Reverse migration in UAE as people returning back from overseas

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By Fakhr Ahmad
DUBAI: The UAE is witnessing a reverse migration trend: More former residents, who relocated to Canada and the US for greener pastures, are returning to the country, industry experts said.
Property developers in Dubai have seen increased investments from such new Canadian and US nationals who used to live in the UAE. They are now buying homes in the emirate to move away from the high taxes, rising cost of living and fewer opportunities in the countries they initially migrated to.
Imran Farooq, CEO of Samana Developers, said the increase in the number of buyers from Canada and the US was “a completely new trend”.
“There is a kind of reverse migration from Canada, which was among the top migration countries. But now reverse migration trend has started due to economic slowdown and law and order there. Canadians now account for around 5 to 6 per cent of investors in Samana’s projects,” he said.
Many UAE expatriates from South Asia, Southeast Asia and Arab countries had migrated to Canada, the US and other Western countries over the past decade in search of greener pastures and to obtain stronger passports. But the public safety and security aspect, quality of life, and shorter flights to see loved ones are encouraging them to return to the UAE.
This has driven higher demand for properties from such expatriates who are mainly end users in the emirate’s residential property market.
In addition, the cost of living in Canada increased substantially last year, mainly driven by a jump in rents. This put Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau under pressure, prompting him to address the issue in the upcoming budget.
Rizwan Sajan, chairman of Danube Group and Danube Properties, said people who didn’t live in the UAE and migrated to Canada and the US might stay there, but those who migrated from the UAE, after spending some time here, are coming back.
“Most of our Canadian buyers are desi Canadians from India and Pakistan who lived in the UAE and then migrated there. People there pay up to 40 to 50 per cent of their income in taxes. But there is no income tax here in the UAE. The way the UAE pampers its residents, other countries don’t. Therefore, people are attracted back to the UAE after getting the passport,” he added.
Citing an example, he said that in the UAE, people can get tea and even petrol delivered to their homes within minutes — something that doesn’t happen anywhere in the world.
He revealed that these new Canadian nationals returning to the UAE have invested in most of Danube’s projects, including the latest Bayz 101 projects.
Farooq added that the US was not a big segment among foreign investors before; but now, buyers from the Americas are also increasing in big numbers, accounting for nearly 13 per cent of foreign investors in his projects.
“The demand for Golden Visa was very strong from Europe and now we are getting from the US also,” said the Samana CEO.
He, however, ruled out a slowdown in the Dubai property market this year, saying there is a strong demand for properties, especially with Dh2-million ticket size due to Golden Visa eligibility. He also added that land prices are consistently on the rise.

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