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Property ownership barriers to 'erode' due to UAE's new expat visa

Seven Tides International's Abdulla Bin Sulayem told CW that the new visa would address concerns such as "lack of security on visas"

The new law that will allow expats to retire in the UAE was approved by the country's Cabinet earlier this month [representational image].
The new law that will allow expats to retire in the UAE was approved by the country's Cabinet earlier this month [representational image].

Dubai’s property market will benefit as barriers to ownership start to be eroded from the “forward-thinking” visa measures announced by the UAE Government, the head of Seven Tides International has told Construction Week.

“The new visas will certainly have the added benefit of enticing talent to stay in the country, as well encouraging foreign investment,” said Abdulla Bin Sulayem, chief executive officer of the Dubai-based development company.

Sulayem was commenting on the five-year expat retiree visa law that was announced by the UAE Government earlier this month.

READ: Socio-economic trends impact UAE and Saudi real estate

Under the new law, set to come into effect next year, expats aged 55 or older can apply for a special retiree expat visa, provided they meet certain financial requirements, one of which relates specifically to property ownership.

He added: “The Dubai property market will benefit immensely as a result of people switching from renting to owning property as the barriers to ownership – such as lack of security on visas and the amount of red-tape involved in the purchasing process – start to be eroded by these forward thinking measures.”

Moreover, Sulayem said Seven Tides – whose portfolio includes the $350m (AED1.3bn) Seven City JLT residential tower – was “optimistic that new and flexible payment plans, coupled with attractive prices that will encourage continued investment in the property sector”.

READ: How the UAE's new expat retiree visa will impact construction

His comments echo those made by other major names in Dubai’s developer market, such as Sudhakar Rao, chairman of Gemini Property Developers, who told Construction Week the five-year expat visa rule was likely to attract "millions of dirhams into UAE properties”.

Better talent retention has also been a key theme following this latest move.

“Expats will no longer look at Dubai as a short-term plan to progress their career, but rather as a place that can become home as well as enhancing their lifestyle and their future,” said Sulayem.

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Construction Week - Issue 740
May 02, 2019