The United Arab Emirates (UAE) in an effort to attract more talent and money into its slow-growing economy is going to make changes to its policies regarding ownership in local business and residency of foreigners.
According to its new rules as reported by its state-owned local news agency WAM, non-Emiratis will be allowed 100 percent ownership in a business. It is also offering residency visa of up to 10 years to specialists in the field of science, medicine, research and other technical fields including top students. The change will come into effect by the end of this year.
As the second-largest economy in the Gulf region, its dependency is moving from oil to foreign investment and an expatriate workforce. A majority of its population consists of foreigners who are expected to leave at the end of their employment. They are also sending their earnings abroad. According to the news report, 164 billion dirhams ($45 billion) was sent by the expatriates outside UAE.
UAE is looking for a shift in their economic policies as an alternative to crude oil, which was their primary source of income in the 1990s. Dubai especially had shifted its dimension to tourism but the country now turns to science and technology to achieve steady growth, which has slowed down since 2010.
Earlier, foreign ownership was restricted outside "free zones" like Dubai International Financial Centre. Business in other areas required 51 percent ownership of UAE citizens.
In August last year, Qatar relaxed its residency rules granting foreigners the right to live in the country indefinitely.