UAE expat retirement visas to provide economic boost, say economists

Experts said the changes will give expats a bigger buy-in to the UAE's economy
UAE expat retirement visas to provide economic boost, say economists
Experts said the changes will give expats a bigger buy-in to the UAE's economy
By Bernd Debusmann Jr
Mon 17 Sep 2018 03:20 PM

The UAE’s decision to introduce a new five-year visa for expat retirees older than 55 will likely encourage expats to remain in later stages of their life as well as keep capital in the country, according to economists.

On Sunday, the government announced that expats over 55 will be able to obtain the new visa if they own a real estate investment of at least AED 2 million, have savings of more than AED 1 million, or can prove income of at least AED 20,000 per month.

The new visa is expected to be introduced from next year.

Speaking to Arabian Business, Tariq bin Hendi, the executive vice president and head of wealth products and advisory for retail banking and wealth management at Emirates NBD Group, said that “the UAE is not only a great place to work but definitely a great place to live, at each stage of life, from school to retirement.”

“This is excellent news and many expats will welcome staying in the UAE for life thanks in no part to the safety, dynamism, and connectivity to the world that the UAE offers,” he said.

Bilal Khan, a senior economist at Standard Chartered, told Bloomberg that he believes the retirement visas are “essentially about maintaining capital by having people keep their savings in the UAE” and that the larger economic reforms that have taken place recently “show a growing realisation among policymakers of the need to make structural changes that gives expats a bigger buy-in to the economy.”

Another expert, Cairo-based EFG-Hermes economist Mohammed Abu-Basha, said that the retirement visa “would be great if complemented with some ways for expats willing to stay to manage their savings and pensions.”

In May, the UAE approved new long-term visas for investors in the UAE, as well as those who are specialists in medical scientific, research and technical fields, as well as for all scientists and innovators.

A separate five-year residency visa will also be made available to students studying in the UAE and 10-year visas for “exceptional students”, the state-run WAM news agency said at the time.

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