How Dubai is bringing back the wealthy

Wealthy individuals have started to pour into Dubai, this time moving their families and businesses into the city on a more permanent basis. This influx is a start to a reverse expat exodus seen during the pandemic.

Dubai was hit hard by the pandemic, losing thousands of expats who left as jobs dried up and the cost of living rose. Realising that expats brought wealth, entertainment and business, the city’s leaders looked for solutions to avoid a brain drain. Soon after, the UAE began renewing its scheme forlong term residence visas’, also referred to as ‘golden visas’, including a 10-year residency permit to reverse the exodus effect and attract talented people back to the Emirate.  

A recent article by Forbes magazine noted a large number of high-net-worth individuals (HNWI) and their families are moving to Dubai to live there permanently. The article stated that the main reasons the wealthy are flocking to the city include safety, non-imposition of income taxes, the flexibility of leaders and their “realism in dealing with the economic repercussions resulting from the pandemic.” 

Dubai – Home of the Wealthy

According to a study by New World Wealth, Dubai is the wealthiest city in the Middle East and Africa region and the 29th richest in the world. It is home to 165 centimillionaires and 12 billionaires.  

Dubai’s population of HNWI’s rose to 54,000 in June 2021, up by 3.8 per cent from 52,000 in December 2020. Meanwhile, the number of multi-millionaires increased to 2480 from 2430, while centi-millionaires amplified to 165, up by 8.5 per cent from 152. 

Pandemic Response Proved Attractive to Investors

As many governments around the world flailed in their response to the pandemic, Dubai responded quickly. The city rolled out vaccinations earlier than other urban centres, and since the end of August 2020, fully WHO-approved vaccinated individuals were allowed to apply for a tourist visa.  

The government also loosened visa restrictions in order for their economy to rebound from both the pandemic and the move away from oil. They did this by launching new visa options that include a five-year retirement visa for over 55’s, a one-year remote working visa, and expanding the number of professions eligible for the 10-year residence visa.  

Earlier in 2021, the UAE also introduced a new citizenship law that allows the granting of UAE citizenship to investors, professionals, and individuals with specialised talents to ensure continued prosperity.  

“This is a hugely progressive step for the UAE. Citizenship by investment is a win-win situation for the nation and investors alike, making for a stronger economy and an attractive country to invest in,” says Micha Emmett, the CEO of CS Global Partners. 

These are all clear moves to entice expats to invest more in the economy rather than viewing life in Dubai as a temporary stint before returning home or moving elsewhere altogether.  

What is Citizenship by Investment?

Citizenship by investment allows foreign investors and their families to become citizens of another nation usually in a matter of months. Citizenship is granted after applicants pass due diligence checks and make either an economic contribution to the host nation’s government fund or invest into pre-approved real estate, although additional options could be available.  

The specific investment requirements and range of benefits depend on the country offering the programme. To get an in-depth look at citizenship by investment, check out our “What is Citizenship by Investment” page or contact one of our citizenship experts for a complimentary consultation.  

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