Property visa for 3 years

DUBAI - The UAE government on Tuesday extended the visa period of property owners to three years from six months in a decisive move to re-ignite investor confidence and prop up the real estate sector.

By Issac John

Published: Thu 30 Jun 2011, 12:54 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 7:41 AM

The decision, part of a raft of measures taken by the government to underpin economic growth as per the strategic plan 2011-2013, was taken at a Cabinet meeting in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday chaired by His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. The landmark decision — eagerly awaited for quite some time — was hailed by developers and investors as a vital stimulus to the once buoyant property sector, which has been flagging in the aftermath of a global and regional downturn.

Under the existing law, foreign owners of property worth more than Dh1 million are eligible to get only a six-month visa, which has to be reviewed every six months for Dh2,120 at a time. The applicant for the property investor residence visa also needs to open a bank account locally or aboard and is required to provide proof of a minimum monthly income of Dh10,000. The investor shall also get a medical insurance renewable every six months, apart from a valid medical fitness test every two years.

The requirements and conditions under the new law will be announced soon and analysts expect them to be more liberal and investor friendly.

Brigadier Obaid Muhair bin Surour, Deputy Director General of the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs in Dubai, said, “As per the cabinet decree, the property investor visa shall be renewed every three years instead of six months as was the case before.”

Speaking to Khaleej Times Brigadier Surour said: “The move is aimed to ease the procedures of the new visa and encourage more investors to buy more properties.”

At the Cabinet meeting Shaikh Mohammed stressed the importance of a balanced financial performance in the federal budget and channelling of all government financial resources to better serve the interest of the country and its citizens by securing means of decent living and societal stability.

Other important decisions made by the Cabinet on Tuesday include the raising of the capital of Emirates General Petroleum Corporation, or Emarat, to Dh9 billion from Dh6 billion and endorsed budget of the Shaikh Zayed Housing programme for 2011 at Dh3 billion.

The Cabinet also approved additional allocations of Dh540 million in the federal budget of which Dh105 million will go to the Ministry of Health and Dh150 million for federal universities to enable them provide seats for Emirati students.

The meeting, which took place at the Presidential Palace, in the attendance of Lt. General Shaikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, and Shaikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, gave its nod for the Optional Retirement Programme for Emirati employees at government entities who have completed 30 or more years of service as per the federal pension and social security law.

Additionally, the federal government will bear the value of monthly subscription in the security pension, which includes the stake of the subscriber plus the government stake for the disparity of years required to complete the pension age bracket of 35 years.

The Cabinet also gave instructions for drafting a federal law regarding competition and another bill for reviewing provisions of Federal Law 6 of 2007 regarding the establishment of the Federal Insurance Authority and its mandate.

The Cabinet also gave its green light for the National Media Council Strategy plan 2011-2013 under the chairmanship of Shaikh Hamdan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Public Works.

A proposed mechanism for organisation and governance of boards of public corporations and a federal draft law regarding welfare of children with unknown parents were also approved.

On foreign policy issues, the Cabinet endorsed a set of accords, including air traffic service agreements the UAE government has signed with governments of Benin, Luxembourg and Montenegro.

The Cabinet approved an agreement the UAE has inked with Cyprus on the avoidance of double taxation and prevention of tax evasion. It also approved another agreement with Azerbaijan on cooperation and mutual assistance in customs matters.

The Cabinet also endorsed the UAE accession to the Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the United Nations adopted in 1946, Convention on the Privileges and Immunity of the UN Specialised Agencies adopted in 1947. The meeting welcomed the membership of the National Transport Authority (NTA) to the International

Union of Railways (UIC). (With inputs from Ahmed Shaaban)

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