Even expats who have lived here all their lives, and possibly raised children who still live here, know they must one day leave to retire in their home country. This can make residents hesitant to make long-term investments or commitments in the UAE. But all that may be about to change as HH Sheikh Maktoum has just announced a five-year residency visa for retired expats.
Of course, it’s not a free-for-all — there are conditions that need to be met — but it makes planning a retirement in the UAE closer to a reality for some.
Retirement visa requirements:
To be eligible, expats must be aged 55 and over and meet one of the following requirements:
1. The expat should have investment in a property worth AED 2 million, or,
2. Have savings of no less than AED 1 million, or,
3. Have an active income not less than AED 20,000 per month
This is the latest in a string of initiatives the government has recently announced to boost the country’s economy and entice expats to make long-term financial investments in the country. The traditional system requires expats to have an employer or employed family member sponsor them. Most UAE residents who find themselves out of work, or are retiring from work, have no choice but to return to their home countries with no possibility of obtaining UAE residency. Potential business owners may have also been dissuaded by the inability to own 100 percent of the business.
The government’s recent initiatives are meant to make the UAE an easier place to live for the long term. Prior to the retirement visa, the government announced a 10-year residency visa for certain professionals and investors.
It will now also allow 100 percent ownership of foreign companies, making it more enticing to start your business in the UAE. These initiatives, coupled with lower property prices and attractive and flexible plans being offered by developers, are making it easier to imagine a long-term future in the UAE.
The opportunity to retire in the UAE can make it more worthwhile to invest in a family home here rather than in your home country. Investment properties may also be more appealing as investors can live in the country for longer periods of time and therefore, more easily manage their properties.
Lynnette Abad, Director of Research and Data at Property Finder noted the following regarding the government’s announcement.
”The initiative to offer a 5-year retirement visa is a much welcomed announcement considering there are just over 150,000 residents aged 55 and over as estimated by the 2017 Dubai Statistics Centre of Population and Gender Report. According to Property Finder’s own research, over the last few years, the trend of people over the age of 50 buying property in Dubai has declined by about 40%. This could be attributed to the fact that retirement was never a viable option here. This, along with the Abu Dhabi’s Tomorrow 2021 plan will surely boost the market overall.”
The government will begin to issue the new retiree visa to those who are eligible in 2019. As for the 10-year residency visas announced earlier in the spring, it is expected that more information about those will be issued before the end of the year.
Overall, it is clear that the government remains committed to improving the lives of nationals and residents, continuing to ripen the environment for investment and offering expats the opportunity to call the UAE their home beyond retirement.
If you’ve been hesitant to plan a long-term career, start a business or invest in a home in the UAE, now may be the time to start planning your future.
If this news has inspired you to start thinking about settling down in the UAE, explore our properties for sale here. Perhaps you’ll find a place you can call home!