April 19th, 2019

Upcoming UAE Residency changes

Upcoming UAE Residency changes

The UAE Cabinet on Sunday 24th June 2018, made numbers of amendments to the current residency laws public.

The changes include:
Offering residency visas of up to 10-years for key professional workers including doctors and engineers and their families.
Offering residency visas of up to 10-years for foreign investors establishing businesses in UAE.
– Allowing foreign companies to own 100 percent of their business in the UAE. At present they must offer an Emirati partner a substantial stake.
Top students graduating from university will also have options to reside in the Emirates.

At present, each LLC must have a UAE national shareholder (either an individual who is a UAE citizen or a company wholly owned by UAE nationals) which holds at least 51% of the shares of such LLC (Article 22). However, certain permitted activities, such as conducting the business of real estate agents, are reserved for UAE nationals, and a license for such activities will be issued only to an LLC which is entirely owned by UAE nationals. In this regard, although Articles 2 and 3 of the law provide that every company incorporated in the United Arab Emirates will have UAE domicile and nationality, Article 3 clearly states that this does not necessarily lead to such companies being entitled to privileges which are reserved for UAE nationals (eg, the right to acquire real property outside the designated freehold areas where foreigners may purchase real property).

With new changes in place, the rollout of residency visas to long-term residents and potentially retirees would be a game changer. Currently, UAE attracts young professionals proportionally. The new regulations could change that aspect. “A lot of people come here during their best working years to save up because they have always known that they need to go back home to retire. So it might bring in older families, couples, and professionals because they know it’s not going to be a two or three-year stint,”.

“They can work here for a longer period and then retire here as well. It might actually change the population demographics of the UAE to a slightly more older, better-educated group of people.”

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