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Under the directives of Hamdan bin Mohammed DAFZ launches ‘Talent Pass’ license to attract innovators to Dubai

09 Jan, 2022

Under the directives of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of The Executive Council of Dubai, the Dubai Airport Freezone (DAFZ) today launched the ‘Talent Pass’ license for freelance work (self-employment). The new license that will be available for people with special skills and expertise from around the world, aims to attract global talent and professionals in the fields of media, education, technology, art, marketing and consultancy. The initiative is expected to further vitalise the business environment in the free zone and strengthen Dubai’s position as a global destination for innovators and talent.


The Dubai Airport Freezone, part of the Dubai Integrated Economic Zones Authority (DIEZ), signed an MoU with Dubai Culture and the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) at a ceremony held at DAFZ to facilitate the new initiative. The event was attended by His Excellency Dr. Mohammed Al Zarooni, Executive Chairman of DIEZ, His Excellency Major General Mohamed Ahmed Al Marri, General Director of GDRFA, and Her Excellency Hala Badri, Director General of the Dubai Culture and Arts Authority. The MoU creates the framework for cooperation and coordination to process licenses, visas and other services that support innovators in establishing, operating and growing their business in the emirate.


The MoU is aligned with Dubai’s strategy for the creative economy launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. The strategy seeks to double the contribution of the creative sector to Dubai’s GDP and increase the emirate’s ability to attract creative individuals, investors, and entrepreneurs, as well as local, regional, and international investments, all of which will help bolster Dubai’s position as a global capital for the creative economy and a hub for talent.


As per the MoU, all parties will support efforts to attract global talent to Dubai and promote it as a centre for creativity and innovation. DAFZ will be committed to evaluate and process applications for the ‘Talent Pass’ and issue licenses that authorise holders to practice commercial activities within the free zone.

Dubai Culture will be committed to supporting the ‘Cultural Visa’ for holders of the applicable license and working to encourage talent to join the free zone and tap regional and global markets through awareness and communication programmes. The GDRFA will also promote DAFZ as a preferred destination for global businesses and the emirate of Dubai as a business-friendly environment that provides talented individuals opportunities to expand their reach to a large consumer market.

The ‘Talent Pass’ qualifies its holder to obtain a residence visa for three years, in addition to renting office space through a wide range of modern office solutions provided by DAFZ. The office solutions feature efficient support and flexible operation costs, in addition to the option of obtaining services remotely.

License holders will have access to the vast network of DAFZ customers, ranging from international companies to SMEs and entrepreneurs. They will also have access to the free zone’s digital platform that allows them to contact customers for easier access to work, contracts, and services, thereby providing them the opportunity to expand their customer prospects. DAFZ is home to more than 1800 companies in more than 20 vital economic sectors, with multinationals making up more than 30% of those companies, 31 of them being Fortune 500 companies.


His Excellency Dr. Mohammed Al Zarooni said: “This MoU supports our strategic plans for supporting the national economy by enhancing the role of commercial, investment, and creative sectors in enhancing the emirate’s GDP, and enables us to contribute to reinforcing Dubai’s position as a creative hub and an incubator for talent. This license comes as a response to changing market requirements and the evolving business environment in Dubai, especially in the post-pandemic period. The initiative reflects DAFZ’s participation in realising strategic plans for accelerating Dubai’s economic growth. We seek to bring creative individuals from around the world to the free zone, including specialised talent looking for opportunities in this market, and raise Dubai’s profile as a preferred destination for creative individuals and professionals with specialised skills,” His Excellency added.


“This license will contribute to enabling the business community in Dubai to benefit from the expertise of creatives, specialists and professionals from all over the world. It gives them the flexibility to access diverse business services at competitive prices. This license will also attract more innovators to Dubai and widen access to professionals with a range of competencies,” His Excellency concluded.


His Excellency Major General Mohamed Ahmed Al Marri, Director General of the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) in Dubai, said: “The signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the ‘Talent-Pass’ comes in line with the directives of the GDRFA and its strategies for enhancing the business environment, and encouraging creativity and innovation in the fields of media, education, technology, art, marketing and consultancy. This supports Dubai’s plan to create an incubator ecosystem that provides opportunities for creative talent to develop themselves and expand their business .”

“The GDRFA seeks to promote cooperation with various parties to foster strategic partnerships to attract talent to the emirate, widen the pool of skills and competencies, and create role models that can motivate others to be innovative and creative in various fields. This comes in line with the vision and directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, which aims to make Dubai the world’s best city to live and work in,” His Excellency added.


Her Excellency Hala Badri, Director General of Dubai Culture and Arts Authority, said: “Cooperation with public and private entities has always been a key priority within our strategy to promote cultural mobility and develop the emirate’s creative and knowledge-based sectors. Our strategy aims to enhance talent, motivate creators, provide the appropriate climate for creativity to flourish, and raise Dubai’s profile on the cultural map as a centre of excellence, an incubator for creativity, a hub for talent, and the capital of the global creative economy. We welcome the cooperation with DAFZ to accelerate the creative sector in Dubai, enhance its competitiveness and attract talent from all over the world. We also deeply appreciate the support extended by GDRFA-Dubai in achieving these objectives."


Badri added: "At Dubai Culture, we spare no effort in providing all the support necessary to advance the creative economy in the emirate in line with the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. The creative sector is making vital contributions to enhancing the emirate's GDP. We are fully confident that this cooperation will be successful in achieving the desired results."


Talent Pass’ is part of a portfolio of six licenses offered by DAFZ, which includes the Commerce License for commercial activities such as import, export and re-export and the General Commerce License. The portfolio also includes the Industrial License for light manufacturing activities and packaging and assembly; the E-Commerce License for online trading of goods and services; the license issued in partnership with the Department of Economic Development, which allows companies registered at the Dubai Airport Freezone to apply for the Department’s license without the need for an office space for working outside the free zone; and the Services License for a range of service-based companies.


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