A new five-year visa for retirees in the UAE was announced in October of last year. The announcement was made, following a Cabinet meeting chaired by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. It is a laudable step by the UAE, in its endeavor to become a lasting home for its residents.
The ruling is a distinct reflection of the government’s visionary policies in building a strong and integrated economy with the best interests of its human resources at heart. The visa is expected to start rolling out this year.
Five-Year Retirement Visa – Who’s eligible?
Non-Emiratis over 55 years of age are eligible to apply for the visa, provided they meet any one of the following requirements.
- Property investment worth at least AED 2 million
- Financial savings of at least AED 1 million
- An active monthly income of at least AED 20,000
The visa also comes with a possibility of renewal, provided the applicant meets the eligibility criteria at the time of renewal.
What does it mean for expats?
Several government rulings made recently have been shifting dynamics in favor of the expats. The announcement of the retiree visa has come as a glimmer of hope for expats looking to put down lasting roots in the country. It offers a sense of security for the future that was missing till date.
This is an especially welcome move for people who have established businesses and own property in the UAE since this move allows them to retain their assets. It has also got a lot of expatriates re-imagining their investment and money management strategies in the country.
What does it mean for the UAE?
The influx of expats in the country is expected to increase if they can view the country as a long-term residency option. With Expo 2020 less than an year away, the UAE is taking every opportunity to create a more welcoming environment for people from every corner of the world. This move will open the market to a large number of people and should also bring in potential new buyers.
Experts believe that it will be a major boost to the country’s economy especially from the point of view of real estate market – both in terms of development of real estate and increase in sales.
Is there a downside?
Perhaps the biggest downside of the retirement visa is its five-year limit. The renewal of the visa is conditional and there is every chance of rejection if the requirements are not met. The most difficult of which is maintaining a sustainable source of income to the amount of at least AED 20,000 per month.
Analysts and experts are also of the opinion that the visa is laced with uncertainties for individuals who want to stay beyond five years since re-issuance of the visa may be subject to new regulations down the line.
Should an individual choose to stay back after retirement, no national benefits will be provided. In addition to this, there is the high cost of health insurance and living expenses that the applicant has to bear. It is therefore crucial for residents to have a sustainable source of income post retirement.