After extending the eligibility criteria for the 10-year Golden Visa, late in 2020, stakeholders have hopeful of seeing more international students showing an interest in studying in the UAE.
Over the duration of the past few years, the UAE has worked extensively on extending the period of stay and flexibility within certain categories, even though the country holds a history of strict immigration rules and visa system.
The Golden Visa was, earlier, applicable to talented professionals and students, and property investors. However, PhD holders, top-performing graduates, physicians, and people in hi-tech fields like Big Data and Artificial Intelligence will also be able to apply for the Visas.
The Managing Director of Dubai International Academic City and Dubai Knowledge Park, Mohammad Abdullah highlighted that more than 27,000 students from over 150 countries are currently enrolled in universities located within the park.
He commented that the Golden Visas will facilitate in bringing in more international applicants to the universities. The Golden Visa will build a pathway for the students to travel and study in the country and subsequently find jobs, he added.
He further stated that the Emirate has become an attractive study abroad destination as a number of future-focused campuses are either already established or are expected to begin operations.
Launched in 2007 and 2003, Dubai International Academic City and Dubai Knowledge Park, respectively, are now hubs for international education and innovation. The region is home to over 27 universities, among which, 9 are local and regional universities and the rest 18 are international.
Even though COVID-19 has affected the international education sector across the globe, stakeholders keep an optimistic view of the future of international education in Dubai, as numerous TNE projects have begun or are ready to begin in the coming years.
Ben Baily, the Campus Director of the University of Birmingham Dubai stated that a new state-of-the-art campus is scheduled to open in September. The campus, currently under construction, is built to accommodate 2,900 students.
He added that as the world starts to regain balance with the launch of the COVID-19 vaccines, the UAE is well-positioned to facilitate growth and development of its higher education sector. The University is set to welcome undergraduate and postgraduate students in the disciplines of Engineering, Business, Computer Science, Law, Education and Psychology.
Murdoch University in Australia is another international university which began its operations in Dubai Knowlege Park in May 2020. The current location of the University is twice the size of its previous location in Dubai International Academic City.
The first international university to have commenced operations in the UAE was the University of Wollongong in Dubai. It started its Campus o the Future in August 2020. Meanwhile, Heriot-Watt University is scheduled to move to the park in April‘21.
The Vice-Principal of Heriot-Watt University Dubai stated that the new location of the university in the park means that the students will be located in a rich environment that promotes industry-academia collaborations, which also enhances the work-oriented learning opportunities.