Now is a great time for UK residents to consider moving abroad to work in the UAE. New UAE visa regulations mean that moving to Abu Dhabi or Dubai offers a plethora of new opportunities for UK expats than ever before.

The UAE introduced the 10-year residency visa in 2019, and more recently in October 2022, longer visits for tourists became available along with a five-year green visa, aimed at skilled professionals and freelancers without the need of sponsorship. The new 10-year 'golden visa' was also introduced for professionals who have made outstanding contributions to the country as well as exceptional students.

These government initiatives, along with several others, is part of a new push to attract and retain skilled UK professionals to the UAE. Huge investments in tourism, finance and construction industries have led to good economic growth for the region and created an undercurrent of optimism for business leaders.

The thriving startup culture has also helped to drive growth further, fueling fierce demand for skilled talent.

Related: Thinking of relocating to Dubai? Here’s everything you need to know


New UAE visa regulations for UK expats

•  10-year Residency UAE Visa

The 10-year residency UAE visa was introduced to provide more long-term residency options for a selection of expatriates. The ‘golden card’ UAE visa application is open to investors, entrepreneurs, chief executives, scientists, and outstanding students. 

The introduction of this UAE visa application means that expats can look forward to a more settled, long-term career in the region. Applicants must meet certain UAE visa requirements to gain the new card, which can be renewed on a rolling basis.

•  10-year Golden UAE Visa residency system

The 10-year Golden Visa has been awarded to thousands of people in the UAE. This visa focuses on the recognition of highly skilled people, professionals who have made great contributions to the country and individuals who have been crucial to economic growth. As long as the applicant can meet the requirements every 10 years, then the golden visa will be renewed.

You can read more on the 10-year golden visa requirements to find out whether you could be eligible - they are typically given to entrepreneurs, researchers and exceptional students. 

•  5-year Green UAE Visa

The new Green UAE Visa can be used by professionals for up to 5 years and is a great option for investors, self-employed individuals, business partners and skilled workers. This allows for a 5-year residency in the UAE without the need for sponsorship and also allows them to bring immediate relatives into the country with them for the duration of their stay.

There is a 60-day work permit for anyone looking to apply for a Green Visa so that the application can be completed once they have arrived in the country.  

•  100% foreign ownership

Foreign investors were permitted to own only 49% of a company registered in the UAE, but government reforms now allow 100% ownership across 13 industries to encourage more investment. 

This has already proven successful, as shown by Uber’s recent acquisition of UAE competitor, Careem, as well as Amazon’s acquisition of UK professionals considering a move to the UAE may find they have more opportunities for internal relocation with their current employer.

 Freehold ownership of land and properties

Abu Dhabi has introduced a new freehold law which allows foreign investors to buy property within designated investment zones, where previously, only UAE and GCC nationals could buy.

A rule was recently amended by royal decree to help entice large corporates to establish offices within the region. It could provide an additional influx of stable, long-term job opportunities for expats via current employers.

•  A new version of the UAE passport

The Federal Authority for Identity, Citizenship, Customs and Ports Security have released a new version of the UAE passport. It now has enhanced security using polycarbonate and intricate spectrum patterns, a security thread and a 3D marking showing date-of-birth. You can apply for one through IPC's website or app.

Related: Thinking of relocating to Dubai? Find out how the recruitment process works in the UAE


Have you explored what jobs are accessible to you?

Finally (and this is the exciting part!) it’s time to take a look at what jobs are available to you. You may already have a job in place, but if not, then job boards and recruitment agencies are a good starting point.

Explore the market as much as you can and try to align your wants and needs with what is available to you – and be prepared to wait for the right fit.

Search Dubai Jobs

A recruiter may also be able to help you match your skills and experience to what is available in the Dubai job market, you can contact one of our experts in the UAE here.