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.