UAE-based Indian business tycoon Lalo Samuel has become the first expat in Sharjah to get the gold card permanent residency.
Unlike the long-term visa of 5-10 years for businessmen and talented individuals, the gold card gives permanent residency of the UAE to the holder.
The Kingston Group chairman was handed over the gold residence card by Brigadier Arif Al Shamsi, Director-General of residency and foreigners affairs in Sharjah, the Gulf News reported Monday.
Kingston Holdings owns one of the largest manufacturing companies in the Middle East, that comprises several manufacturing units that process plastic and metal.
Samuel, who was selected as one of the top 100 Most Influential Indian Business Leaders in the Arab World by the Forbes magazine continuously for 2013, 2014 and 2015, became one of the 6,800 investors with total investment exceeding USD 27 billion to receive the gold card under a scheme announced in May by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai.
In a related development, Kerala-born Dr P A Ibrahim Haji, co-chairman of jewellery company Malabar Group and chairman of PACE Group, also received his golden card on Monday.
"The best thing about the permanent residency initiative is that it benefits investors and residents alike. It is definitely going to bring a lot of investors to the UAE as a result," Haji was quoted as saying by the Gulf News.