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UAE Cabinet issued a decision approving a New Visa Regime

22 May 2018

On 20 May 2018 the UAE Cabinet issued a decision approving a new visa regime in the UAE to attract “international investments and exceptional talent” which would allow investors, professionals and specialists in medical, scientific research and technical fields and innovators to obtain a ten-year residency visa.

In addition, exceptional students studying in the UAE will also be able to obtain a ten-year visa, whilst all other UAE students will be eligible for a five-year visa.

In the same decision, the UAE Cabinet also confirmed that it is still intended to allow 100% foreign ownership for UAE onshore companies. Previously, UAE onshore companies have required at least 51% Emirati ownership. The UAE’s Ministry of Economy is responsible for implementing this initiative and has been mandated to submit a report to the Cabinet in Q3 of 2018. A new investment law is then intended to be issued in Q4 of 2018, under which the relaxation in foreign ownership requirements would be introduced. The specifics and terms around the relaxationintended to improve the investment environment of the UAE are yet to be announced, however the 100% foreign ownership rule is anticipated to apply to certain key sectors, which may include manufacturing and service industries.

Clearly this decision represents an interesting development in the UAE’s drive to attract global investment and talent and will have significant implications for international companies and investors looking to conduct business in the UAE. We will write further as and when there are more developments.