UAE To Allow 100% Business Ownership For Companies As Part Of Changes To Visa System

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The UAE Cabinet, under the leadership of H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, has announced its decision to allow 100% foreign ownership of companies in UAE, on Sunday. This comes as part of the country’s decision to adopt a new visa system for international “investors and talents,” introducing a long-term 10-year visa for certain categories of professionals. Sheikh Mohammed also directed the Ministry of Economy to coordinate with concerned parties to implement the resolution, and follow up on its developments, and said that the decision will be enforced by third quarter of this year.

The plan is expected to result in a clear boost for UAE’s emerging small businesses, as the country now has plans to allow for 100% business ownership of all enterprises in the country- an incentive previously only applicable for companies operating in the free zones (whereas other companies were required to have a local partner with minimum 51% ownership). “The new visa system will increase the chances of attracting investors and competencies to the UAE, and thus increase the country's economic competitiveness globally. The global investors' ownership is expected to reach 100% by the end of the year,” said the official statement.

The new system intends to grant residency visas of up to 10-years for “specialists in medical, scientific, research and technical fields, as well as for scientists and innovators-” signifying that entrepreneurs and startups working on disruptive solutions in such fields are likely to be direct beneficiaries of this change. Also on cards are five-year residency visas for students studying in the UAE, and 10-year visas for “exceptional students.” "The UAE will remain a global incubator for exceptional talents and a permanent destination for international investors." Sheikh Mohammed said. "Our open environment, tolerant values, infrastructure and flexible legislation are the best plan to attract global investment and exceptional talents in the UAE."

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