This Sovereign Story features two extremely well known Group personalities. Zana Jablan is a director and Head of the Onshore Team in Dubai; Nabil Khoury is Managing Partner of the Bahrain office. They are both celebrating the award of Golden Residency visas in UAE and Bahrain respectively. We caught up with them both to learn more.
The Golden Residency visa is aimed at selected individuals including investors and those demonstrating specialist talents. In Dubai since 2014, Zana’s successful application is a real feather in her cap and she is the first person at Sovereign to receive the status. Others may apply in the future as some rules will be relaxed in September 2022. At present only nominated individuals can apply making Zana’s achievement even more noteworthy.
One of the scheme’s key features is that no sponsor or employer is involved. Zana is the main link between Sovereign and government agencies such as the FDI. As a well-known, respected individual she was nominated and had to present a profile. This set out her background, education and legal qualifications together with her work experience at Sovereign.
Zana feels strongly that hard work leads to success and this view is shared by the UAE government. The ten year renewable visa is considered a huge honour locally and is rightly seen as a status symbol. Holders may spend an extended period abroad which is valuable should future work or family commitments make this necessary. Zana, husband Halid and six month old daughter Lena consider UAE as home. The golden visa has made that a reality.
Zana doesn’t often speak about her earliest years. She grew up in Bosnia and until the age of twelve her family lived under war conditions – something most of us never have to experience. Therefore she empathises with the Ukrainian people and the present situation is close to her heart. She points out that the stability provided by her new status is therefore even more important to her.
Some 500km to the west, Nabil has managed Sovereign’s Bahrain office for 11 years. In many ways, the new Golden Visa system there is similar to the UAE’s version. Again it is available for ten years and is renewable.
Nabil is proud of his Syrian heritage. His home country has been ravaged by war and is not a place to which he is likely to be able to return any time soon. He will be forever grateful for the welcome received in Bahrain since his arrival in 2004. However until now, he has had to renew his working visa status every two years leading to constant uncertainty about the future.
Perhaps in common with many “expats” in Bahrain, Nabil always had a “Plan B” ready should he and his wife be forced to move elsewhere. Because of his new status, Plan B (which he never wanted to put into practice anyway) can be forgotten.
Nabil’s new security has allowed him to purchase property in Bahrain and he will make other investments locally. His home and working lives are thus now firmly centred on Bahrain, just as the Kingdom’s government intends.
A key advantage of the Bahrain system is that his visa also allows his wife and both sets of parents to settle locally as well as any future children. Once awarded, the visa can be retained by his family members even if for some reason his was ever cancelled. The peace of mind and stability created is invaluable for the whole family.
Nabil is an avid networker. In his time in Bahrain, he has developed a huge contact base both inside the Kingdom and abroad. This undoubtedly assisted the visa process. He is proud to have received Visa No 7 – the first six were awarded to a single family already closely connected locally. In reality Nabil’s was the first successful application under the new scheme. A huge achievement indeed and one of which both he and Sovereign can be justly proud.
As part of the island kingdom’s approach to attract wealthy, highly qualified people,
Bahrain is also welcoming in current non-residents who might be looking to live locally. The rules are a little different and will depend on applicants’ knowledge, income level and general benefit to the nation rather than merely based on employment.
Both Zana and Nabil are to be congratulated on their personal success in obtaining their long term visas. Permanence and stability have resulted for them and their families. It proves their dedication to the countries in which they have made their living and now their permanent homes. It is also good news for Sovereign and is very positive when discussing residency with potential clients worldwide.
Well done both and enjoy your new status!