Real estate experts say the Dubai property market could receive a significant boost if expatriate investors were given longer-term visas and the process was simplified.
Multiple requirements for investors include the need for the property to be worth more than a million dirhams, for it to be entirely owned by the investor and located in a freehold area.
Investors must also have a minimum income of 10,000 dirhams per month (1 dirham = $0.36).
The need to meet such specific criteria can often put investors off from the outset.
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But provided all the conditions are met, the reward is still only a visa requiring renewal every six months.
A separate application for a two-year property permit can be applied for from the government, but fees can range anywhere from 2,300 dirhams to 14,000 dirhams.
Add to that a refundable 3,000 dirham fee to sponsor a spouse or other dependents, and the outlay continues to rise sharply.
Experts say the visa stipulations are one element of what makes Dubai such a transient society.
Dubai: Quick Facts
Population: 2.1 million
Size: 4,114 km2
GDP: $82.1 billion
Average earnings: $44,200 (tax free)
Residents cannot plan for the long term because they know they will not be able to retire in the country.
Long-term visas for property purchasers would be one idea to consider, giving investors stability and at the same time boosting the real estate market.
As more and more countries offer residence and citizenship investment programs, Dubai may need to loosen its requirements to make its CIP more competitive.
Property owners can currently remain in the country after retirement, but only with the inconvenience and instability of having to apply to remain every six months or two years.
The security of a longer-term visa would mean expatriates could finally begin to look upon Dubai as somewhere to call home.
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