Salman Khan applauds audience during IIFA 2022 in Abu Dhabi.
Gulf Today, Staff Reporter
Abu Dhabi has announced that Bollywood superstar Salman Khan along with some of the biggest names in Indian cinema have been granted Golden Visas, a reflection of the strong bond between the Indian and UAE creative industries.
This month Yas Island, Abu Dhabi proudly hosted The International Indian Film Academy Awards (IIFA) 2022, which saw the Indian film fraternity arrive to Abu Dhabi for a grand celebration.
Etihad Arena was host to the 22nd edition of Nexa IIFA Awards but it wasn’t just the stars winning the awards that were celebrating.
IIFA was pleased to have worked alongside the Abu Dhabi Film Commission to facilitate the process of Golden visa issuance to some of the leading film industry members.
The Golden Visas were issued during the IIFA weekend itself to reflect the commitment from both the organisers and Abu Dhabi’s creative industry to build a legacy that goes beyond the success of the awards weekend.
Among those receiving the 10-year visas alongside Salman Khan are Indian superstars Divya Kumar, Genelia Deshmukh, Riteish Deshmukh, Bhushan Kumar, Anees Bazmee and Andre Timmins.
As well as being a long-stay residency permit, the Golden Visa offers the flexibility to work across Abu Dhabi and the UAE and does not require the holder to have a sponsor.
The recipients were nominated by the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) – which oversees applications from professionals in visual arts, publishing, performing arts, design and crafts, heritage, gaming & esports and media – and the Abu Dhabi Film Commission (ADFC), with the visas processed by twofour54 Abu Dhabi.
Salman, who has a strong relationship with Abu Dhabi having starred in Bharat, Race 3, and Tiger Zinda Hai, which all shot in the Emirate with the support of the Abu Dhabi Film Commission, was the host of the IIFA Awards, which were held in collaboration with DCT Abu Dhabi, ADFC and Miral.
The ceremony took place at Etihad Arena, Yas Island on June 4, and was attended by thousands of guests.
Saood Abdulaziz Al Hosani, Undersecretary of DCT Abu Dhabi, said: “The film and TV sector is one of the cornerstones of Abu Dhabi’s Culture and Creative Industries, which are key drivers of social and economic growth and diversification for the Emirate."
“The Golden Visa forms a key part of Abu Dhabi’s Dhs30+ billion CCI investment strategy and we are delighted to be able to offer these long-term visas to our colleagues in the Indian film industry – especially Salman Khan who shares a deep bond with the Emirate. It is a reflection of the long and strong relationship between the thriving film & TV sectors in Abu Dhabi and India as well as our dedication to strengthen that relationship even more.”
Salman Khan said: “I am honoured to receive a Golden Visa from Abu Dhabi. Abu Dhabi has always been a second home for me, and I have enjoyed shooting some of my favourite projects here. It was great to celebrate our film industry during the IIFA weekend in a place that has shown us so much support over the past few years. Now with my Golden Visa, I look forward to returning to work here in the very near future.”
Abu Dhabi Film Commissioner Hans Fraikin added: “Abu Dhabi is an exciting location for filmmakers with a robust ecosystem that allows local and international projects to flourish. The Golden Visa allows talented individuals like Salman Khan and his fellow actors, directors and producers, to realise their creative visions here by harnessing the array of locations and facilities, as well as the incredible local talent.”
Noreen Khan, Vice President of IIFA, said: “IIFA is all about building and strengthening relationships with the host destinations. In continuation of the success of having the film industry visit Abu Dhabi for the 2022 IIFA Awards, we are keen to build a legacy that prevails and to be able to make Abu Dhabi a second home for the industry members. Therefore, we are pleased that the facilitation to our key stars with the Golden Visa at IIFA will help present the opportunity for them to be able to return with ease for more film productions and increase the business of overseas filming in Abu Dhabi.”
The Golden Visa supports talent across multiple domains, including the Culture and Creative Industries. The programme provides sustainable employment opportunities in Abu Dhabi by enabling talented creative professionals from around the world to live and work in the UAE, further bolstering the creative scene in the emirate.
Since the process began, twofour54 has supported the UAE’s Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship in the issuance of more than 700 Golden Visas in Abu Dhabi over the past few months, attracting world-class creative talent to the emirate. twofour54 is also expected to roll out 300 more Golden Visas throughout the remainder of the year.
In total, more than 130 major productions have benefited from the Abu Dhabi Film Commission’s generous 30% cashback rebate on production spend in the emirate since it was introduced in 2013.
ADFC also offers a full range of support services on permits, visas, script approval, customs clearance and shooting permits, as well as scouting assistance for the incredible array of diverse locations in Abu Dhabi.
Varun took to his Instagram stories and said, “Having shot multiple films here I can first hand say that UAE is a great destination to film… very thankful to the UAE government for giving me the a Golden Visa.”
The 22nd edition of the International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) Weekend & Awards will be held at the Etihad Arena on Yas Island, Abu Dhabi on March 18-19, 2022, to celebrate the best of Hindi cinema.
The grandest celebration of Indian Cinema, the International Indian Film Academy and Awards, in collaboration with the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi, is all set to thrill fans with its 22nd edition in Yas Island on June 3-4.
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