Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Trade, recently announced the launch of NextGenFDI, a government initiative aimed at attracting the world’s leading digital companies and innovators to the UAE.
This initiative is the latest in a long line of measures intended to position the UAE as a hub for emerging tech industries and reflects the country’s ambition to attract the world’s best talent and be at the forefront of the digital and tech revolution.
It is hoped that NextGenFDI will provide tech businesses with the necessary market entry support to launch and scale effectively and will encourage established firms to choose the UAE as a base for their operations.
It will also serve to facilitate UAE residency to the top talent in fields such as software development, data science and coding.
There is already a thriving tech scene in the UAE, and the country is always embracing the application of technology in day-to-day life, from smart government applications to paperless transactions and retail fintech services.
This latest initiative is another example of the UAE’s forward-thinking policy-making and drive for economic diversification.
One of the main drivers has been the reduction in cost and red tape to allow companies to set up in the UAE faster and cheaper, and the new visa regime is a huge incentive for tech professionals, investors, entrepreneurs and businesses to look closely at the possibilities to set up a base or operations in the UAE. It is now possible for tech professionals to obtain long-term visas, and 10 golden visas are available for those at the top of their game. Company owners, investors and other talented individuals can also obtain these long-term visas, which gives them greater visibility to want to put down roots in the UAE. This together with the UAE’s incredible standard of living, security and infrastructure for families, schools, transport and medical care make the UAE one of the top destinations for companies to set up and bring their staff to.
What measures have been put in place?
The measures introduced will simplify and speed up the process of business incorporation in the UAE, and include:
- Fast and flexible incorporation process
- Bulk visa issuance
- Improved facilitation of banking
- Incentives for commercial and residential leasing
- Easier access to business financing
Who has signed up under the initiative so far?
The initiative has been supported by seven key partners thus far. Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), the free zones Dubai South and DMCC, the tech hub Dubai Internet City and the banks NBD and WIO. This will ensure that there is a coordinated market entry approach and that prospective investors can benefit from these initiatives from a wide range of centres and organisations.
Commenting on the launch of the NextGenFDI campaign, Ahmed Jasim Al Zaabi, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), said: "We intend for Abu Dhabi and the UAE to become a centre to raise and deploy capital with the prudent management of risk in support of sustainably oriented, long-term economic growth for the next-generation businesses. ADGM’s partnership in this campaign is a step forward and resonates with our commitment to work hand-in-hand with the UAE’s government, regulators, and private sector to develop a holistic approach, one that strengthens our country’s global standing as an innovative investment hub."
The UAE has already implemented several successful legal and social reforms in recent years which have transformed its economy and strengthened its standing as a global investment hub. Some of these include expanding eligibility for long-term residency, changes to commercial laws, allowing full foreign ownership of onshore businesses and changing the UAE’s working week to align it with other global economies.
Its recent overhaul of residency visa requirements, particularly those for Golden Visa eligibility, have made it easier for entrepreneurs, investors and exceptionally talented individuals to gain residency and contribute to the future success of the UAE economy.
The UAE's two main financial centres, ADGM and DIFC, have been hugely successful in fostering a supportive environment for businesses to thrive. They provide cost-effective licensing options, incubator and accelerator programmes and access to a wide range of resources and funding options.
How will this latest initiative benefit the UAE and prospective investors?
This latest initiative will further reduce the complexity of doing business in the Middle East and aid the UAE in attracting some of the leading tech innovators and thought leaders. It is another important step towards transitioning to a knowledge and innovation-based economy.
For prospective investors, it incentivises relocation to the Emirates with assurances that if you’re a business with a strong idea, the UAE will provide all the necessary support to see that it comes to fruition.
About the author
Jessica Ashford is the Chief Operating Officer at PRO Partner Group.
For companies looking for assistance to set up in the tech and digital space in the UAE and for support and advice on visas for staff, families, investors, entrepreneurs and larger companies, they can get in touch with PRO Partner Group at www.propartnergroup.com.