No automatic residence visa for property buyers in Dubai

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Dubai, June 24 (UNI) A top Dubai government official has said there was no automatic residence visa to property buyers in Dubai, contrary to what the real estate developers advertised.

''There is no direct link between property ownership and residence visas. Developers should not lure investors to property sector with a promise of residence visa,'' said the official.

Thousands of expatriates, including many from India have bought flats, villas, plots and business offices in the UAE in the belief they will get residence visa, as advertised almost every day in the UAE dailies.

Now the official's comments reverse the government's earlier stand.

''Dubai is to introduce a set of short-term visas for foreign investors in the real estate sector. We have submitted the proposals to this effect to the higher government authority in Dubai to review the visas for property buyers. Once this law is approved, this might be implemented at a federal level as well,'' Dubai Real Estate Regulatory Agency (Rera) Chief Executive Marwan Bin Galita told Gulf News.

Dubai government opened the emirate's property sector to foreign investors in designated freehold areas in 2002, and in the absence of a proper real estate law then, the three master developers - Emaar, Nakheel and Dubai Properties - had promised to facilitate a three-year renewable residence visas to owners of freehold properties under a special arrangement with the residency department.

More than 20,000 families have moved into their freehold homes during the last six years.

''We are raising the issue now because there is confusion among the public in this regard. We are urging people not to link the obtaining of a residency visa with buying property,'' Bin Galita said, adding that the issue of visas is related to the ''development company'' and not the ''property people buy''.

He said obtaining residence visas in Dubai is not so hard. One can open a company or invest or be a partner in the company. People should not rely on the property or the investment company.

The new announcement will put hundreds of property buyers in a fix.

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