Dubai business leaders urge work visas rethink

Call comes to extend two-year rule as bosses report highest ever confidence levels
Dubai business leaders urge work visas rethink
(Photo for illustrative purposes only)
By Andy Sambidge
Sat 26 Oct 2013 10:20 AM

More business leaders are more positive about the outlook for their companies in Dubai than ever before, according to a new survey by the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, but calls have been made to extend the length of employment visas.

Its Business Leaders Survey for Q4 2013 showed that 82 percent of bosses expect improvements while only two percent expect a downturn in the general business environment. Another 16 said they expect conditions to remain the same.

However, bosses said challenges remained and they called for government intervention in controlling overhead costs.

They also urged action to lengthen employment visas as they said they feel that a two-year visa is "a deterrent" to investing in personnel and is a factor in raising the cost of hiring employees.

According to the survey, the overall positive expectations have been triggered by the UAE's bid for the World Expo 2020 and the likely benefits that a successful bid will bring.

The survey also showed that business confidence in Q4 is set to improve with a net expectation score of 63 percent with 67 percent expressing a rise while only four percent expected a decline.

Hamad Buamim, president & CEO, Dubai Chamber, said that the factors contributing to the outlook for general business confidence are mainly based on the expectations of the ongoing preparations for hosting Dubai Expo 2020, greater domestic and global demands with the holiday season and influx of tourist arrivals when the weather becomes friendlier in the last quarter.

He added that other factors for the outlook included economic stability, market maturity and improved liquidity and the continued development of infrastructure and launches of more initiatives and projects by the government.

He said large businesses were more optimistic for the quarter, with a net expectation score for improved business conditions at 82 percent and 65 percent for business confidence.

The survey showed that for SMEs in Dubai, the respective net expectation scores fell slightly to 78 percent and 61 percent respectively.

However, business leaders said challenges remained, with increasing competition being the most challenging alongside increasing costs including rents.

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