As part of its efforts to boost tourism and the private sector economy, the Saudi Arabian government has introduced two new visas for visitors—a multiple-entry tourist visa and a remote work visa that allows professionals to work out of the UAE even if their company is based out of another country.
The UAE government has announced two new visas for visitors. One is a multiple-entry tourist visa available to all nationalities. The other is a work visa that allows employees from around the globe to live and work from the country for a year.
UAE Vice President and Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed confirmed the news in a series of tweets, saying that the initiatives were aimed at establishing the country’s status as a “global economic capital”. The multiple-entry tourist visa is self-sponsored and valid for five years. A holder can stay in the country for up to 90 days on this visa during each entry, and this period is extendable by another 90 days. A visitor can enter and exit the country as many times as they wish on this visa. Previously, tourists could apply for either 30-day or 90-day visas.
The one-year remote work visa, which was approved by the Federal Cabinet on March 21, enables professionals to live and work out of the UAE even if their employer is based out of a different country. However, they must be willing to sponsor themselves. The move is aimed at attracting an additional workforce to boost the UAE’s economy in a post-COVID world. It removes the need for companies to open up offices in the UAE to hire people within the country, thereby reducing operating costs while generating employment.
These reforms are among the recent initiatives by Saudi Arabia to encourage private sector companies and develop its tourism sector. On March 16, the Saudi Tourism Authority launched Tourism Shapers, a new program to develop the country’s private tourism and trade sector. To begin with, the platform will feature a series of monthly interactive webinars, each presenting a specific topic around best practices, key insights, and information that would help stakeholders stay up to date with the industry’s constant evolution. The first webinar, ‘The Future of Travel and Tourism’, was led by Noor Nugali, assistant editor-in-chief of Arab News, and travel expert and founder of start-up enabler Why Bolt, Aya Sadder. The panellists shared their insights and perspectives on the future of tourism and how businesses can prepare and adapt for the times to come.