Following sweeping reforms that the United Arab Emirates made to its visa and immigration rules on Sunday, Abdirashid Duale, CEO of the global remittance giant Dahabshiil, said this provided an unprecedented window of opportunity for Somali investors.
“Somalis had been trading with the UAE in the past 100 years or so and the new, relaxed rules for residence visas open a wide vista of investment opportunities for the Somali business community as it eases stringent visa restrictions which inhibited healthy investment in the past,” he said.
Mr. Duale pointed out that Dahabshiil, which provides a number of critical services to businesses, including but not confined to banking and remittance, lauded the UAE initiative which His Highness Shaikh Muhammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum spearheaded.
“The new measures will grant residence visas to selected categories of professionals, investors, engineers, doctors, specialists in the medical field, research specialists, innovators and those in creative fields viewed as professionals,” he said.
“But the most welcome proviso evident in the decision that will be of tremendous significance to Somali investors is the fact they will no longer have to look for Emirati with a majority stake in order to set up a new business in the UAE,” he added “Foreign nationals will be allowed to set up companies that they own – all 100% of it”.
The resolution was adopted at a Cabinet meeting on Sunday chaired by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, on Sunday. The decisions were expected to ‘reinforce the UAE’s position as a top destination for international investors and global talent’.
Presently, foreign investors were allowed to own 100% of companies located only within demarcated free zones. The new laws take them out of there to give investors free choice anywhere within the UAE.
The new law will grant 10-year, renewable residence visas to investors and professionals and their dependents in order to attract ‘top international investments as well as exceptional talent to the country and build a solid foundation for a diversified knowledge economy’.
As reported by the Gulfnews, HH Shaikh Muhammad maintains that the UAE “will remain a global incubator for exceptional talents and a permanent destination for international investors. Our open environment, tolerant values, infrastructure and flexible legislation are the best plan to attract global investment and exceptional talents to the UAE”.
The UAE leadership also hopes that a significant portion of the huge expatriate remittance to countries of origin which, for instance, stood at, Dh164.3 billion in 2017, will be ploughed back to the country.
Dahabshiil, which handles the largest remittance flow of Diaspora Somalis, also has a banking and investments portfolios which rightly earned the loyal custom of a huge cross-section of Somali business owners. Dahabshiil will certainly assist investots in the anticipated surge ahead for UAE markets not only within Somali communities but, more significantly, in the Horn of Africa and East African regions.