'Quite remarkable' early response to Retire in Dubai scheme

Dubai’s tourism chief sees positive reaction to programme to encourage resident expatriates and foreigners over the age of 55 to settle in the emirate

Helal Al Marri, director general, Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM).

The Retire in Dubai scheme for resident expatriates and foreigners over the age of 55 has received a “quite remarkable” response since its launch less than two weeks ago.

The retirement programme, the first of its kind in the region, is being spearheaded by Dubai Tourism in collaboration with the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA-Dubai).

During an interview with Dubai Chamber of Commerce, Helal Al Marri, director general, Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM), said it had already proven popular.

He said: “Fifty-five we don’t consider old as an age and we see the take-up has been quite remarkable. I would say ‘watch this space’, I’m really hopeful that this becomes one that we look back on and we’re glad we didn’t delay and started even though there was a pandemic and I think people are generally positive about it.”

Eligible applicants will be provided a retirement visa, renewable every five years. The retiree can choose between one of three financial requirements for eligibility: earning a monthly income of AED20,000 ($5,500); having savings of AED1 million ($275,000); or owning a property in Dubai worth AED2m ($550,000).

“There are many exceptional people who today call Dubai their home,” said Al Marri. “This really gives them the opportunity to stay long-term. The city’s response to the pandemic has obviously strengthened this perception of Dubai.

“It’s only been a few weeks but we are today seeing a really positive reaction, where people are liking the simplicity of the programme.”

As a result of the current global coronavirus pandemic, Al Marri revealed that the scheme is yet to be marketed overseas, with those living in the city and across the GCC the current focus.

He said: “We’re currently today, not doing mass international campaigns, because we don’t want to go into countries where they’re still battling the pandemic, but what we’re focusing on in the first phase is residents who live here or used to live here along with people whose family live here.

“The other thing we have a lot of is we have a lot of expatriates living in the region who frequent Dubai numerous times a year both for business and for leisure and they’re also showing great interest in Dubai as a second home.”

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