Regulations on identity cards, mortgage limits introduced for UAE expatriates
Wednesday, February 6, 2013
Thousands of foreign nationals from all over the world flock to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) every year. The region's political stability and economic prosperity have led to increased employment opportunities for expatriates that their home countries may not be able to offer. Although a large number of expatriates choose to stay in short term rental apartments and temporary housing upon arrival in the UAE, many see investment in property as a priority, especially when it comes to establishing permanent residency status. According to Gulf News, expatriates living and working in the UAE will soon be issued new resident identity cards.
The news source reports that the new cards, which will be provided to expatriates in the UAE later this month, will be known as "Resident Identity Cards." Former documentation for expats living in the region did not include "identity" in their designation. In addition to distinguishing expatriates as permanent residents, the move will also enable emirate authorities to differentiate between temporary residents and Emiratis, who have emirate citizenship. Further plans to redesign Emirati residency identification are being considered, but no immediate proposals have been set forth.
Changes to the existing identification system in the UAE came after several recommendations from the Federal National Council, which formed a special committee in 2008 to address problems with the previous system. Officials claim the new identity cards will enhance existing security measures and make it easier for government authorities to maintain more detailed records of expatriates living and working in the region.
Getting a foot on the ladder
The property market in the UAE is particularly vibrant, due in part to the strength of the region's economy and the emirates' commitment to continued development. However, for expatriates, getting onto the property ladder can be challenging. Housing in the region can be expensive, especially in major economic centers such as Dubai and Riyadh. Banking officials in the UAE recently outlined restrictions to the maximum mortgage on residential properties in an attempt to make housing more affordable, reports The National.
Under the new proposals, mortgages for expatriates should be limited to seven years of income, while Emiratis should be able to purchase property worth eight times their annual salary. In addition to making purchasing property more realistic for many would-be homeowners in the UAE, officials said the measures would reduce banks' lending to foreign nationals.
Another major change proposed by officials is repayment restructuring if an individual's mortgage payments exceed more than 50 percent of their monthly income.