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5-year renewable visa plan for UAE retirees has property market primed for action

Dubai Tourism and the General Directorate for Residency and Foreigners Affairs announced on September 2nd a 5-year visa for residents and non-residents who qualify for retirement in the Emirate. All you need to know

The majority of expatriates in Dubai are aged between 25 and 39 and account for about 90% of its population Dubai ranked 1st in the MENA and 11th globally among the top 20 most popular destinations for venture capital investments 45% of UAE expat employees either have no plans for financial security post-retirement

Dubai Tourism and the General Directorate for Residency and Foreigners Affairs announced on September 2nd a 5-year visa for residents and non-residents who qualify for retirement in the Emirate.

This news is attracting global attention from investors who see this as creating a potential new cash-rich market for them in addition to having a solidifying position for the UAE as a maturing market.

This beacon for residents, businesses, and investment schemes is gaining traction locally, and one real estate has already taken notice.

But what are the details of the news and who qualifies?   

Dubai retirement plan

Foreigners over the age of 55 will be eligible for a five-year renewable visa if they meet certain criteria and in its initial phase, the program will focus on residents who have worked in Dubai for more than 10 years.

In 2018, a similar plan, with fewer details, was enacted for Dubai residents only. 

The majority of expatriates in Dubai are aged between 25 and 39 and account for about 90% of its population, but their residency is tied to employment, discouraging many from setting roots, and in turn investments, in the city, according to Bloomberg.

Eligible candidates should meet one of the following requirements: Either a monthly income of 20,000 Dirhams (approx. $5,445), savings of 1 million dirhams (approx. $275,000), or property ownership in Dubai worth 2 million dirhams (approx. $550,000).

They should also have a valid UAE health insurance. Retired expatriates and their spouses can apply for the five-year visa with the possibility of automatic renewal online, provided the retiree continues to meet the criteria.

Applications can be submitted on the Retire in Dubai website.

Read: Why banking on GCC e-wallets is an easy money decision

The UAE already is attractive

With a local population of around 1 million, the UAE last year hosted more migrants than France or Canada, according to United Nations estimates.

The UN projects the country’s combined population will grow slightly over the coming decades, reaching 10.4 million by 2050 from just under 10 million this year.  

Dubai was recently ranked 1st in the Middle East and North Africa region and 11th globally among the top 20 most popular destinations for venture capital investments for 2020, which validates the strengths of Dubai’s investment environment and its success in creating new opportunities despite the challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The need for a Dubai ‘Savings program’

Andreea Zugravu, principal at government and economic development at Kearney Middle East, told Arabian Business: “To further encourage applicants for the retirement visa, the emirate will also need to work out options for sustainable savings.”

Global consultancy Mercer’s 2020 UAE Security and Savings survey earlier this year showed 45% of UAE expat employees either have no plans for financial security post-retirement or plan to work beyond the retirement age to ensure continued income while as many as 61% of respondents reported having no long-term savings.

The study also found that only 24% have access to pension or saving schemes with their current employers. 

Read: GCC real estate: Lower prices, more home loans, potential mergers, government intervention

Real estate company taking notice 

Lewis Allsopp, CEO of Allsopp & Allsopp recently showcased five communities and properties which will make retirees eligible for the visa.

Dubai Marina

Price: 2.1 million Dirhams

This Marina Gate apartment is 1256 sqft and offers 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms with partial marina views.

200 luxurious residential towers are spread over prime beachside land and an ideal location for people who enjoy being in the heart of an electric city where malls, supermarkets, pharmacies, clinics, and banks are within walking distance.

Palm Jumeirah

Price: 2.1 million Dirhams

This 2186 sqft Al Hamri Shoreline apartment offers a sea view from every room and generous 3 bedrooms with gym, pool, and beach access.  It is overlooking the Dubai Marina Skyline, with the Atlantis Hotel nearby. 

The Springs

Price: 2.1 million Dirhams

This townhouse is 2456 sqft and comprises 3 bedrooms and a study which is large enough to be used as a 4th bedroom. The community is clean, tidy, and has greenery and flowers in abundance to bring some life and color for a very serene family-friendly, pet-friendly and homely atmosphere in a suburban community, a stone’s throw from Dubai Marina. 

Arabian Ranches

Price: 2.15 million Dirhams

This townhouse in Alma is 2540 sqft and has 3 bedrooms and a beautifully landscaped garden. Arabian Ranches is nestled and surrounded in nature, a perfect location for retirees looking to kick back and relax in peace. The Ranches are extremely pedestrian-friendly. The community hosts home to one of Dubai’s most luxurious golf courses.