Real estate investors not entitled to residency

Foreign property buyers to only get short-term visas, says Dubai regulatory authority.
By Tamara Walid
Tue 24 Jun 2008 10:19 AM

Dubai will introduce short-term visas for foreign investors in the real estate sector, the emirate's Real Estate Regulatory Agency (RERA) announced on Monday.Marwan Bin Galita, chief executive of RERA, told UAE daily Gulf News the agency had submitted proposals to the government to review visas for property buyers.

Bin Galita said there was no link between property ownership and residence visas, and developers shouldn’t attract investors to buy into property with a promise of a residence visa.

However, his comments appear to contradict the government’s earlier stand.

As the government opened Dubai’s property sector to foreign investors in selected freehold areas in 2002, a proper real estate law was absent.

The leading three master developers Emaar, Nakheel and Dubai Properties had promised to facilitate a three-year renewable residence visas to owners of freehold properties under a special arrangement with the residency department.

More than 20,000 families have moved into their freehold homes during the last six years, many on residence visas linked to their homes.

Recently, a senior government official said foreign buyers are entitled to residence visas if they purchase property, but this was a misconception, the newspaper said.

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