The UAE is providing five-year visas to 100 Arab startups shaping the fourth industrial revolution (4IR), with an aim to encourage innovation within future technologies.
These 100 Arab startups were selected on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum on the Middle East and Africa, which was held in Jordan.
Companies and residents usually get two-year visas to legally operate from the UAE. However, the country has recently taken steps to provide longer visas - some for up to 10 years - to candidates who can contribute exceptionally within their chosen fields.
The latest step will help attract more startups, which are increasingly becoming engines of innovation and employment within the local economy, thanks to their ability to disrupt traditional industries. According to a press release by Annual Investment Meeting (AIM), startups and other young companies can provide around 50% of all new job prospects in the market at their seed stage. Meanwhile those operating for two and a half years hired an average of 12 workers.
With the new step to provide visas, the UAE is hoping to capture growth that would be generated through these companies.
"The UAE is a global incubator for emerging innovations. Our innovation-friendly legislative structure is essential for startup companies," said Abdulla bin Touq, Secretary General of the UAE Cabinet.
"This collaboration with the World Economic Forum to grant long-term visas to the top 100 Arab startups reflects our commitment to facilitate businesses, create an attractive and encouraging environment for growth, and underline the UAE's position as a global destination for talents."
According to the World Economic Forum's latest report, 20% of the Arab world's 100 most promising startups are based in the UAE. The country is also home to 19 startups that will likely shape the 4IR.
The Gulf Arab country has also been working to develop the ecosystem to foster entrepreneurship locally. The UAE recently opened RegLab, the largest laboratory to anticipate and develop future laws governing the use and application of technology. The lab aims to create transparent legislative environment by introducing new or develop existing legislation, regulating advanced technology products and applications and, by providing a secure legislative environment encourage investment in future sectors.