UAE law changes provides a new dawn for foreign investors
The emirates enters a new era as investors, residents and overseas students as the UAE changes the law on foreign ownership and visas - promising a new era of creativity and business continuity
It is perhaps one of the most significant changes to the UAE economy since the 2002 freehold law allowed foreigners to fully own property.
The announcement late last month by the UAE cabinet that foreigners will be able to set up businesses outside of free zones and own them 100 percent, and that 10-year residency visas will be made available for specialist workers in fields such as technology and academia, along with five-year visas for students in the country, has been greeted with a wave of optimism about the economic effects it could unleash.
According to Aramex founder and Wamda Capital managing partner Fadi Ghandour, the new ownership rules are “truly a game-changer any way you look at it”. Here, we look at the areas of the UAE economy that most stand to benefit in the years ahead.
PNC Menon, chairman of Sobha Group, says ownership and visa changes will lead to a “massive” inflow of Indian capital
The UAE’s surprise announcement that it will allow full foreign ownership of companies and grant-long term visas to select investors and professionals is a “revolutionary” move that will likely lead to a massive inflow of Indian capital, according to Sobha Group chairman PNC Menon.
Menon believes the greatest value of the rule changes will be that increased confidence will lead to more investors coming to the UAE. “All sorts of businesses will benefit. A tremendous amount of capital will flow in, especially from India and the rest of Asia, as well as Africa,” he said. “A lot more business houses in India will have a very serious presence here.
“I’m not saying it will happen overnight, but this will definitely give a boost to Indian entrepreneurs, and especially the large ones doing more than $500m in turnover,” he adds. Menon also notes that this large inflow of capital will lead to the UAE, and particularly Dubai “needing more residential space”.
Menon’s remarks are echoed by Faisal Durrani, head of research at Cluttons. “Longevity of residence is going to be a game-changer as the population’s historically transient nature gives way to semi-permanency,” he tells Arabian Business.