Category Archives: Press Review

Get UAE work visa from home – coming soon

In a recent meeting, Mr. Saqr Ghobash Saeed Ghobash, Minister of Human Resources and Emiratisation, revealed that soon foreign workers will be able to get their UAE working visa from their home country.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) and the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratization (MOHRE) have indeed started making necessary arrangements to enable workers to sign job offers back home and process their work visa and related entry visa at any Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation offshore service centers available in their country.

The new procedure will have several beneficial outcomes as explained by the Minister himself.

“Such cooperation and partnership between both ministries ensures a transparent contractual relation between employers and workers which prevents any attempt to replace any job offers upon the arrival of the worker to the UAE, especially since the first measures required to recruit workers from abroad shall be supervised by the UAE government through the Foreign Affairs and international cooperation Ministry,” Mr. Ghobash said as also reported by KhaleejTimes.

He added: “The fulfillment of the initial contractual agreements within such service centers, according to the newly launched decrees which began earlier this year, has a beneficial outcome on the employers as well, especially since informing the workers about their job offers and its annexes then ensuring getting a signature on the job offer to complete the transaction, falls under the direct responsibility of the employer.”

The Ministry is going to open visa issuing centers abroad according to a plan based on three phases as follows.

UAE work visa phases

The number of overseas offices will be increased from time to time and the start of the third phase is expected to be at end-2016 beginning 2017.

The local newspaper further reports the words of Ahmed Saeed Al Dhahiri, Assistant Undersecretary for Consular Affairs at the Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Ministry who said:

“Such centers has a major milestone effect, it will reduce fraud or identity theft cases by verifying the attendee via the passport, in addition to reducing the spread of infectious diseases into the UAE, avoid deportation and medical quarantine costs post the medical examinations which could be done at these centers, also prevent the arrival of foreigners that had already been sentenced to deportation and finally confirm the identity of the person arriving to the UAE through a clear high-quality facial image and an eye-scan done at the center”.

For the other Countries not mentioned in the article, the visa system remains unaltered.

Dubai EXPO2020 theme pavilion design competition winners revealed

His Highness Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Expo Higher Committee, in partnership with leading property developer Emaar Properties, have revealed the winners of one of the world’s most prestigious architectural competitions, to design the theme pavilions for Expo 2020.

The committee sought ideas for the three theme pavilions titled Opportunity, Mobility and Sustainability, which form a central part of EXPO 2020’s theme that is Connecting Minds, Creating the Future.

The winning design for the Opportunity Pavilion was submitted by Bjarke Ingels Group, a group of architects, designers, builders and thinkers based in Copenhagen and New York. Their design philosophy reflects a belief that contemporary urban life is a result of the confluence of cultural exchange, global economic trends and communication technologies as it could be read on the Expo 2020 official website.

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Bjarke Ingels Group winning design for Opportunity Pavilion. Photo from Emirates24/7

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Bjarke Ingels Group winning design for Opportunity Pavilion. Photo from Emirates24/7

 

The press release issued by Expo 2020 official website and reported by the major local newspapers, continues saying that Foster + Partners, the internationally renowned practice, based in London, submitted the winning proposal for the Mobility Pavilion. Their design drew on nearly four decades of pioneering designs including Dubai’s The Index building, and the master plan for Masdar City.

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Foster + Partners winning design for Dubai Expo2020 Mobility Pavillion. Photo from ArabianBusiness.com

The winning design for the Sustainability Pavilion, which will become a long term ‘cluster’ centre promoting innovative technologies, was submitted by Grimshaw Architects. The firm designed the Eden project in Cornwall, UK, and is a leader in the field of sustainable architecture.

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Grimshaw Architects winning design for Sustainability Pavillion at Dubai Expo2020. Photo from Emirates24/7

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Grimshaw Architects winning design for Sustainability Pavillion at Dubai Expo2020. Photo from ArabianBusiness

“Expo 2020 will be a festival of human ingenuity. We hope that the nations and organisations that take part in Expo, and the millions who visit, will explore the power of connections across the spheres of Opportunity, Mobility and Sustainability”

“Our theme pavilions will play a central role in bringing this to life.”

said HH Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum.

Keep updated by visiting the official DUBAI EXPO2020 website.

Construction news: more than 390 billion USD projects ongoing in Dubai

The total value of projects under construction in Dubai equates to $53.6 billion, with a further $337.2 billion in the planning stage.  These are significant amounts of investment for most mature economies, but for an emerging market such as Dubai, they are extraordinary figures which provide evidence of Dubai’s ambition to diversify its economy away from oil-centered revenues. In this way we can summarize the new report “The Dubai Construction Pulse” published by Deloitte and MEED Projects, which analyses the construction market across a range of sectors.

Analyzing the data provided in the report, it is evident that the majority of the construction projects currently ongoing in the Emirate are related to residential and hospitality sectors with a 60% of the total value involved while 65% of the planned projects fall within the mixed use developments, most probably because of the EXPO 2020’s requirements.

Dubai Construction Projects Status

“Despite regional security concerns and wider macro-economic turbulence, Dubai continues at pace with significant project awards in Q1 2016, including the Palm Gateway Towers, Phase II of the Atlantis Resort and Dubai Creek Harbour to name but three”, said Ben Hughes, director at Deloitte Corporate Finance Limited, regulated by the Dubai International Financial Center.

Previously stalled projects have been resurrected, but new project awards have reduced since 2014-2015 as a result of regional economic uncertainty

The conclusions of the report are particularly interesting and are here below summirized.

