UAE joins Singapore in race to onboard Indian founders


Aditi Shrivastava

156 reads

Aditi Shrivastava

156 reads

The oil-rich country is offering golden visas to Indian entrepreneurs and also stepping up investments in startups with expansion plans, as it competes with Singapore to draw top talent

December 03, 2021


Several Indian startup founders and tech investors were in the United Arab Emirates during the recent IPL leg. Enjoying some T20 cricket or a company offsite in Dubai seemed to be in order after a year of big changes and big fundraising.

But there was also a serious matter on the agenda: signing up for the UAE’s golden visas. These are long-term residence visas that allow foreigners to live and work without a sponsor and have 100% business ownership.

Previously, total foreign ownership was permitted only in the UAE’s free trade zones; businesses incorporated ‘onshore’ had to be 51% locally owned.

“Most unicorn founders were on the list (for golden visas). Bankers were hired in India to spot the right people and persuade them,” said an entrepreneur who was approached for the same.

The development comes at a time when investors like Abu Dhabi’s state holding company, ADQ, have emerged as major backers of Indian startups.

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