Number of professional expats to rise in wake of UAE’s new visa rules

The number of professionals living and working in the United Arab Emirates is set to sharply increase over the next couple of years, while remittances out of the country subside as a result of new changes to residency visa rules, according to new research published today by Propertyfinder Group.

The UAE’s Central Bank confirmed that $44bn were sent abroad in 2017, while the percentage of professional and management-level workers fell from 44% in 2014 to 36% in 2016, according to Dubai Statistics, the government information agency.

Lynette Abad, director of research and data at Propertyfinder Group, said that these numbers are likely to rebound after the new visa legislation is implemented, and that the UAE government’s more relaxed approach to residency will also have the added benefit of enticing talent and encouraging entrepreneurship, start-ups and foreign investment.

“The goal of keeping more of this capital in the UAE and spent in the local economy is a good one,” she said. “With a slow moving market and high amount of housing supply being released over the next few years, these legislative actions could not have come at a better time.”

Abad continued, “The reforms will give expat residents confidence to invest in property due to the assurance they may remain in the country for a longer period of time. Someone who would normally buy a property in their home country might think twice and decide to buy their home in the UAE, as they will now feel more stable and part of a community with a long-term visa.”

Speaking to Arabian Business earlier this week, Sobha Group chairman PNC Menon predicted large amounts of FDI from India. Menon said: “All sorts of businesses will benefit. A tremendous amount of capital will flow in, especially from India and East, as well as Africa,” he said.

Christopher Copper-Ind
Christopher Copper-Ind is Editor of International Investment.

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