Dubai saw a massive increase in business license issuance, specifically 45,653 in the first half of 2022 alone; this is said to be a 25 percent increase from the first half of 2021
Hatem ElSafty, CEO of Business Link, said the visa reforms introduced in the region led by the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia will not only boost economic activity but also attract talent and create jobs and business opportunities. — photo provided
The UAE visa and business reforms will open up new opportunities for entrepreneurs, investors, IT specialists, job seekers and tourists that will ultimately benefit the economy and the country, according to an industry veteran.
Hatem ElSafty, CEO of Business Link, said the visa reforms introduced in the region led by the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia have not only increased economic activity, but will also attract talent and create employment and business opportunities.
“The UAE has carried out some reforms within the existing visas, as well as introducing new types of visas altogether. This update seems to be a step in the right direction as it will open new doors of opportunity for the UAE and for the businessmen, job seekers, tourists and more. From a business point of view, the business entry visa will surely be beneficial as it allows investors to visit and conduct market research before setting up their business in the UAE,” ElSafty said. Khaleej Times during an interview on Sunday.
The fastest growing GCC economies
For Saudi Arabia, he said that SAGIA/MISA recently implemented updates to its regulations for commercial companies, which makes the whole process much easier to go through. As my company operates in the United Arab Emirates and KSA, I understand the kind of issues that investors would experience regarding setting up a trading business in KSA. However, I am happy to share that with these updates, things will be much more convenient.
“Of course, it goes without saying that any positive upgrade in a nation’s basic functioning allows its economy to prosper. But when the nations in question are the UAE and KSA, two economic superpowers in the GCC, the prosperity is immeasurable.” he said.
He said that Saudi Arabia’s economy has already been declared the fastest growing economy in the world. With real GDP growth expected to hit a staggering 7.5 percent this year, it has already outpaced many competitive economies. The steady and rapid growth is said to be the fastest experienced by Saudi Arabia since 2011, and its economy ranks just above the 20 largest economies in the world.
“As for the UAE, experts also predict safe growth in its economy. It is expected to reach 5.2% in 2022 and about 4.2% in 2023; the growth of the economy can be duly attributed to the initiative presented by the government of the United Arab Emirates,” he said.
He said Expo 2020 has played an important role in supporting the country’s economy, with estimates reaching $33.4 billion by 2031.
“Dubai has attracted foreign investment and has experienced exponential growth in the construction and infrastructure sectors, specifically, which has resulted in positive economic development,” he said.
Similarly, he said that Saudi Arabia has turned its attention to the next series of projects under Vision 2030 and the futuristic city of Neom.
“All this is expected to take Saudi Arabia’s economy to new heights. The IMF has forecast that Saudi Arabia will be the fastest growing economy in the year 2022, with a growth rate of 7.6 percent,” he said.
Business inquiries are on the rise
ElSafty said that investors from all over the world have shown interest in the United Arab Emirates after the reform process started this year.
“Yes, there has been a massive increase in business creation inquiries in recent months. In the third quarter, we saw a huge number of inquiries from all over the world. Investors and entrepreneurs have been waiting for new projects where they can be invest as well as reforms that will be beneficial to them and that they now see more and more of,” he said.
“As we know, Dubai saw a massive increase in business license issuance, specifically 45,653 in the first half of 2022 alone – this is said to be a 25 percent increase from the first half of 2021. I am sure the The fourth quarter of 2022 will also bring an encouraging number,” he said.
“With the stable and growing economy in the UAE, I’m sure this is just the beginning! Business Link is ready to help a new group of entrepreneurs and take on the establishment of new businesses!”
Saudi opportunities increase
ElSafty said that the Saudi government is interested in diversifying economic resources and introducing visa reforms to attract foreign investment in key sectors.
“It’s no surprise that Saudi Arabia’s economy is experiencing steady growth. Much of it can be attributed to Vision 2030 and the projects within such as Neom, Red Sea Project, ROSHN and more. Looking to slowly move away from its reliance on oil by investing in the growth of other sectors with great potential, Saudi Arabia is actively working to diversify the economy,” he said. He said that the Saudi Arabian government is opening up more and more to information technology, health care, tourism, real estate and other such sectors that will help improve the state of the economy. Along with this, the goal is to position Saudi Arabia as a leading hub in all sectors,” she said.
Earlier this year, Saudi Arabia revealed an investment worth $6.4 billion, to be put forward to develop future technology. To keep up with revolutionary times, the government has also set aside an estimated $1.4 billion to support entrepreneurship and digital content.
“For sure, with the investment in these sectors, foreign entrepreneurs will show interest in establishing a company in KSA, which will result in a more prosperous economy.”
Business Link Growth Strategy
ElSafty also shared his company’s growth strategy, saying the region’s growth prospects are bright after trade and visa reforms.
“At Business Link, our main focus has always been to provide specific packages to be able to serve entrepreneurs looking to invest in a niche market. This has helped us maintain a clientele that we are immensely proud of and has positioned us as a company leading configuration consultancy in the United Arab Emirates”.
“Along with the packages, our consultants are dedicated to investing time and effort to improve their knowledge and stay current with developing laws and regulations, as well as working on themselves through feedback. They are the backbone of our business and I’m grateful for the way they hold up,” he said.
“Speaking of our core markets, we’ve always been people’s top picks for commercial businesses, as well as healthcare, IT, recruiting, and consulting, among others, but we’re also seeing a slow rise in many other sectors. These include cryptocurrencies.” and e-commerce businesses,” he said.
New growth markets
ElSafty said that cryptocurrencies are an emerging business to watch out for. Currently, $27 billion has already been invested in cryptocurrencies in the United Arab Emirates and the figure is expected to double by the end of the year.
“At Business Link, we have already started looking at different payment methods, which can be done through cryptocurrencies.
“In terms of investors, we have also seen an increase in foreign investment from Chinese and European investors, specifically Russian investors,” he said.
He said most investors are looking to invest in e-commerce and IT businesses.
“Some are also looking to invest in general business licences, mainly for import purposes. In addition, local investors are investing in building construction businesses,” he said.
Quick business license
ElSafty said that getting a business license in the UAE is very easy and cost effective and one can get the license as soon as three days.
“On average, it can take between three days and four weeks to obtain your business license. However, the exact time will depend on the activity you choose to trade in. As certain sectors such as education may take longer due to external approvals from the KHDA unlike a travel and tourism business license that can be acquired in 3-4 business days,” he said.
Demanded business sectors
In response to a question about the sectors that receive the most inquiries in the UAE, ElSafty said that investors have shown interest in almost all sectors of the economy.
“Among our many inquiries, most of them relate to building procurement (construction), travel and tourism, general trade (food), and e-commerce activities. In recent times, we have seen an increase in the number of inquiries in real estate — and construction because of the increased activity in those particular industries,” he said.