DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — The United Arab Emirates on Saturday announced plans to grant some foreigners citizenship to this oil-rich nation home to Abu Dhabi and Dubai, part of efforts to stimulate its economy amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The UAE previously gave citizenship to Palestinians and others who helped form the country’s government after its formation in 1971. Others have received it over time as well.
Saturday’s announcement by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai who also serves as the autocratic nation’s prime minister and vice president, said the offer could apply to artists, authors, doctors, engineers and scientists, as well as their families.
Sheikh Mohammed wrote on Twitter that hereditary rulers in the country’s seven emirates and at the federal level would nominate those for citizenship. Those granted citizenship also would be able to keep their initial citizenship.
It wasn’t immediately clear if the citizenship also would grant rights to the UAE’s cradle-to-grave social programs for its nationals.
The UAE is home to over 9 million people, only a tenth of them citizens. In November, the UAE announced plans to overhaul of the country’s Islamic personal laws, allowing unmarried couples to cohabitate, loosening alcohol restrictions and criminalizing so-called “honor killings.”