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A little less taking, a little more giving
Eva Fernandes thinks it will take a lot more than what the UAE is currently offering to gain the long-term attention of foreign property investors.
July 5, 2011 4:07 by Eva Fernandes
The more I read about the new “changes” made to the residency visa, the more I find myself absolutely confuzzled (confused and puzzled for those of you with blank faces right now) as to its purpose. Though, as initially reported, the move may have appeared to be an attempt to increase incentives for investments (alliteration unintended), as the nitty-gritty details of the law become clearer, its effectiveness becomes less convincing.
Take for instance, the fact that it still remains unclear whether the residence visa will allow investors the usual “perks” of a residence visa, i.e. opening a bank account or getting a driver’s license. Or the uncertainty whether the new extension will apply to those who have an investment worth more than Dh1 million.
The way Kipp sees it, what investors are looking out for, when they are pouring in a million or more Dirhams into a country’s real estate market, is returns. Now given that the Dubai real estate market has taken a toss for the worse with little hope for a quick recovery, the next major kind of returns UAE can offer would be the security of living in the country, for families that wish to enjoy the lifestyle the UAE boasts.
A logical train of thought, right? Wrong. Apparently Kipp was quite off the mark. Gulf News spoke to Major General Nasser Bin Al Awadi Al Menhali, assistant undersecretary for Naturalisation, Residence and Ports Affairs who said : “The aim of this law is not full residence in the UAE but to give more flexibility and make it easy for the investors to stay and move in and out of the UAE to manage and watch over their properties.”
Make it easy for investors to stay in the UAE and watch over their properties, you say? Strange, Kipp was quite convinced one needed to have a driving license, open a bank account and a P.O Box at a post office in order to manage and watch over one’s property?
We could go on, but you get our point. Sure the UAE is yet to fully and completely clarify what the new three-year investor visa will mean for investors, but regardless, the fact remains that the country has had what some may describe as back-peddling in terms of investor policies. It’s clear there’s a willingness to welcome foreign investment and to house transient residents but the question of the UAE’s readiness to receive long-term committed residents remains hanging like a cloud over the country’s property landscape. And it doesn’t seem like the skies are going to clear any time soon.