Dubai has a lot to offer to expats now, in comparison to the situation a decade ago. The recent changes are making the life of expats in Dubai easier. Take a look at the latest things you could do in Dubai as a tourist or a resident.
1. Long-term Residency
Generally, the UAE does not offer permanent residency rights to foreigners. Several expat workers and students have had to face troubles in the past due to the system of short-term visas that gave them little room for security or forward planning. But, now, with the government having responded by creating 5-year and 10-year visas, the investors, doctors, entrepreneurs, and art and culture specialists and the 'outstanding' students will have their families covered too. However, they have to meet associated criteria, so majority of the workers may not be eligible.
2. Boost to Entrepreneurs
As a major boost to entrepreneurs, Dubai has established several well-funded accelerator programs to support entrepreneurs developing innovative business ideas. So far, these have been focused only on Emirati-owned companies, but, in recent years, some of the largest programs have been opened to foreign nationals, including Mohammed bin Rashid Innovation Fund worth 2bn dirhams.
3. Complete Foreign Ownership for Businesses
Dubai has removed the requirement that all businesses should be owned at least 51 percent by a national, permitting complete foreign ownership of a company in the Emirates. Although restrictions are still in place in industries such as oil exploration and security, sectors such as hospitality, transport and space exploration are now open for expats.
4. Improved Public Transport
In the past, it was almost impossible to get around Dubai without a car, but that is fast changing now. With the opening of Dubai Metro in 2009, Dubai has thrown open a mass-transit system suitable for modern metropolis, with an extension due to open ahead of Expo 2020. The public transport system in Dubai has gone a step further, with the advent of water taxis and water buses along the coastline.
5. Growth in Infrastructure
Palm Jumeirah, a huge artificial island, was made operational by the process of dredging land from the sea, and it has continued ever-since. Also, new islands still continue to emerge from the ocean, including the Bluewaters Island opened to public in 2018.
The real estate and infrastructure in Dubai has grown by heaps and bounds, and it may seem as if Dubai has sprung up overnight. But, the historical district still gives a taste of Dubai as a humble fishing port, while exhibitions and museums still help us peep into the simpler way of living that prevailed before the age of skyscrapers in Dubai.
6. Multiple-entry Ports to Boost Tourism
A new rule permitting cruise passengers to apply for multiple-entry visas was passed recently, which is expected to boost tourism in the emirate, with Dubai in particular, expected to benefit greatly. This rule implies that tourists can visit the emirate through any of the country’s airports, board a cruise ship travelling out fo the emirate and then enter through any of its ports, all with just one visa. Dubai generally attracts 300,000 cruise tourists, and the numbers are expected to grow further, as the visitors will now experience less hassle and reduced costs.
7. Free Visa Granted to Select Tourists in Summer
Tourists travelling to the UAE during summer will not have to pay the visa fee for dependents aged 18 years or below, the Federal Authority recently announced. However, the fee exemption would be applicable only between 15th July and 15th September every year. This is expected to boost tourist numbers during summer.
8. Relaxed Alcohol Rules
There was much to rejoice for tourist communities in Dubai, with the latest announcement that alcohol licenses would be granted to foreign visitors. As per the new rule, non-Muslim visitors can apply for a free 30-day alcohol license that allows them to purchase alcohol from designated outlets, provided, they follow the guidelines/code of conduct on responsibility drinking.
Find more information about general laws and regulations in Dubai.