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UAE’s new permanent residency rule to help property market

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The United Arab Emirates (UAEs) recently-launched permanent residency scheme could be a game changer and provide a fillip to the real estate market by encouraging expatriates to invest in property and settle in the Gulf nation, industry experts said.

The United Arab Emirates recently launched a permanent residency scheme to woo wealthy individuals and exceptional talents, a move that could attract more Indian professionals and businessmen to the country.The “Gold Card” programme unveiled by UAE Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum is open to investors and “exceptional talents” such as doctors, engineers, scientists, students and artists.

Executive Director at Provis, a real estate and property management company in UAE, Sameer Barakat, said the permanent residency scheme is a significant step towards realizing the economic diversification and sustainable development goals of the country.

“This initiative further positions the UAE as an innovative destination for business leaders, providing millions of people with high-quality opportunities in a tolerant, safe and productive environment,” he said.CEO of Allsopp & Allsopp, Dubai estate agents, Lewis Allsopp said this is a huge milestone for the UAE and for the Dubai property market.

“Over the last few years, we have seen continual steps to enhance the property market and to add longevity to the UAE with five-year retirement visas, long-term visas and ten-year visas,” he said.“Most expatriates have a money-making mindset when they move to Dubai with a short-term plan. The UAE Cabinet’s decision to enforce a Gold Card for permanent residency, now allows expatriates to look at Dubai as a home rather than a temporary plan,” he added.

The permanent residency is a good step forward and likely to boost the fortunes of its property market, a statement from the Property Finder said.It said that around 6,800 people have been granted permanent residency and a ‘Gold Card’ in the first round of applications.

“This is a game changer for the real estate industry in Dubai. We are yet to get full details of the Gold Card program, such as who can qualify and the terms. However, it’s definitely a step in the right direction and very much needed to stimulate investment,” Lynnette Abad, Director of Research and Data, Property Finder, said.

Currently, short-term visas linked to employment hold back expatriates from investing and owning real estate in the UAE. They prefer to remit savings to their home countries instead. The Gold Card scheme will encourage expatriates to make long-term investment goals, including owning a property.

The UAE already offers long-term visas valid for five to 10 years to property investors, entrepreneurs and people with exceptional talents without the need for a local sponsor.A minimum investment of $13,61,225) is needed to obtain a five-year visa, and double that amount is necessary for a decade-long visa.

“Initiatives and new regulations like these are expected to have a positive impact on the real estate market in Dubai. The more the government offers to entice talent and companies, the easier it will be for them to settle here and call Dubai home. Then, the investment should follow suit,” Abad said.

The Indian expatriate community is reportedly the largest ethnic community in the UAE, constituting roughly about 30 per cent of the country’s population of around nine million. Back in 2001, the Dubai Government had agreed to allow expatriates to have a 99-year lease of certain properties in Dubai. In May 2002, a decree allowed foreigners to buy property on freehold ownership.

The two initiatives sparked interest from real estate investors in Dubai’s residential property at the time.The latest gold card system, which offers much more incentives to investors, is likely to fetch buyers for around 59,800 properties scheduled for delivery in Dubai this year.

Creating opportunities is definitely helping in terms of investments and economic growth. For instance, the UAE cabinet, had begun implementation of 100 per cent foreign ownership and 10-year residency visas for expats, investors and business people earlier this year.

The new visa rules, including the issuance of gold card, have made it easier for those who view Dubai as a hub city to settle and become contributors to the overall economy. This would also help in soaking up current and upcoming supply and help the market in price stabilisation.


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