Dubai has become the latest place to announce a way for visitors and digital nomads to stay in the country longer than ever before – and they will receive benefits previously only afforded to residents.

The new scheme allows people and their families to live in the emirate but work for companies that are based overseas. These long-term visitors will also be able to open a bank account, enroll their children in local schools and set up utilities such as phone and internet access. The virtual working programme visa is valid for one year and costs US$287, plus medical insurance and processing fees. 

Remote workers must apply to receive this new visa, and they are required to earn at least US$5000 a month and submit proof of employment and three months of bank statements. An added benefit of relocating is that Dubai does not impose income tax on individuals.

‘The global pandemic has changed how we live and work,’ Helal Almarri, director general of Dubai Tourism, said in a statement. ‘People continue to prioritise their health, wellbeing and ability to ensure a positive work-life balance. Dubai is uniquely positioned to offer a safe, dynamic lifestyle opportunity to these digitally savvy workers and their families while they continue to work remotely, whether it is for a couple of months or an entire year.’

Dubai joins an ever-increasing range of destinations that are relaxing visa requirements to entice remote workers, and visas are now available for long-term stays for countries across the world, including Estonia, Georgia, Barbados and Antigua and Barbuda.

In January, the government announced a country-wide five-year tourist visa for the United Arab Emirates in the lead-up to Expo 2020, in which 190 nations were to showcase the latest innovations in sustainability and mobility, but the convention has now been postponed until 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

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