Tuesday, January 13, 2009

UAE may introduce unified freehold visa regulation

The Federal Government in UAE is considering the issue of freehold property visas pertaining to foreign ownership of properties in various emirates, revealed a top government official in Dubai on Saturday.

The Director-General of Dubai Government's Department of Finance, when speaking to the media during the sidelines of government's 2009 budget announcement, said that the Advisory Council of Dubai Government has put forward a proposal to the Federal Government regarding issue of property-linked visas for a review.

Several emirates have developed their own freehold visa arrangements, and streamlining the process is being planned at the federal level, to announce a unified guideline for all the emirates.

A new law may be announced soon, he said, although did not mention by when the regulation would be passed.

The issue of freehold visa was on focus when big developers such as Emaar and Nakheel, who were earlier helping foreign buyers to get three-year renewable residence visas on purchase of freehold properties, suddenly stopped facilitating them.

The unified guideline regulation is welcomed by experts in the country, as they streamlined the procedure to keep up confidence of the investors.

The Advisory Council was established by the Dubai Government last year, to judge the impact of global financial crisis on Dubai's economy.

Sudhir Kumar, the Managing Director of Realtor's International, a property consultancy said that the issue of freehold visas has been a major concern for property investors, and the government has shown its strength and resilience at this time of crisis by addressing this issue.

Since the year 2002, master-developers in Dubai have been pledging the freehold visas to attract foreign investment to real estate sector in the emirate. This has also drawn plenty of foreign investment into the sector.

This promise was facilitated to buyers in co-operation with Dubai Naturalization and Residency Department, and master developers in RAK and Ajman have followed suit, by attracting major investments into the property sector.

Among the seven emirates in UAE, five have certain designated areas for foreign nationals to buy and own properties on a freehold and leasehold basis. Sharjah, however, does not permit foreign nationals to own properties on freehold basis.

According to UAE constitution, the land in each emirate belongs to the Rulers, and they take decisions pertaining to ownership, usage or allocation of land.


sunil said...

this is a noble attempt to pump some instant money into the real estate economy of dubai, and as a result to the economy in general. the question is, given global financial crisis today, who will buy these units? how will they buy them if financing is tight and people are hanging on to their cash? it will be interesting to see how this law enacts in reality.

Arthur Dell said...

This will definitely boost the property market, especially considering what Dubai has to offer. There are still a lot of people out there with a lot of capital, and given the current state of banks and other investment alternatives, Dubai could promote itself as an investment safe haven in a very short space of time.

Come on people, start moving! Now is the time to get this city back on the world map. A little imagination with a dash of positive marketing and the UAE will become a leader in the global economic recovery!!