Thriving Dubai a magnet for HNWIs and expats

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A mock-up business class cabin of an airline at the 2021 Dubai Airshow. (AFP)
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  • The city has established itself as the region's business hub, which creates abundant job opportunities for expats as only one in 23 workers in Dubai is an Emirati national.
  • Dubai had 7.28 million visitors last year despite the global pandemic, making it an ideal place to live, work, and visit.

Dubai is the Middle East region’s most happening place. This is evident in its constant endeavor to become the world’s most significant destination for foreign investment and high net worth investors (HNWI).

The high quality of life in the UAE attracts foreigners and encourages residents to stay longer than they expected.

A recent InterNations study of over 12,000 members revealed that Dubai had become a popular second home for expats because of its world-class infrastructure, successful pandemic response and visa and labor reforms.

An ideal destination for living 

The UAE is safe to live, work, and invest in since its leadership has ensured that its citizens, residents, and visitors have a good quality of life.

The UAE’s stable economy, which is set to expand to 4.5 percent in 2022, is one of the primary reasons many expats select Dubai as their second home.

In addition, the UAE’s position as a business hub in the Middle East attracts many international organizations to set up their base here to expand their presence in the region. This creates abundant job opportunities for expats as only one in 23 workers in Dubai is an Emirati national, according to Breakingviews’ calculations.

The government has also prioritized security and safety in recent years, as indicated by the UAE ranking first in Gallup’s Latest Law and Order Report 2021 and first in the world in the personal security index.

Furthermore, the UAE serves as a breeding ground for competencies, talents and investors in various fields. It is committed to supporting an environment that encourages creativity, innovation, and investment, as exemplified by the recent launch of the permanent residence system and golden visa for investors, entrepreneurs, researchers in the fields of science and knowledge, as well as talents and creators.

Multicultural ambiance and luxury lifestyle

In terms of tourism, Dubai continues to set new milestones and records as part of its commitment to reviving tourism and bolstering its position as a worldwide business and tourism hub. 

According to the latest official data, Dubai had 7.28 million visitors last year despite the global pandemic, making it an ideal place to live, work, and visit.

Dubai’s multicultural ambiance and luxury lifestyle attract many people seeking a second home outside their homeland. 

According to Zoom Property Insights, the presence of several tourist sites and luxury hotels and amenities such as the world’s tallest structure, the Burj Khalifa, and the world’s only seven-star hotel, the Burj Al Arab, also attract the wealthy and celebrities to purchase property in the country.

Dubai wants to attract more foreign nationals with several newly launched and soon-to-be operational new attractions and development projects, including the Dubai Museum of the Future, Dubai CommerCity, Royal Atlantis Resort, Wynn Resorts, Ain Dubai, Ciel Dubai and Meydan One Mall. 

Dunia Joulani, Travel, Hospitality and Leisure Lead, Deloitte Middle East, told TRENDS, “Dubai has established itself as both an attractive tourism destination and booming business hub bringing together regional and global investors.”

“This is due to a robust foundation, which includes an efficient infrastructure network (roads, airports, and so on), a stable political system, friendly tax and trade regulations, and a diverse tourism offering, all of which are conducive to a thriving tourism and business destination,” she added.

Jimmy Haoula, the managing partner of BSA Ahmad Bin Hezeem& Associates LLP, told TRENDS: “The UAE has long been a global innovation pioneer seen through the implementation of forward-thinking and well-defined strategies that have consistently led to successfully achieving ambitious objectives,” 

He added that the market’s nature and the country’s powerful infrastructure will surely help it become a global leader in the entertainment industry. 

“We have already seen this with other landmark technological innovations promoted by the UAE, such as virtual reality, artificial intelligence, and blockchain, which present tremendous opportunities for furthering tourism and investment in a way that will remain unique from other destinations,” he said.

Flexible laws to attract investors and residents

Low tax base, safety, diversity and excellent infrastructure are some of the reasons accredited to the popularity of Dubai among expatriates. 

However, the latest labor and visa reforms are a game-changer as expats now have many options for long-term renewable visas under a flexible work environment in the emirate. 

Also, the reform of the old labor laws and the shift of the working weekdays is expected to lure young talent to the country’s labor market. 

Benjamin Hopps, Counsel for the Middle East at Herbert Smith Freehills, a London-based international law company, told TRENDS that the UAE is typically a first mover in the region, and this is another example of the forward-thinking of the leadership. 

“Much of the private sector shifted their working arrangements to align with the public sector, and arrangements seem to be working smoothly,” he said.

The UAE is also working on attracting multinational entities to move their headquarters to the country, giving a push to its economy by offering the lowest corporate tax rates globally. 

Anurag Chaturvedi, CEO and Managing Partner of Chartered House told TRENDS that within the GCC, UAE proposed the lowest tax rate with added advantages.

“The lowest tax rate at 9 percent will put the UAE ahead globally to attract unicorns to make UAE their base,” he added.  

Since there will not be any personal tax, he said, global investors would continue to choose UAE as a base for making international investments and building wealth.

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