Will the UAE’s new retirement visas solve the real estate slump?

Published:  20 Sep at 6 PM
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Long-stay, wealthy expats in Dubai are mostly pleased at the introduction of ‘retirement visas’, but is the move enough to stimulate the emirate’s fading real estate market?

One thing’s for sure, the new visas are welcome for expats who’ve spent most of the their working lives in the UAE and don’t fancy starting again overseas after they reach the average retirement age of 55 years. The move is also likely to encourage younger expat professionals to commit to the emirates for the foreseeable future, thus putting down long-term, more stable roots. Of course, it will also benefit the economy, as an impressive amount of savings will remain in the country’ banks.

Whether, as had been suggested, the move will bring welcome news to Dubai’s struggling real estate market is another question, with the answer dependent on more than just an increase in retired foreigners. Local economists say the new visas will encourage bigger buy-ins to the entire economy, including the housing sector, noting also that the economic reforms taking place show a willingness amongst policymakers to bring in structural changes which include expatriates as well as locals.

It’s also likely that common sense and a lack of enthusiasm for a major move will prevail and expansive homes will be purchased, but a ‘probable’ is being attached to the five-year visas whereas an ‘automatic renewal’ would be more reassuring. Another loosening up of visa regulations took place last May, going unnoticed by the majority of media outlets in the region, but important for the emirate’s desire to become a leader in the region.

New rules will now benefit specialists in medical research, scientists, innovators and top tier technical talent, all of whom will also be able to take advantage of five-year visas, and foreign students studying at the UAE’s universities will also get five-year residency visas, Exceptional students will be able to apply for 10-year visas, presumably in the hope they’ll stay on and use their expertise to benefit the region.
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