DUBAI: A picture taken with a fisheye lens shows people on their paddleboards during the ‘we paddle for Dubai’ event at the Burj Khalifa water lake in the Gulf emirate. – AFP

DUBAI: Dubai is seeking to attract wealthy foreign retirees as the economy of the Middle East trade and tourism hub reels from the coronavirus pandemic and low oil prices, prompting many expatriates to leave. It will grant visas renewable every five years to resident expatriates and foreigners over the age of 55 who fulfill specific financial conditions, the government media office said.

To be eligible, they must have a monthly income of at least 20,000 dirhams ($5,445) or 1 million dirhams in cash savings, or 2 million dirhams worth of property in Dubai. Important sectors of the Dubai economy such as tourism and transportation have been severely impacted by the coronavirus crisis and firms have been cutting jobs to save costs.

This has prompted many expatriates – who make up the majority of the population of the UAE, which includes Dubai – to leave the country in which residency is tied to employment and that does not offer citizenship routes to non-nationals. The new law could help prop up Dubai’s real estate market, which has been suffering from oversupply for years. The economy of Dubai, the UAE’ second-largest and second-wealthiest emirate after oil-rich Abu Dhabi, is expected to shrink sharply this year, with some analysts estimating a contraction of over 10%. – Reuters