The UAE's Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (ICA) has issued the first Gold Card permanent residency permit in Abu Dhabi, to Indian-born Yusuff Ali M A, chairman of retail giant Lulu Group and board member of Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and
Executive director of the General Directorate of Residency and Foreign Affairs in Abu Dhabi, Brig Saeed Salem Al Shamsi, awarded the first permit to Ali for his contribution to the UAEs' economic growth.
The Gold Card was launched part of the Investors' Permanent Residence System, implemented under the UAE Cabinet's Resolution No 56 for 2018, which covers investors, entrepreneurs, and qualified individuals that can meet its criteria.
The UAE had announced in 2018 that it would grant five- or 10-year residency visas to businesspeople, investors, specialists in the medical, scientific, research, and technical fields, and to “outstanding” students.
Lulu Group was founded and is chaired by Ali, who in October 2018 confirmed that the Abu Dhabi retail heavyweight would invest in Saudi Arabia's $500bn (SAR1.9tn) Neom mega-city.
Neom plans came after Lulu unveiled a $267m (SAR1bn) expansion programme for Saudi Arabia in July 2018, which included the launch of 15 hypermarkets in the kingdom.