How to move to Dubai and work remotely for a year

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As global business and travel hubs remain largely closed off to the masses, Dubai is making entry easier than ever for international visitors.

The glitzy city, as well as the United Arab Emirates as a whole, has for years been opening up its once-strict residency and tourist visa rules, but has accelerated its changes in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.

Last month, the country announced a UAE-wide remote working visa program (similar to one announced in Dubai in October), in a bid to attract a growing global pool of digital nomads as temporary working-from-home situations become more permanent.

The visa is being marketed as a chance for remote workers to take advantage of the country’s low taxes — the UAE does not impose income tax on its residents — as well as its year-round sunshine and five-star lifestyle.

The move is a bold one in the face of a mass exodus of expats leaving the UAE, where foreign workers reportedly make up about 90% of a 10-million strong population. But Dubai is also tapping into a growing global trend; other tourist destinations such as Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Bermuda, Estonia, Georgia and Mauritius have unveiled similar remote working visas.

Alongside the UAE-wide remote visa announcement, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, ruler of Dubai, announced the adoption of multi-entry tourist visas for all nationalities. The five-year visa enables tourists to enter multiple times and remain in the country for 90 days on each visit, which can be extended for another 90 days.