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Now will you buy property in Dubai?
The UAE is reportedly planning to introduce a law granting residency visas to all freehold property buyers. Will the offer entice investors back to Dubai’s market?
February 17, 2009 10:47 by Aarti Nagraj
The UAE could soon be tempting property buyers to invest in the country by introducing a federal law giving residency visas to freehold property owners, reports The National.
The proposal will allow the owners to obtain a six-month renewable residency visa, regardless of their nationality or the size and value of the property, Brigadier General Nasser al Minhali, the acting director general of the federal Department of Naturalization and Residency told the paper. “We do not want each emirate to develop procedures on its own, so we will unify it under the Ministry of Interior,” he added.
Once passed, the federal law should help to clear the confusion regarding the issuance of freehold visas in the Emirates. The law will specifically help Dubai, where developers have been promising freehold visas to investors since 2002, but have been delivering.
In May last year, Gulf News had quoted the freehold law as saying “If the homeowner has no alternative means of sponsorship for a residence visa, the first owner may be sponsored by your master developer [Nakheel, Dubai Properties or Emaar] for residency in Dubai, UAE, subject to the applicable immigration laws of the country.”
However, Mohammad Bin Braik, CEO of Dubai Properties Group, told the paper at the time that “Resident visas for freehold buyers are subject to conditions which include that you cannot seek employment or run a business and one would assume the buyer has sufficient funds to support himself.”
A week later, Omar Mattar Bin Mizaina, head of employment permits section at Dubai’s Naturalization and Residency Department clarified to the paper that “Anyone who buys a property can get a residence visa in Dubai.”
Currently, the real estate sector in the city is going through tough times; media reports across the world have declared that Dubai’s real estate bubble has burst and that the property market in the city is going through a much needed correction. A large number of developers have postponed or cancelled projects, and have laid off hundreds of people.
Property owners are desperate to find buyers, even as they struggle to pay their installments. The Dubai Financial Market has been crashing primarily due to falling share prices of property developers like Emaar Properties. Emaar dropped 8 percent when it opened this week after it announced its 2008 fourth quarter loss of AED1.77 billion.
That being the case, will the certainty of having a residency visa restore confidence in the property market and rope in international investors? Will they be tempted by the dangling carrot?