Dubai: On Sunday His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, announced key changes to the country’s residency programme, allowing specialists working in the field of medicine, science, engineering and technology, as well as exceptional students, to secure visas of up to 10 years. Foreign investors in the country will also be offered 10-year residency visas, as well as 100 per cent business ownership.

Property Weekly spoke to a few stakeholders in the market, who share their thoughts about the new policy’s impact on real estate, boosting confidence in the market.

This is a landmark move. The new visa system will serve to attract investors and the best of minds to the UAE, further increasing the country’s economic competitiveness at a global level. The law passed will allow for an untapped international investor pool that is looking towards the UAE as a tolerant living environment with deeply rooted values to come and call it home. The new visa ruling, in addition to offering global investors 100 per cent ownership of their companies in the country, will surely go a long way to boost the UAE’s image as the most investor-friendly economy in the region.
– John Stevens, managing director, Asteco

The decision will go a long way in boosting investor confidence and help liberalise the socioeconomic environment, where foreigners could play a significant role in the local economy. This will definitely boost the real estate market. Now families can call the UAE their home and will be encouraged to invest in freehold property. This will also help developers and mortgage providers to offer better choices and options now that the visa tenure has been extended to cover a longer period.
– Atif Rahman, director and partner, Danube Properties

A great time to announce this regulation as the market sentiment has been weak. Today, if someone has lived here for a number of years and has done well, the primary concern is that there is no sense of belonging. Hence, expats direct all investments in their home market. Now it will give people more sense of belonging, allowing them to make more long-term plans and long-term investments. With this, the market will also balance itself as currently it is more tilted towards renters than the end users. Most mature markets have a 50-50 balance between renters and end users, so this will go a long way in achieving that.
– Sanjay Chimnani, managing director, Raine and Horne Dubai

I feel it’s a great decision and having invested in property here, I feel this will be a huge motivation for investors and end users. However, right now we need to wait for the details and the criteria. The news brings great optimism in the market. There is a lot of money in the region, as well as from India and Pakistan, that can be invested in Dubai and the investor confidence can bring in this long-term money. With a home in Jumeirah Village Triangle and a recent investment in Dubai Properties’ Villanova project, I feel hugely optimistic as an investor and end user.
– Sammyo Halder, CEO, The Boston Initiative

Definitely a shot in the arm for the local economy going forward as it attracts both individuals and businesses alike to invest in this market. In addition to healthy returns on property investments, the investor visa also provides that much-needed security to work and live in the UAE for longer. It will also create demand for financial products as more residents with long-term visas can consider investing both in real estate and setting up local business ownership. Real estate, along with retail and tourism, also stand to benefit from this decision in the mid to long term, further positioning the UAE as a perfect investment destination. What is not clear at the moment, however, is the frequency of renewal of the 10-year investor visa and how the investor visa will address the issues of retirees, for example.
– Ashish Chaturvedi, head of marketing, DuCab