09 July, 2008

Property-linked residence visa

I've come across another development in the residence visa linked to property story.

You may remember that a couple of weeks ago the head of RERA was reported as saying they had sent a proposal to the government to stop the issue of residence visas to property owners. The story in Gulf News is here.

I've had some new information sent to me by someone who's bought an apartment in Dubai Marina.

Naturally, he needs the residence visa so that he can get the telephone and DEWA connected. He also needs it to get a PO Box, open a bank account, get a driving licence and so on.

Dubai Marina is an Emaar master development and the apartment is in one of the many buildings by other developers. The arrangement has been that the three master developers, and only them, are able to sponsor owners for a residence visa.

My correspondent talked to Emaar and was initially told that as of last month they only sponsor residence visas for buyers in their own buildings.

After many conversations with various people at his developer, Emaar and Immigration, and being given several different versions of the situation, the latest is from his developer who say Emaar have told them, I quote: "confirmed that they have stop issuing visa at the moment. Because Government Department (the Emigration Department in Dubai & Lands Department) with Emaar are Discussing some changes in the process."

The rule, publicly announced and in operation for three years, has been that the three master developers could apply for a residence visa for buyers in their developments. If the usual immigration requirements were met then a residence visa would be issued.

If that now changes, when many people have bought property because of it, it will be disastrous. Not only for the property owners but also for Dubai's reputation.

Relying so much on business confidence for its future, this would be yet another hit that would severely damage Dubai's reputation. If you can't trust the word of government, if something is sold but something different is delivered, then doing business becomes very risky. And there are many alternative places to invest which offer a safer, more honest environment.

This needs urgent government action.

5 comments:

B.D. said...

I think property buyers will need to be both patient and persistent. I believe the wording has always been to the effect of "visas given per government rules"--this not verbatum. There is always the posibility that policy/rules could change, and this in fact seems always to be happening. REASON DICTATES that people will be getting their visas. It would make no sense for the government to torpedo this whole property thing right in the middle of the boom.

The way I see it, you have competing interests and views among the people who run things here--the conservative vs the progressive--like you do everywhere. That is why we get a lot of this seesawing. In the end, however, there is one who seems to rule the day, i.e. Shekh Mohammed, so I for one don't think foreign property buyers have much to worry about. That said, patience and persistence are still needed.

Seabee said...

Yes, bd it was never 'visa guaranteed' as some developers have advertised, but as you say 'as per rules'.

But patience is a problem for people who've bought property and need to get services installed and for people already living here on these visa arrangements who need their visa renewed. Patience doesn't come into it if the visa expires - you have to leave the country.

And as I said in the posting, it damages Dubai's reputation as a place to invest if there's doubt thrown on the reliability of rules and regulations.

Anonymous said...

w00t!

All I have to do is rent for another year or two before all these expat's houses flood the market and I will be able to Buy in Dubai!

DUBAI JAZZ said...

common sense says that Joe should be able to live here as long as he owns a property here.

Lirun said...

interesting

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