UAE long-term visa: Five-year visa cost as little as Dh650; ten-year visa for Dh1,150 only
Long-term UAE residency visas with 10-year validity, which were rolled out earlier this year, can now be obtained for as low as Dh1,150 while the five-year-visa will cost only Dh650, the UAE government announced on Sunday.
According to eligibility criteria announced earlier, investors in public investment or senior professionals working with the investors as well as exceptional talents and researchers in various domains qualify for the 10-year visas.
Investors and professionals falling in the approved categories can apply to issue or renew the 10-year visa for Dh1,150 (Dh150 for the application and Dh1,000 for issuance). Family members of the applicants can also avail 10 years’ visas at the same cost.
Vasu Shroff, chairman of the Regal Group of Companies, and Khushi Khatwani, managing director of the Khushi Group of Companies and Al Nisr Cinema Film, became the first Indians to benefit from the long-term visa scheme. Their families also received the new long-term visas.
Speaking to Gulf News, Vasu Shroff said that the visa charges are affordable compared to other developed countries.
“I paid Dh1,350 for each visa, including service charges. This is very affordable for a 10-year visa. In the UK the multi-entry visa costs around Dh5,000. This is a great initiative by the government to retain and attract investors and this has made our lives easier and hassle-free,” said Shroff, who is a Dubai resident since 1960.
Shroff added that he got long-term visas for all 11 members of his family, including his wife, children and grandchildren.
“All my family members benefited from this facility, we all got the visas. The service was great, we got the visas issued within 10 minutes, it was very quick, fastest service I have ever seen in my life. It was just a visa swap, they checked our passports, cancelled the old visas and issued the new ones,” said Shroff.
The 10-year visa scheme was rolled out in January and some Arab scientists and experts in the medical field were the first ones to receive it.
UAE banks see personal loans fall in Q1
The quarter saw soft consumer demand and household sentiment
UAE bank’s lending of personal loans fell by 0.9 percent year-on-year in Q1 2019 and 1.2 percent quarter-on-quarter, according to data from the UAE Central Bank.
The slip is largely due to soft consumer demand and household sentiment.
According to the data, personal loans from UAE banks fell to AED 333.5 billion during the quarter, compared to AED 336.5 billion between January and March 2018.
Year-on-year, gross credit went up by 4.2 percent, from AED 1.608 trillion to AED 1.675 trillion.
“We highlight some caution on the loan growth outlook in the second quarter with the earlier start of the holy month of Ramadan in 2019,” Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank Monica Malik said in a note.
“Nevertheless, the weak consumer demand environment is continuing to temper private sector credit growth, with retail credit growth contracting by 0.9 percent on a month-on-month basis in March and down 1.2 percent year-to-date,” she added.
Malik added that the Q1 data reflects “weak” consumer demand and household sentiment.
“Ongoing uncertainties over the labour market was likely a key factor, with no new fiscal reforms implemented,” she added. “The government and government-related entities sectors are leading the loan growth, likely reflecting in part some pickup in investment activity.”
Total bank deposits were found to have risen 5.2 percent to AED 1.748 trillion from AED 1.662 trillion.For all the latest banking and finance news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our You Tube page, which is updated daily.
UK firm said to plan $440m algae farm in Oman
A UK-based firm is reportedly planning to develop one of the world’s largest algae farms in Oman.
London-headquartered Feed Algae aims to invest OR167.5 million ($440 million) to build the project in the Sharqiyah Governorate of the sultanate, reported the Oman Observer.
It said the mega algae cultivation project will be capable of producing 100,000 tonnes of algae per annum, with the first harvest expected in 2022.
Oman’s Implementation Support & Follow-up Unit (ISFU), which has been assisting the investor in securing suitable land for the project, said the Al Sharqiyah Algae Farm will rank among the largest in the world.
It added that the global algae farming industry is projected to be worth around $48 billion over the next five years, citing the growing demand for environmentally-friendly and cost-competitive natural resources.
A plot has been provisionally allocated for the farm and a consultant will be appointed to conduct an environmental impact assessment while the investor finalises a feasibility study on the venture.
Saudi’s Taqa plans to acquire two US oilfield services firms
Saudi Arabia’s Industrialization and Energy Services Company (Taqa) plans to acquire two companies in the North American oilfield services technology and manufacturing sectors by the end of the year.
The announcement forms part of the company’s 2021 Strategy to become a leading oilfield services and equipment provider, it said in a statement.
Taqa said it has allocated approximately $1.2 billion for new investments and acquisitions over the next 3 years to build-out its capabilities and footprint in oilfield services, equipment manufacturing and new technologies across the wider Middle East North Africa region and North America.
The company said it is currently in discussions to acquire two companies in North America this year, a major step in accelerating its 2021 transformation and growth strategy.
Taqa added that it is also reviewing a number of further investment and acquisition opportunities in the wider Middle East region.
The oilfield services and equipment provider already has a substantial portfolio of wholly owned companies, subsidiaries and affiliates that were established in joint ventures with global leaders across several oilfield equipment and services markets.
Azzam Shalabi, CEO of Taqa, said: “Taqa’s planned investments in North America complement our Middle East expansion ambitions and are a key component of our 2021 Strategy which aims to deliver the best, most advanced integrated oilfield services and manufacturing solutions to our clients.
“North America is home to some of the world’s leading oilfield services companies and represents an exciting investment and expansion opportunity for Taqa. We are actively seeking to tap into the latest technology and manufacturing practices in this market, especially in the unconventional resources space, where we see significant growth opportunities.”
Established in 2003, Taqa is a joint stock company owned by the kingdom’s Public Investment Fund, Saudi Arabian joint stock companies and prominent institutional investors.