The Abu Dhabi-based Indian retail tycoon M.A Yussufali, the chairman and director Lulu Group has become the first expat in Sharjah to get the gold card permanent residency.
The scheme was recently announced by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai. As per the novel initiative, the UAE government aims at generating foreign investment and attracting top engineers, scientists and star students and has identified around 6,800 qualified expats from over 70 countries in the first phase. Unlike the long-term visa of 5-10 years for businessmen and talented individuals, the gold card gives permanent residency of the UAE to the holder. The Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship, ICA, issued the first "Golden Residence Permit" in Abu Dhabi, as part of the "Investors Permanent Residence System" implemented under the UAE Cabinet's Resolution No. 56 for 2018, which aims to help investors, entrepreneurs and qualified individuals who meet its criteria. The UAE announced that it would grant five or 10-year residency visas to investors, entrepreneurs, specialists in the medical, scientific, research and technical fields, and 'outstanding' students to "facilitate business and create an attractive and encouraging investment environment" in the country. The visa benefits also extend to the wider family (spouse and children).
Commenting on the honour, the Keralite billionaire said, "(It is) A very proud and emotional moment in my life...I am sure this new Gold Card permanent residency scheme aimed at key investors, who have played a defining role in the nation building process, will further boost UAE's image as one of key investment and business global hubs as well as attract and retain new investors here”.
Importantly, the UAE based Indian billionaire is a businessman and Padma Shri award winner from Nattika, Thrissur district, Kerala. According to Forbes, The Abu Dhabi-based Keralite tycoon is worth $4.7 billion - ranked the richest expat in UAE according to Forbes magazine's 2019 list of billionaires. He was ranked the 21st wealthiest Indian and the 270th richest in the world.