The long-awaited decision to allow 100% foreign ownership to onshore companies would bolster the UAE’s image.
The new UAE investment, residency and company reforms announced on Sunday signify a tectonic shift for the business and social ecosystems, as the country seeks to become a haven for big-ticket investors, outstanding students and top-skilled professionals. The positive impact of the changes would be felt across all sectors, officials and industry experts have said.
Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri, Minister of Economy, said the long-awaited decision to allow 100 per cent foreign ownership to onshore companies would bolster the UAE’s image on the global investment map.
According to a top official, the country would experience a “significant growth” in international students pursuing their higher education here once the five- and 10-year residency visa scheme announced for students comes into effect. Specialists working in medicine, science, research and technical fields and their families are also eligible for the scheme.
Dr Warren Fox, chief of Higher Education at Dubai’s Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA), said: “This decision will not just benefit the UAE economy but also enable greater opportunities for institutions and students.”
University students Khaleej Times spoke to expressed relief over not having to renew their visas every year.
Major-General Mohammed Ahmed Al Marri, Director-General of the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs – Dubai, said the reforms would help investors overcome obstacles they face. “The resolution reflects the government’s role in providing an environment that encourages global investment.”
Most economists expect an annual surge of up to 15-20 per cent in FDI flow once the investor-friendly reforms come into effect.
Analysts are waiting for further clarity on 10-year residency visa scheme for professionals – whether it is independent of local employers as in the case of ‘permanent residency’ status in Australia or ‘green card’ in the US.
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