A new 10-year UAE ‘Blue Residency’ announced recently could create hundreds of job opportunities for those who care about the environment, experts have said. The long-term visa will help climate advocates balance their passion for the environment and job security.

Dr Amna bint Abdullah Al Dahak, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, said the visa will attract talents in the field of sustainability and climate champions from all over the world.

An expert said the visa is expected to generate employment opportunities for those who are trained or educated in areas of sustainability. These include environmental scientists and researchers, according to Libbie Burtinshaw, head of Operations at business formation and support provider PRO Partner Group. “The new visa will, of course, attract new talent to the region, but it is also expected to offer an additional element of security to existing residents, who may find themselves eligible.”

Another expert listed the sectors where jobs would be created as a result of the visa. Azeem Zainulbhai, co-founder and chief product officer at talent-on-demand platform Outsized, said the long-term residency will boost jobs centred around environmental sustainability:

- Environmental, conservation, and governance (ECG) sector: Roles dedicated to formulating policies and practices that advance environmental governance and regulatory frameworks.

- Sustainable development: Professionals will drive efforts to merge sustainability into various industries, balancing economic growth with ecological preservation for future generations.

- Marine life conservation: Positions related to the preservation and restoration of marine ecosystems, including research, monitoring, and active conservation projects.

- Climate action: Employment in this area will be aimed at supporting international climate objectives, including carbon reduction and the promotion of renewable energy sources.

“These roles will play a pivotal role in positioning the UAE as a frontrunner in sustainability and environmental conservation,” said Zainulbhai.

The UAE Cabinet had earlier asked sustainability advocates and experts to apply for the Blue Residency through the Federal Authority for Identity, Citizenship, Customs, and Port Security. However, it’s not immediately clear if the applications are open yet.

Green skills

According to the government, the 10-year visa is open to individuals who have made contributions to environment protection. These include marine life, land-based ecosystems, air quality, sustainability technologies or circular economy. It will be granted to members of international organisations, associations and non-governmental organisations, global award winners, and distinguished activists and researchers.

Zainulbhai said candidates for the Blue Visa must be well-versed in a variety of specialised fields. “Essential expertise includes environmental sciences, sustainable development practices, marine biology, and policy-making related to climate action and conservation.”

The expert sees the visa enhancing opportunities for freelancers and consultants in the UAE. “The Blue Visa significantly enriches prospects for freelancers and consultants specialising in the environmental and sustainability sectors. By offering extended residency options, it provides these professionals with a stable and attractive base to operate within the UAE, fostering both personal growth and professional development.”

Job flexibility

The UAE has multiple long-term residency options for eligible residents. These include 10-year Golden Visas for investors, entrepreneurs, scientists, outstanding students and graduates and humanitarian pioneers, among others. A five-year residency called Green Visas are available for skilled professionals, freelancers, investors and entrepreneurs.

Long-term residency options like these align with global trends in remote and flexible working arrangements, according to Zainulbhai. They respond to the growing demand for work-life balance and job flexibility.

“The UAE leverages this trend by providing long-term residency benefits, which include robust infrastructure, attractive tax incentives, and progressive governmental policies, positioning itself as a premier global destination for dynamic and flexible talent,” he added.

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