Will Dh1m visa clause be relaxed?

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Developers in the Northern Emirates are now hoping that the Federal Government will relax the property value criteria, set at not less than Dh1 million in May 2009, for issuance of three-year real estate investor visa.

“The decision to extend the property visa period to three years from six months is very good news and will help the market move. We, however, hope that they will relax some rules, mainly the property valuation criteria”, Wahid Attalla, Executive Director, Rakeen, told Emirates 24|7.

“They should drop it down… put some restrictions. I am not in favour of giving property visa to everyone and there should be a limit to the number of visas issued to these property owners. If the property value is Dh400,000 and is a studio, visa then should be restricted to his direct family, may be wife and one kid,” he added.

On Tuesday, the UAE federal government extended visa for real estate investors from six months to three years.

Omar Al Barguthi, former Ajman Real Estate Regulatory Agency (Arra) Director-General, who was the first to have sought a changeover in the six month visa regulation, believed a committee would be set up soon to implement the decision and may look into the matter of lowering the property value criteria.

“It is great news something which everyone was looking to hear and this shows how serious the decision makers are here about the real estate sector and safeguarding investors.”

In October 2009, Emirates 24/7 had revealed that Arra had submitted a proposal to federal authorities to overhaul current property visa regulations. It had called for removal of property values, fixed incomes or compulsory exits as criteria for granting or renewing six-month residency visas.

In a five-point submission, the agency had said it should be possible to renew visas every six months for up to three years without the need to leave the country.

On minimum property value as one of the visa criteria, it had stated: “The value of property in the Northern Emirates does not exceed half of the value of property in other emirates, and this will lead to only serving a certain investor.”

Regarding the requirement for a fixed income of not less than Dh10,000, it said: “This might cause various problems and will open the door for companies operating outside the country to give salary certificates with no reliable references.

Ludmila Yamalova, Managing Partner of HPL Yamalova & Plewka, termed the government’s move to extend property visa to three years as a “great development“, but called for removal of the valuation criteria so it could boost young professionals to invest in properties across the UAE.

“There is plenty of inventory available in the market and a lot will be picked up if that threshold of Dh 1 million is scrapped. The visa restriction should be on the size of the apartment/property than on investment made,” she added.

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UAE extends visa for property investors to 3 years

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