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Thu 15 Jul 2010 07:13 AM

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Dubai mulls new visa plan to lure entrepreneurs

EntrePass scheme, similar to Singapore, set to be trialled in fourth quarter.

Dubai mulls new visa plan to lure entrepreneurs

Dubai is considering a plan to introduce a special visa system to lure foreign entrepreneurs to the emirate, it was reported on Thursday.

The EntrePass scheme would encourage budding start-ups with high commercial value to set up in Dubai, UAE daily The National reported.

In return, entrepreneurs will have their visa application expedited and be provided with guidance from experts at the Mohammed Bin Rashid Establishment (MBRE) for SME Development in starting their businesses, the paper said.

“We want Dubai to be the centre for innovative small and medium enterprises [SMEs],” Alexandar Williams, the director of strategy and policy division at MBRE, told the paper.

“The future of Dubai will rest on nurturing selective foreign entrepreneurs with good ideas to use Dubai as a test bed for development and to build business around it.”

In the fourth quarter, MBRE will launch a pilot programme for EntrePass involving 10 entrepreneurs before widening the scheme, the paper added.

Based on a similar system in Singapore, EntrePass is designed as an alternative to conventional business visas.

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ahmed 9 years ago

mulls?considering>??...for how long?...this should have been done yesterday...

John Thomas 9 years ago

Am I missing something here??? What is new? That they will expedite the visa? is that it? Big whoop!! - I am sure we can convince 20 Foreign companies to invest in this 3 ring circus just because their visa application will be expedited... good luck! Again, maybe I missed something!!

NBD,nervous breakdown 9 years ago

i got my trade shop in may,paying rent but still havnt finished getting visa for my 2 workers, and you do pay a lot to get visas its not like its for free, and i still need 1 more worker am just thinking to close my business by end of the year, dont compare yourself to singapore please,

ametis 9 years ago

Instead of keep on inventing the wheel, why not give real opportunities and incentives ??? There are limits to rebranding.... Gentlemen please get rid of your spin doctors..

MK 9 years ago

How about a "Get out of Jail Free Card" if your business fails? Then maybe, there will be no more Simon Fords in Dubai.

danno 9 years ago

there was no mention of sponsorship? will you still require a sponsor? If not then that answers ameits and john's questions. that would be an opportunity and maybe that factor could make a difference. however, somehow i doubt it, since the free zones exist for that.

IncidentFlux 9 years ago

Haha nice one, we've already been punk'd more than once with their property visa bait and switch. Looks like they decided to continue the series. NO Thanks!

His Excellency Dr Paul 9 years ago

The free zones already give easy open access for foreigners with expedited visas to come in and start up innovative businesses. The reasons why Dubai is not attracting them are obvious: 1) Free zones still charge ridiculous rents for most offices - 200 AED/ sq ft. These remain stubbornly unchanged despite 2 years of crashing economy. Trade licenses in FZs restrict you to these offices which are 3-4 times the rents available outside. 2) monopoly telecoms provider with horrendous charges for business connections, bandwidth, and blocking of IP telephony, as well as appalling service 3) Start ups by their nature are more risky and for every successful one several will fail - not good in a country that jails directors of bankrupt companies. 4) Restrictive licensing that limits activities to narrow fields. They don't need a new category of visa, they need to sort out the problems facing businesses in general.

AlexT 9 years ago

Since 1981 I have seen it all out here, the good, the bad, the misguided and the stupid, but this is a new phonomenon that has floorished in the last few years with the local young turks trying to prove they can beat the world. Unfortunately the Old Wise Voices are not here anymore, if the were I'm sure they would have told them that they have to join the world first, then understand it and only then they would be able to try and beat them. Instead of looking for new suckers to bring in (10 of them!!!!!) they should be trying to found ways to keep the 1.000's that are planning on leaving, these are the ones that can help the ecomony. Unfortunately and with heavy heart I'm one of them that would be leaving in the next 2-3 years, not because we are not profitable but because it ain't fun anymore and because we are not longer appreciated of what we do, also the majority of our foreign suppliers would be pulling out as well because they can't be bothered starting all over again with new companies and people. I/we have not seen a SINGLE measure directed towards retention of businesses/money in Dubai period. Europe and the rest of the world are doing the hardest to attract business/investment but not here, Greece offers incentives for foreign companies to do business (and they have more hotels and airports then the whole of the GCC/MEAN puts together). Considering the fact that a majority of companies involved with the construction sector they are owed money from Goverment related developers a token gesture would have been not to collect license renewal fees, nothing in monetary terms to any company but a massive moral boosting gesture, or doing it for older companies (4-5years old) SME companies. Anyway we know that these things are for public consumption and nothing more. Have a nice weekend everyone, more on Sunday.

Bob 9 years ago

Considering what has happened here in the UAE and what will not happen to remedy the situation, why would any smart foreign entreprenuer/s even think about moving to the UAE? I and my employees could not be happier and business is actually better. I just wish I had moved sooner. Singapore is BUSINESS FRIENDLY. At the airport, customs and immigration personell actually smile and welcome you to Singapore. With no hoops to jump through and no obstacles in the way, setting up a business is easy.