Dubai 2021: Forging Ahead in Global Ed

Global Ed

Dubai is one of the fastest-growing cities in the world and a popular global ed destination for students. Education is one of the core focus areas for the government of UAE, and a recent move reflects this intent even further.

In an unprecedented move, the government of UAE has approved a new policy that affects international students: an expatriate student studying in UAE can sponsor his/ her family to live with them in the Emirates, as long as they have sufficient income to support the move.

What would be the ramifications of this decision, and how will it help international students? We explore it here.

Implications of the New UAE Residency Policy

In the last week of January 2021, the Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum approved the new Cabinet decision that allows international students to also relocate their family to their study destination in the UAE, as long as the family can show proof of sufficient salary to manage their life abroad.

Many universities in Dubai and around the country have found this to be a favourable move, expecting a boost in the number of international applicants, given the provisions of the new policy. Especially after the year we have had, with the pandemic and the lockdown, just the option of having our family around will boost UAE’s position as a hub of international education. Dr. Yousef Al Assaf, President of Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) Dubai, said, “Psychological well-being of students is the main point to consider since having their family support is critical at the early stage of their studies.” This has also made the UAE a welcome destination for those wanting to pursue specialised, research-based education. A married professional wanting to begin his/her Ph.D. has the option of migrating along with his/her family, without having to choose between the personal and the professional.

Other Residency Laws in the UAE

This new policy follows the trajectory of decisions made in the last few years, to draw more foreign residents, especially international students into the country. In October 2020, Dubai launched a program that allows overseas professionals to emigrate to Dubai but continue working remotely for the company in their country of origin. Remote workers, gig workers, and those with flexible work schedules can choose to relocate, with their families, on an annual basis and experience the life and pace of Dubai. A valid passport, health insurance with UAE coverage, and a minimum monthly salary of $5000 are what you need to qualify for this plan. The Retire in Dubai plan is also up and running for foreigners aged 55 and over.

A Cabinet resulted passed in 2018 also brought into effect the Golden visa. Typically, an expatriate student studying in the UAE would have to renew their visa every year. However, a student who graduated with a GPA of 3.75 or above, from within or outside the Emirates, can apply for the Golden visa that would be valid for 5 years. In November 2020, this decision was ratified to also allow for a 10-year provision for Ph.D. holders, doctors, engineers in the fields of computer engineering, electronics, programming, electricity, and biotechnology, and “outstanding” students with a GPA of 3.8 or more.

A hub for education in the post-pandemic world

In addition to being a thriving travel and business centre, Dubai is a top contender as a premier education hub, building its reputation from two angles: its own universities on the side and international campuses of universities from the UK, Australia, United States, Canada, and even India on the other. This unique diversity has made Dubai a magnet for international students clamouring to position themselves in the cutting edge of global ed. Especially for those looking for higher ed opportunities, The Dubai International Academic City (DIAC), established in 2007, is the region’s largest academic hub, home to global and regional institutions with various programs to choose from. Engineering, Business Administration, IT, Aviation, and Medicine are some of the most popular courses that attract an international crowd in the UAE.

The Commission for Academic Accreditation (CAA) acts as the quality control, ensuring global standards are maintained at all levels of certification.  Our earlier prognoses on Dubai becoming the next global-ed hotspot are becoming more relevant day by day. Take a look at our earlier articles “Studying in Dubai” and “Studying and Living in Dubai” for more details.

A well-rounded choice

Being an international student is a huge privilege. It literally opens up the world of possibilities to you. Global ed can change your life from that point onwards. Therefore, the decision that you take needs to well thought out and approached from all possible angles. Of course, the reputation of a university and how far ahead it is in your field of study are major factors.

However, you cannot dismiss other essential criteria such as standard of life, residency rules, job opportunities, cost of living, and travel restrictions. The new immigration policies rolled out by the government of UAE sends a message of safety and security to international students. Taking away all the economic and political implications of it, for you, as a student, the option to sponsor your family is a humongous advantage.  This landmark move will make Dubai, and UAE at large, a premier choice when considering international options.

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Global Ed


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