“The current concerns relating to low oil prices and diminished market sentiment has clearly had a short term impact. Whilst the ongoing geo-political factors equally have profound effects, the fact that many Governments across the region, not least the Government of Dubai, are continuing to spend on infrastructure and other strategic developments suggests that they foresee the oil price issue and political turmoil as a temporary one.

[…] The mere action of building a project and expecting the demand to be there no longer applies, as the fundamental cost basis for these projects remains volatile and competitive. Focusing on factors such as affordability, differentiation and quality are going to be increasingly important factors, and it is hoped that such considerations will ultimately underpin the rationale for conceiving projects.

Simply constructing the tallest or most unique project no longer provides the impact it once did, so diversifying the offer by promoting a world class standard appears to be the mantra moving forwards.

[…] What is interesting is the connectedness of Dubai as an increasingly “smart city”, and […]  Dubai may even mature to the extent that it could surpass some of the more established cities across the world, such as London, Paris or New York, in terms of its level of sophistication and dedication to sustainability, smart city principles and ultimately success in delivering projects that are demand driven and profitable.”

Other than on “The Dubai Construction Pulse” website by Deloitte, the matter has been analyzed and reported by well done articles published on SaudiGazzette and Gulf Construction Online.

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UAE to implement 5 per cent VAT from January 2018

As already anticipated many times in this blog, the UAE will implement value added tax (VAT) at the rate of five per cent from January 1, 2018, said Obaid Humaid Al Tayer, UAE Minister of State for Financial Affairs.

Al Tayer made the announcement on Wednesday while speaking to reporters after a joint press conference with Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the IMF in Dubai.

GCC countries have recently agreed they will introduce VAT at a rate of five per cent in 2018. The framework agreement on the implementation of VAT across the GCC is expected in June this year.

“Once the framework agreement on implementation of VAT is reached, GCC countries have time from January 1, 2018 to January 1, 2019 to implement VAT,” said Al Tayer.

The minister said each country has the flexibility to introduce VAT within this time frame. “A lot of ground work needs to be done before implementing VAT. The private sector will need time to prepare for complying with tax rules that is the reason we are giving enough time for all,” said Al Tayer.

The UAE will impose 5 per cent VAT while exempting 100 food items, bicycles, healthcare and education. In the first year, the country is expected to generate Dh12 billion from tax revenue.

GCC countries have decided to implement taxation as part of governments efforts to diversify revenues in the context of sharp decline in oil prices.

The news has been reported by several newspaper including GulfNews.

Contractors face slowdown in Abu Dhabi unless new projects come to market

I particularly liked the article by  about the current status of the construction sector in Abu Dhabi published yesterday on the local newspaper The National, an extract of which is here under reported.

by Michael Fahy, The National, 20 February 2016

The feeling construction companies operating in Abu Dhabi have is that not enough projects are coming to market to replace those being completed.

BMI Research said Abu Dhabi’s GDP growth is set to slow to 2.8 per cent this year, down from 4.3 per cent last year. It said that construction would outperform the overall economy, with an average annual growth rate of 5.9 per cent predicted between 2016 and 2020 across the UAE.

Richard Marshall, a senior infrastructure analyst at BMI Research, said that there are US$103 billion worth of UAE projects under construction, with $45bn of that in Abu Dhabi alone – more than any other emirate.

The pipeline of projects due to come to market is just $62bn. Given that more than 70 per cent of the $103bn of live projects is due for completion in 2017, a potential slowdown in the sector awaits unless more tenders come to market.

Moreover, the biggest project in the pre-tender phase is phase two of the Dh40bn Etihad Rail project, which was suspended last month until a review for “the most appropriate options for the timing and delivery” of the project is undertaken.

“Other GCC markets have been slow to deliver on their sections of the planned [railway] network, which has lessened the pressure on the UAE to meet the 2018 deadline.” said Mr Marshall.

On Wednesday, the ratings agency Moody’s said that Abu Dhabi was facing an economic slowdown as a result of government cuts in response to lower oil revenues.

Moody’s senior vice president, Steven Hess, said that a prolonged period of low oil prices could gradually erode the emirate’s fiscal buffers if it did not maintain prudent budgeting, but that it has enough reserves to be able to finance fiscal deficits for five to 10 years if it liquidated some of its assets. “Overall, the [emirate’s] considerable foreign assets should mitigate the negative consequences of oil price volatility on Abu Dhabi’s fiscal and external accounts,” said Mr Hess.

Read the full and original article on The National.

Press Review: GCC newspapers on Paris’ Terrorist Attacks

King Salman condolences

King Salman of Saudi Arabia offered condolences to French President. The Crown Prince said: “With grief and sadness, I received the news of terrorist attacks in the city of Paris. I express my condemnation on these criminal acts which are condemned by all divine religions and international norms and conventions. I also offer condolences to your Excellency, the friendly people of France and the families of the victims, wishing the injured a speedy recovery.” from Saudi Gazzette.com

Sheikh Khalifa condemns heinous terrorist attack

Strong condemnation of the heinous Paris attacks came from Sheik Khalifa, President of UAE. “No grey areas in the UAE’s view on terrorism” affirmed the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs on The National.

Oman Condemns Terrorist Attacks in Paris

The terrorist attacks were described as ‘utterly deplorable’ by Secretary General of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Sultanate of Oman reports Times of Oman.

Qatar Condemns deadly attacks

Qatar Condemns Paris and Beirut attacks as reported by DohaNews.com