There is a sense of rhetorical self-defence involved when talking about the increasingly flexible visa regulations that go into effect in Dubai. The exordium?
Talent has become easier to attract, in the same way that capital was targeted, especially in the real estate and the business sector when reforms were first introduced in 2018. In the race for the game of thrones in globalization - despite the clouds that have gathered by way of protectionist moves in some western countries - the cynosure of the current moves has once again been the median jobseeker, just as other moves in the capital market sector has been for the median investor.
From employees to tourists, from freelance to sponsoring children, the impulse has been on attracting and retaining talent, by removing the red-tape of legacy architectures. And the flamboyance of the intended populace has been a sight to behold. It was almost as if visas was not the topic of discussion at all, but rather something more revolutionary.
A constant gamechanger
Immigration reforms have always been at the heart of attracting and retaining talent in the country - an integral process towards the capital formation process. The alchemy of what happens when capital collides with the workforce has always been the secret sauce for everything related from startups to multinationals, from asset managers to computer programmers.
Alongside the moves made in the asset markets (from real estate to capital markets), there is a change of zeitgeist in radical ways from the traditional - already liberal - mindset that was in place. With an emphasis on attracting the best and the brightest into the melting pot, there is a greater shift towards differentiation amidst an increasingly competitive sphere.
Stop money leakages
Undoubtedly, these moves will address issues such as the ‘brain drain’ alongside the money leakages that have long been a facet of the economy. A reversal of these forces will further buttress the solid base that has been put into place from which the springboard of growth trajectory is expected to accrue.
As we move up the value chain, the ability to invest and gain residency in the UAE has gathered steam, along with the ease to do the same. From real estate to business formation, the landscape has never been easier to set up operations in the UAE.
With competition comes variety, something that nature itself rejoices in. With this expansiveness comes a piling up of possibilities to nurture the next frontiers of the economy. Indeed, the range of visas on offer, catering to the tourist and the freelancer, offers intriguing possibilities for channeling domestic savings into the economy for those who wish to start their journey towards purchasing a home. As well as for those who wish to deploy in the capital markets and/or resort to starting up a business venture.
A marketplace of ideas
By collaborating with people from overseas (who themselves are looking to move to the UAE given the vagaries of regulatory forces and the uncertainty that it creates), the race is on to create a marketplace of capital and ideas, the confluence of which moved cities like London and New York to the center of the world.
This gush of talent that is now expected to accelerate has implications for asset prices as well as for the stability of the ecosystem. Indeed, stability leads to a re-rating, even as continued financial turbulence (exacerbated by the inflationary forces) wreak havoc throughout the world.
What the UAE continues to demonstrate is that it has a firm control on the forces at play that cast their magnetic ‘pull and push’ forces on decision making. Immigration reforms are part of the jigsaw puzzle being put into place to cement and forge the next phase of growth.