Foreigners are now eligible for a 10-year residency in the United Arabs Emirates after the government announced the extension of its golden visa system.

The UAE Vice President, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, made the announcement on Sunday via his official Twitter handle.

Prior to the announcement, foreigners were restricted to renewable visas valid for only five years under the umbrella of employment but this has now been extended beyond employment to certain professionals, including specialised degree holders and others.

The visa grant will be for “all holders of doctorate degrees, all doctors, engineers in the fields of computer engineering, electronics, programming, electricity and biotechnology, outperforming accredited universities in the country at a rate of 3.8 and more,” al-Maktoum tweeted.

His full tweet read:

“Today, we approved granting the 10-year Golden Visa to all PhD holders in the UAE. Also, the Golden Visa will be granted to top graduates from UAE-accredited universities with a GPA of 3.8 and above.

“UAE Golden Visa will also include UAE-based physicians as well as engineers in the fields of computer science, electronics, programming, electricity and biotechnology.

“Other categories granted UAE Golden Residency are specialists in AI, big data, virology, epidemiology & UAE’s high school top graduates and their families. We are keen to embrace talent that drives future development and this is only the beginning.”

The golden card was initially billed as a permanent residence system but the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs has since clarified that it is in fact a long-term, 10-year visa that renews.