Lulu Group's Yusuff Ali was awarded the gold card in Abu Dhabi by Brigadier Saeed Salem Al Shamsi, the executive director of the General Directorate of Residency and Foreign Affairs in the UAE.
Ali expressed his gratitude towards UAE through his post on Twitter;
"I am totally humbled and feeling extremely proud of this very important day in my life. A true high point in my life," Yusuff Ali told reporters. "Whatever I am today is thanks to this great country (UAE), which has given me more than what I can dream of."
The Indian business tycoon became the first among 6,800 investors to receive the UAE's permanent residency. The first batch of beneficiaries include investors with total investments exceeding (dirham) Dh 100 billion.
Unlike long-term visas, which extend for a period of five to ten years, provided to businessmen and talented individuals, the Gold Card gives permanent residency to the holder.
Yusuff Ali, who has been residing in the UAE since more than 45 years, is considered as one of the biggest business leaders in the Gulf region with his retail and hospitality empire spread across the world.
With more than 170 hypermarkets and shopping malls, the Lulu Group employs more than 50,000 people comprising 42 nationalities.
"I am sure that this new Gold Card permanent residency aimed at key investors who have played defining roles in the nation-building process and will further boost the UAE's image as one of key investment and business global hubs," Yusuff said.
Since recently, Yusuff Ali has been aggressively looking at Indian markets with investments worth more than the US $2 billion in setting up shopping malls, convention centres, and hotels in Kerala, Bengaluru, Chennai, and Uttar Pradesh. Lulu Shopping mall in Lucknow is at its advanced stage of completion, while similar projects are planned in Varanasi and Noida.