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New law for residency visas for freehold property investors in Dubai

It is likely to be widely welcomed as there has been confusion with property companies boasting that buying in Dubai came with a 99 year visa despite there being no law to back this up.

'This is an issue that we believe has to be cleared. We raised it with the government and officials have confirmed that there is a law that will come very soon,' said Hamad Buamim, Director-General of the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

'The law will clarify who deserves a visa in terms of their investment in the real estate sector. We don't know when it will be out but the government says it will be soon. I think soon means within this year,' he added.

It will take some time to come through because it involves several different government departments. The law has to come via a decree issued by the government, seconded by the Ministry of Interior and then approved by the immigration authorities.

At once stage most real estate advertisements boasted of 99-year visa for overseas real estate investors buying freehold property. But such guarantees were not within the power of the property industry. Ownership of a freehold property did not guarantee a residency visa but many people believed that it did even though there was no specific law dealing with the issue.

'Some of the developers just extended their promises for certain commercial benefits without having any legal back-up to substantiate their claims,' explained Hisham Abdullah Al Shirawi, Second Vice-Chairman of the Dubai Chamber.

He has urged the government to have an official spokesperson to deal with the visa issues. 'I do advocate the concept that we should have an official spokesman, who addresses these issues in a very clear and transparent manner,' he said.