x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Help the hosts before you help the guests

There are thousands of UAE nationals who are unemployed, unable to afford housing and hopelessly indebted with no options open to them.

The UAE is one of the largest markets in the world for luxury items. One reader argues that people should devote their resources to helping those who truly are in need instead of buying frivolous goods.
The UAE is one of the largest markets in the world for luxury items. One reader argues that people should devote their resources to helping those who truly are in need instead of buying frivolous goods.

On one hand, I agree with the current situation on the ground described by Taryam al Subaihi, Is this hospitality? Look at where our guests are living (February 14). On the other hand, I think the suffering of the natural inhabitants of this country, the nationals, needs to get more attention in the media, especially when it comes to housing. There are thousands of UAE nationals who are unemployed, unable to afford housing and hopelessly indebted with no options open to them. You can't expect guests to take priority over the house's inhabitants. I'd like this false image of all Emiratis being wealthy to be dispelled. BuAhmed al Hashimi, Abu Dhabi

Both Mishaal al Gergawi and Sultan Al Qassimi are demonstrating courage in endorsing the right of long-term expats for permanent residency in the UAE, Some long-term residents should have residency (February 14). Sadly, Mr Al Qassimi's piece falls into the cliché when he reduces the reason for keeping retiring expats in the country to their economic value. I think Sultan Al Qassimi makes a very good point here. Many expatriates wish to own property in the UAE. It is affordable now. But having no surety of remaining here after their employment contract is over, they don't want to take a chance. If they decide to leave the UAE and settle down elsewhere they can never come back to live in the property they own. Long term residencies based on property ownership and good conduct will provide courage to invest in the property sector here. I think this is good for the economy also, since more people will buy property with a long-term perspective. Keeping speculators out of the market is healthy for the nation's long-term prospects, and as a consequence more people will remain in the UAE and spend their money here instead of taking it elsewhere. Residency should be granted once a mortgage application is successful. This will go a long way in easing a lot of apprehensions about property ownership. John Davy, Abu Dhabi I truly appreciate this article and these thoughts. I met my wife in the UAE. We have a wonderful life here. Our worry is that we will have to leave the UAE at some point, but we are not sure where we would go. We are not from the same country and neither one of us wants to return "home", because Dubai has been our home for more than 10 years. Our countries of birth are not our "home" anymore. We have invested in properties and invested in the local stock market. The UAE has been very good to us, both financially and personally. We would like to stay in the UAE through retirement and continue spending our money here while enjoying all the UAE provides. We thought buying property would provide a residency visa and this opportunity, but who knows if these visas will ever be provided. Hopefully, the government will see the benefits of providing options for keeping long time expats in the UAE even once our working years are over. Lee Wynne, Dubai

Can anything be done to help Paul and Rachel Chandler, the British couple who have been held to ransom by Somali pirates since October? Speaking as one who loves sailing I feel particularly concerned and would like to remind your readers of the plight of these people. This retired couple were sailing in the Indian Ocean, in pursuit of their retirement dream, when they were overtaken by this dreadful fate. They are now held separately, and Rachel Chandler is reportedly ill. Can the British government be persuaded to change its inflexible policy of not paying ransoms? Can local governments or people who may have business links in Somalia give any help? D N Poultney, Abu Dhabi

I hope that this crisis helps people to re-evaluate their priorities and think more carefully before indulging in unnecessary luxuries, Buyers sitting pretty in luxury market (February 14), especially at a time when others in the world are suffering from a lack of basic necessities such as food, clean water and medical care. Yasmin Salih, Abu Dhabi