UAE to allow 100% business ownership to foreign investors
The new rules will offer UAE residency of up to 10 years to specialists in medical, scientific, research and technical fields, as well as five-year visas to students and 10-year visas to exceptional students
Dubai: The United Arab Emirates plans to allow full foreign ownership in companies and grant long-term visas to some investors and professionals as the second-biggest Gulf economy seeks to attract more investments.
The changes were approved by the cabinet and will take effect by the end of this year, state-run WAM news agency reported Sunday.
Changes to ownership rules are a significant departure from the policy of restricting foreign ownership outside free zones. Expatriates seeking to establish businesses outside the zones must seek partnerships, with UAE citizens owning 51% in the ventures.
Like in most other Persian Gulf states, a majority of the UAE’s population of 9 million consists of expatriate workers and families who are expected to leave once their employment ends. Unable to set roots in the country, many send earnings abroad. In 2017 alone, expatriates remitted 164 billion dirhams ($45 billion), according to WAM.
The new rules will offer residency of up to 10 years to specialists in medical, scientific, research and technical fields, as well as five-year visas to students and 10-year visas to exceptional students.
A relaxing of residency rules follows legislation in neighbouring Qatar last August that granted some foreigners the right to remain indefinitely. The decision was taken amid a crisis in relations between Qatar and a bloc of Arab states led by Saudi Arabia.
“Our open environment, tolerant values, infrastructure and flexible legislation are the best plan to attract global investment and exceptional talents,” UAE Prime Minister and Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum said.
Abu Dhabi is the capital of the UAE, which is made up of seven emirates. Dubai is the nation’s business hub.
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