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Mon 26 Apr 2010 12:13 PM

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Property chief urges UAE visa rules rethink

MAG Group CEO says move needed to encourage more foreign investment.

Property chief urges UAE visa rules rethink
REAL ESTATE: The UAE should consider relaxing its strict visa rules for foreign property owners, MAG Group CEO has said. (Getty Images)

The CEO of a Dubai real estate development group has called for a relaxation on visa rules to encourage greater foreign investment in the future.

Mohammed Nimer, CEO of MAG Group Property Development, which has a property portfolio of about AED3bn, said improved liquidity, greater transparency and tougher regulations would also be key to the recovery of Dubai’s real estate market.

Currently, only six-month visas are issued to expatriate homeowners seeking to invest in the UAE property market.

Nimer, talking at the Infrastructure and Property Development MEA Summit at the Park Hyatt Dubai hotel, outlined ideas including relaxing visa rules to attract international investors, who, he said, were still nervous following the global financial crisis.

“The relaxation of visa rules is a federal issue but it needs to be consistent and investor friendly. Malaysia and Thailand lead emerging markets in encouraging international property buyers and as such this country could learn from them,” said Nimer.

“The UAE also needs to attract more expatriate workers and foreign companies as the future depends on population growth and increasing business relationships with rest of world.”

Addressing issues of transparency and liquidity, Nimer added: “Improved liquidity, greater transparency and tougher regulations are needed more than ever to reassure and protect legitimate investors seeking a reasonable reward for a reasonable risk.

“Critical in my view from an investment perspective will be affordability, transparency, return on investment and trustworthy partners. If recent events have taught us anything it is that we must operate in an environment of complete transparency and robust regulation.

“But improved liquidity is also vital to recovery. Transparency and regulation inspire confidence but liquidity makes sales. Mortgage facilities, registration of owners’ association, REITs entering the market can be expected to fuel transactional activity in the coming years,” said Nimer during his presentation.

ram 9 years ago

The rules on property and banking laws need a complete re write to make it par with international law. Since there is no clarity in these areas , the property market will never show up. The foreign investors confidence can be win over only if the laws are par with international law

Paul. 9 years ago

Its not only visa's for investors they need to change as to now get an employment visa costs a company roughly 8500 per person now, thats ridiculous, and you deposit is not paid back if you cancel it until you wrap up the company..... What"s that about?

geoff 9 years ago

i wonder if all those idiots who said qatar was doing the right thing by discontinuing their policy of allowing visas on arrival (since suspended) because the GCC region doesn't need expats, either for their skills or investment, have read this and realised how deluded they are. “The UAE also needs to attract more expatriate workers and foreign companies as the future depends on population growth and increasing business relationships with rest of world.” I could not have said it better myself and suggest you shut your mouths and behave yourselves as your patriotic nonsense does not become you and only risks seeing business, expertise and investment being sent elsewhere. good luck if that is the case.

Property Guru 9 years ago

I repeat my previous comments on the same subject that residence visa is not equal to citizenship and none ( i presume) of the investors are looking for it. Just give 3 year renewable visa based on medical, security and financial strength of a person having property. Subject them to rules (same as points systems in Canada or Australia) but let them stay, no one is expecting you to make them Emaraties. Passion for a country is in the heart of a person, passport is irrelevant. Can you take USA out of a US citizen staying in Dubai? Can you take India out of an Indian by giving another passport? I love UAE equally if not more than an Emarati and I don't need a UAE passport to feel it or express it.

Ahmed 9 years ago

Even if the visa rules are relaxed, who is to say there won't be another u-turn on the rules? Also, the legal system needs to be brought up to par. Imprisoning people over PDC's isn't going to cut it!

HSamuels 9 years ago

"Currently, only six-month visas are issued to expatriate homeowners seeking to invest in the UAE property market" wow, six months! is that it? - hardly very generous or encouraging considering you need/want and expect foreign investors/home owners to spend their hard-earned money in your country. I'm actually quiet surprised as many homes sold as they did considering the visa restriction....its going to get much harder to sell property now so you should seriously be thinking of becoming more accommodating if you want to compete with the rest of the world. Time's a ticking and sometimes you only get one shot!