New Retirement Visa for Expats Will Boost Property Transactions

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During yesterday’s Cabinet meeting, HH Sheikh Maktoum announced a five year residency visa for retired expatriates aged 55 and over in the UAE. Providing those residents meet one of the following requirements:

1. The expat should have investment in a property worth Dh2 million, or,
2. Have savings of no less than Dh1 million, or,
3. Have an active income not less than Dh20,000 per month

In line with the announcement earlier this spring for 10-year residency visa for certain professionals and investors, as well as the announcement to allow 100 percent ownership of foreign companies, these initiatives are expected to give an additional boost to the markets. As the property market is experiencing a correction of prices, this is a welcomed announcement as it will instill confidence for those who have the potential to make the UAE their home.

The traditional system requires expatriates to typically be sponsored by the company they are employed by, or by a family member who is otherwise employed and sponsored. UAE residents who find themselves out of work or are retiring from work are otherwise forced to return to their home countries without residency.

While some will still inevitably want to return to their home countries, there are a host of people who would be happy to continue to make the UAE home for as long as the government extends a place for them.

With property prices in an overall decline across the Emirates, many are looking to the government to help bolster investment. With many property developers offering new and attractive flexible payment plans, coupled with lower prices and now the government’s support for people to stay in the country longer, we hope to see continued investment in the property sector.

Lynnette Abad, Director of Research and Data at Property Finder noted the following regarding the government’s announcement. ”The initiative to offer a 5 year retirement visa is a much welcomed announcement considering there are just over 150,000 residents aged 55 and over as estimated by the 2017 Dubai Statistics Centre of Population and Gender Report. According to Property Finder’s own research, over the last few years, the trend of people over the age of 50 buying property in Dubai has declined by about 40%. This could be attributed to the fact that retirement was never a viable option here. This, along with the Abu Dhabi’s Tomorrow 2021 plan will surely boost the market overall.”

The statement from the Cabinet meeting noted that for those eligible for the new retirement visa, they would begin being handed out in 2019. As for the 10-year residency visas announced earlier in the spring, it is expected that more information about those will be issued before the end of the year.

Overall, it is clear that the government remains committed to improving the lives of nationals, residents and continuing to ripen the environment for investment.

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