New visa rule in UAE: Magnet for investments, talent

World
By Gulf News

The UAE Cabinet’s decision to allow 100 percent foreign ownership of companies in the UAE with a 10-year visa for investors, scientists, doctors, engineers, entrepreneurs, and innovators will be a major incentive to attract foreign direct investment (FDI) as well as top talent into the UAE, senior government officials and experts said on Monday.

Saif Mohammad Al Hajiri, Chairman of the Department of Economic Development, Abu Dhabi said the new decision reflects the wise approach of the UAE leadership and government in moving towards building a strong and integrated national economy — based on competitiveness at a regional and international level.

THE NUMBERS

$11 billion was the foreign direct investment into UAE in 2017

3% is the projected growth of the UAE economy in 2019, according to IMF

2.8% is the projected growth rate of the UAE’s non-oil GDP for 2018

“The decision reveals the transparency and clarity of policies implemented by the UAE’s federal government, a key incentive in attracting foreign direct investments to the country,” said Al Hajiri in a statement.

Knowledge-based economy

“Ten-year visas for investors and scientists will add value to the UAE’S economy as this move aims to attract people of advanced skills, especially in areas of science and knowledge amid the UAE’s goals to build a knowledge-based economy.”

He also added that Abu Dhabi DED plans to use these decisions to implement initiatives as part of its programme to attract more FDI into the capital.

Abu Dhabi is investing billions of dirhams in building infrastructure, creating free zones and developing tourism and leisure sectors as it tries to boost growth and diversify the economy.

The Department of Economic Development expects Abu Dhabi to achieve a three percent average growth from 2018 to 2021 with 4.2 percent growth in the non-oil sector and two percent for the oil sector.

Abu Dhabi has attracted around Dh95 billion FDI as of the end of 2016 and the department recently launched an investment office to attract more investment.

Economic booster

Hamad Bu Amim, President, and CEO of Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry said the decision reflects the wise vision of the leadership and its strong commitment to stimulating the economy and adapting to the needs of its fast-growing business community.

“The move sends a clear message that the UAE is a competitive market which is open to international investors and conducive to business growth. At the same time, I expect that the new measures will help raise the UAE’s global profile as a preferred investment destination, positively impact the local business environment and ultimately enhance the country’s economic competitiveness.”

“The UAE government is unique in its ability to work with the business community towards a common vision. The new system is a great example of the progress which can be achieved through close cooperation between the public and private sectors,” added Bu Amim.

Y Sudhir Kumar Shetty, President of the Indian Business and Professional Group in Abu Dhabi said the new measures by the UAE government will not only boost confidence in the UAE’s economy but will also attract more tourists to the country.

“The UAE will become an investment-friendly destination. There will be a long-term commitment from investors as visas will be issued for a 10-year period,” said Shetty adding that investments from Indian businessmen will further go up due to the latest decision by the UAE Cabinet.

“Indians have been already investing in construction, retail, and medical services since many decades and you will see more investments moving forward.”

Chinese Business Council in the UAE welcomed the decision of the UAE Cabinet to allow 100 percent foreign ownership of companies.

“We are very much looking forward to the increasingly open market in the UAE. More and more Chinese companies will set up businesses to contribute to the economic development,” said Qipu Wen, Executive Director of Office Of Chinese Business Council.
Chinese companies are investing heavily in the UAE.

In Kizad (Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi) alone, Chinese investments totaled $1 billion (Dh3.67 billion) in the last one year.