The United Arab Emirates has declared that Emirati citizenship will now be legally attainable for foreigners, with the Gulf State being a big first.
For a country whose economy depends heavily on expatriates, for whom citizenship is usually dependent on their work permits, the shift is a drastic change of direction.
However, foreigners will not qualify for citizenship; they must be named by UAE royals or authorities, and the Cabinet of the country may have the final say.
The declaration, which has no precedent in the Gulf region, illustrates how the tiny Arab sheikhdom strives to maintain top talent when tens of thousands of immigrants were forced to flee last year by the coronavirus pandemic. Almost 90% of the nearly 10 million residents of the UAE are foreign nationals.