The UAE’s response to the coronavirus pandemic is likely to increase foreign direct investment and attract talent, according to accounting giant Deloitte.

Since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, the UAE has taken “vast measures” to ease doing business in the country in the short term, and progressed initiatives of strategic and long-term success, Deloitte said as it launched a new guide for investors.

The company said some of the immediate measures included the extension of VAT filings, Covid-19 measures for the economic substance rules, refund of customs duties, as well postponements of rent payments, cancelling of fines, waiving of licence fees and other registration fees in mainland as well as free zones.

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As a result, Deloitte said it has launched a new taxation and investment guide to help investors gain a working perspective on the operating conditions and investment climate in the country.

“Over the last 12 months, the UAE has demonstrated unparalleled resilience with the Covid-19 outbreak and fostered its stance as a leading hub for investors, businesses and individuals. The country deployed several measures including significant medical response as well as fiscal stimulus packages. This agile response has laid the basis to increase foreign direct investment and attract talent,” said Jan Roderick Van Abbe, director, International and M&A Tax, Deloitte Middle East.

In late 2020, the UAE amended the Commercial Companies Law to allow 100 percent foreign ownership in mainland with some exceptions still to be confirmed.

Jan Roderick Van Abbe, director, International and M&A Tax, Deloitte Middle East.

The UAE also introduced relaxed residency and visa requirements and recently announced that UAE citizenship will be granted to foreigners, subject to certain conditions.

Hadi Allawi, partner and immigration leader, Deloitte Middle East, said: “The UAE is a regional trade hub and a focal Middle Eastern destination for international investors. The open environment, stability, infrastructure and efficient corporate and immigration processes have attracted many investors throughout the past years.

“The UAE authorities oversee ongoing reforms to ensure that the country offers an efficient regulatory framework enabling companies to access the talent and workforce they need to operate in the country and wider region,” he added.

Hadi Allawi, partner and immigration leader, Deloitte Middle East

In addition, Dubai also launched a virtual/remote working program enabling eligible foreign professionals, entrepreneurs and company owners to work remotely from Dubai for up to one year with the ability to bring their family members with them as well as access all services in the UAE, including accommodation, utilities, and schooling for children.

On Wednesday, the UAE’s Ministry of Health and Prevention announced that 93,199 doses of the Covid-19 vaccine were administered in the past 24 hours.

The total number of doses provided stands at 5,761,463 with a rate of vaccine distribution of 58.25 doses per 100 people, one of the world’s highest.

Last month, the UAE said it plans to vaccinate more than 50 percent of the country’s population during the first quarter of this year.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the UAE has conducted more than 29 million Covid-19 tests on more than 9.5 million people, placing the country among the nations with the highest rates of screening in the world.

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