By Ms. Marie O’Neill, General Manager EER Executive Expatriate Relocation – Middle East |

Dubai is most certainly an ambitious and visionary city. This is a destination unafraid to adapt, push boundaries and implement creative solutions in order to evolve and grow. Throughout its, comparatively short, history the government have consistently displayed a talent for anticipating trends and facilitating ways in which to capitalize on economic or societal shifts.

From encouraging international investment to promoting non-oil based GDP revenue streams, each action is intended to improve the health and wellbeing of the country and all of its residents. We now have another reason to celebrate their prescient vision, thanks to the launch of a new remote working visa initiative that will be highly in-demand following the recent super-charge to the digital age.

A Virtual Visa?

The new visa, launched in October 2020, will be available to overseas professionals whose job is, or can be, performed remotely. It will encourage them to come and live in Dubai, while retaining their employment position in their home country. The programme aims to promote the benefits of living in Dubai and improve our economic competitiveness. Some of the key elements to note are:

The Virtual Working Programme Visa is valid for one year. It costs $287(US) but applicants will also need to secure medical insurance with valid UAE coverage before applying and pay a processing fee Recipients will be able to access a range of services including telecoms, utilities and schools Currently the eligibility criteria requirements are:

  • Passport with six months minimum validity remaining
  • Health insurance with UAE coverage
  • Evidence of employment including a one-year contract, minimum of $5,000 (US) monthly income, previous month’s pay slip and copies of bank statements for the preceding three months.
  • If you own a company, proof must be provided (valid for at least one year) in lieu of the employment contract, but income, pay slip and bank statement requirements remain the same

Digital Age 2.0

As noted in The National, this initiative embodies Dubai’s desire to enhance its global position and reflects its innate understanding of an ensuing digitization wave. The world around us is getting smarter. Technology dominates so many aspects of our lives and has drastically impacted the way we live, shop and socialize; why wouldn’t it affect the way we work in equally strong ways? Even before the global pandemic sent many of us into what felt like house arrest, the International Labour Organization estimated that nearly 8% of the global workforce already worked from home on a permanent basis.

While we wait for things to settle, this number will undoubtedly have grown significantly over the last few months. Companies in all sectors, and their employees, are coming to the realization that their role might not be dependent on their physical presence. With all of the advances in technology, project management software and the playful backgrounds accessible on Zoom, they are able to get their work done from anywhere and in many cases improve their productivity.

Working from home can mean few distractions, more efficient days, a better work/life balance and the chance for companies to hire talent that they might previously have been unable to get.  No matter how things evolve with the pandemic, remote working is now more prevalent than ever and it won’t be going away; companies (and countries) that can adapt and take advantage of that stand to benefit the most.

Reaping the Benefits

For remote workers considering the move, there are many attractive elements that make Dubai stand out.  With our enviable geographical location Dubai is extremely accessible and holds court as one of the world’s leading tourism and business destinations.  It also offers an excellent climate, a luxury quality of life, zero income tax, one of the most varied property markets and an unrivalled record of safety and security.

Dubai is also one of the first countries to successfully open to tourists and its MICE sector, setting the standard for safety protocols and fostering the opportunity for international networking. The stability and convenience of Dubai, not to mention its ambitious approach, is hugely attractive to entrepreneurs and organizations that could thrive in a forward-thinking environment. By continuing to enhance support and provide tailored solutions that reflect wider global trends, Dubai will cement its standing as a force to be reckoned with in the MENA region.

If you would like to talk to any of our expert team about the Remote Working Programme or any other Relocation, Corporate or Visa Services, please get in touch on or +971 4421 1819 today.

Kan-Tor & Acco works with EER Executive Expatriate Relocation and can provide a combined service for related UAE immigration issues.