Retired expats start businesses to stay in UAE

Published:  3 Aug at 6 PM
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An increasing number of expats at the compulsory retirement age of 60 are starting up their own businesses in order to stay in the emirates.

Recent reports show an increasing number of retirement-age expats are choosing to invest in businesses or starting free zone companies to ensure they don’t have to leave the UAE. The mandatory retirement age for expat workers in the UAE is 60 years of age, after which it’s illegal to stay in the country unless certain measures are taken.

Setting up a consultancy company is one option, with another the obtaining of sponsorship via a dependent or other family member. The third option is to become a resident in the emirate’s Continuing Care Retirement Community, an option perhaps not suited to an active 60-year old in this day and age. The alternative to these three options is to leave the country within 30 days.

Companies in the UAE are legally able to force retirement on to older workers, with many now setting up their own companies to ensure they don’t have to leave. One company formation consultant told the media he now has a good number of expat clients looking to applying for investor visas which have no age limit. The cost for a three-year investor visa runs at DH3,500, plus the cost of setting up the business. Given the increase in older expats choosing this alternative, it’s the way to go for those who don’t wish to retire or leave the country.

Another reason why an investment visa is a good plan may be that, according to local banking officials, not enough expats have properly prepared financially for their retirement. It's believed around 60 per cent of expats working in the emirate are not making adequate plans for their retirements.. Property, ownership, he says, is one way forwards, but can deter expats from planning a regular source of income through their retirements. Rising heathcare costs are another hurdle, he adds, with end-of-service gratuities best kept for emergencies. A few companies, he says, are now offering retirement savings plans, but the best plan is to start saving early on in life.
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