By Alina al-Murshid – News24.com | Jul 26, 2018 09:56:26More than 10,000 homes in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are owned by foreign companies, according to data published by the UAE Department of Economic Affairs.
The Department said on Wednesday that in the first half of 2018, there were 6,724 registered offshore companies with assets of more than US$7 billion, with a total of 5,903 houses rented out by foreign owners.
The majority of these companies were incorporated in the UK, followed by the US, Germany, Singapore, India and France.
It said the total number of houses owned by offshore companies in the country rose from 3,636 in the year-ago period to 3,929 in the latest quarter.
According to the Department, the majority of the registered offshore entities have no foreign owners, but it said that the number of non-residents and non-resident foreign nationals owning properties in the state may have been inflated.
“We also suspect that the non-domiciled companies have used a combination of shell companies, shell companies in foreign countries and other means to gain access to the UAE’s sovereign wealth fund,” the department said.
A spokesman for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said it was in consultation with the government and the private sector.
“The UAE government will continue to support its business environment through the formation of an Industry Advisory Committee (IAAC), to advise the government on policies and initiatives to foster the growth of the UAE business community,” the spokesman said.
According the Department website, the UAE has the third highest number of offshore companies per capita in the world, behind the United Kingdom and the Netherlands.
“A lot of the companies in this category are not registered in the jurisdiction and operate with little to no government oversight.
This may be why some of them operate outside the UAE,” the spokesperson said.
The government does not disclose the names of companies registered in offshore jurisdictions.