really glad of this new visa. I’ll apply so I’ll enjoy the sun and get a better feel of the city without leaving everything behind.”

But the famous sesame can also simply be a way for family or people to reunite, like Lucie, whose architect husband has been sent to Dubai a few months ago for his business “I planned to join him soon, but it was complicated to find a job, now with this visa, I will be able to settle temporarily while keeping my job and my income, until I find an opportunity on-site.”

An opportunity that remains costly because the self-sponsored visa requires a minimum monthly salary of $5,000, which keeps the selection strong at the entrance.