(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Two Indian businessmen have become the first UAE residents to receive long-term visas. Vasudev Shamdas Shroff, chairman, Regal Group, and Khushi Khatwani, owner of Khushi Jewellers, got their 10-year UAE visas stamped on their passports on Tuesday (May 21).
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The General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) in Dubai posted photos of the duo - who are seen smiling - receiving their passports from top officials of the department.
The businessmen told Khaleej Times that the GDRFA called them to convey the news. "I received my visa within five minutes after making a payment of Dh1,350," said Shroff.
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When asked how he felt after receiving the 10-year honour, a jubilant Shroff said: "I am home!"
The septuagenarian arrived in the UAE in 1960 on a vessel called the MV Dara from Mumbai. He started off the family business with one trading store. Now, the group has multiple businesses across the GCC. "If we had not been here at that time, we would not have experienced the UAE's growth. We have seen the UAE's open-minded and pro-business policies, which gave our company the chance to grow our businesses not only in the UAE but also in the region," said Shroff.
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"The Indian merchant community is extremely happy about the UAE government's decision (to issue long-term visas) ... The ease of doing business here will send signals globally that the UAE is indeed a preferred destination for business and investment."
Khatwani said the long-term visas will bring about a "strong sense of permanent belonging" among UAE residents. The businessman, who has been in the UAE for the past 50 years, said: "The leadership's decision to issue the 10-year visa will encourage a lot of expatriates to have long-term plans here."