Oman to Implement Mandatory Health Insurance

Following from the initial announcement of the health insurance for employees mandate in 2018, a new Resolution has been released highlighting a scheme implementing mandatory employee health coverage in the Sultanate of Oman, private sector employers will be required by law to provide medical coverage to their employees.

The Unified Health Insurance Policy (UHIP) must cover compulsory minimum benefits in accordance to the provisions outlined in Resolution No 34 of 2019 for ‘The Issue of Unified Healthcare Insurance Policy Form’; details on basic benefits and optional benefits have been detailed. This Resolution was released by the Capital Markets Authority (CMA) on 24th March 2019 with the condition of immediate implementation. Certain requirements have been determined with regards to healthcare providers and insurers, which include:

  • All Health Insurance Claim Management systems of the Providers must be compatible with the electronic claims system
  • Medical Consultations will be free of charge only if prior referral from a licensed physician has been arranged.
  • Healthcare providers must seek prior approvals for any inpatient or outpatient treatments where the cost exceeds QR 100 (excluding emergency situations; in emergency situations treatment must begin immediately)
  • Healthcare providers must complete all the information in the online application to obtain approval and the insurer must respond within 30 minutes (if the insurer doesn’t reply in this timeframe, this will be seen as an automatic approval)
  • For any outside the network claims (reimbursement), the insured party must make the claim within 120 days of treatment
  • In the instance when an insurer rejects a claim, the insurer must provide the insured party a written statement of rejection within 10 days.

Other important information about Unified Health Insurance Policy (UHIP) includes:

  • UHIP will cover 2 million workers in the private sector in addition to visitors to Oman, including the dependants of the employee.
  • UHIP will provide minimum health coverage including inpatient and out patient treatments, emergency coverage and costs of medicine.
  • The employers is responsible to cover the insurance cost whereas the employee has the right to upgrade coverage on their own expense, if required.
  • The expenditure limit for inpatient treatments is OMR 3,000
  • The expenditure limit for outpatient treatments is OMR 500

Insurance providers in the Middle East are prepared to handle the large influx of new policies due to experiences with the UAE and Saudi Arabia when a similar mandate was instigated, therefore, it is predicted that this implementation will be streamline. It is important that you review the basic coverage inclusions highlighted in the Resolution to determine if the mandatory medical insurance has the coverage you require. To review the full Resolution No 34 of 2019 for ‘The Issue of Unified Healthcare Insurance Policy Form’, please visit https://www.cma.gov.om/

PRO Partner Group provides foreign businesses with a complete company formation solution, we cover all legalities involved in establishing and maintaining a commercial entity in Oman and the UAE. For more information on health care requirements for your business, please contact Natalia Shutilo on natalia@propartnergroup.com.


All You Need to Know About UAE Freelance Permits

Freelancing has become increasingly popular in the UAE, and thankfully Freelance Permits are now available in many Free Zones based in Dubai, Ras Al Khaimah and Abu Dhabi. These permits allow for specialised individuals in the media, technology and education sectors to offer their services on a consultancy basis, even if they have a full time job – this initiative has become legalised (with the correct permit) by the UAE to boost diverse skills into the local market. Freelancer Permits can be obtained from Twofour54, Dubai Media City (DMC), Dubai Knowledge Park (DKP), Dubai Internet City (DIC), Dubai Development Authority (DDA) and Ras Al Khaimah Economic Free Zone Authority (RAKEZ).

Currently, individuals based in the following sectors can apply for a permit, these include:

  • Media: Actors, journalists, film directors, editors, photographers, writers, animators, artist, audio/sound engineer, brand consultant, cameraman, choreographers, commentators, composers, content provider, copywriters, creative directors, critics, events planners, designers, journalists, lighting specialists, market analysts, marketing specialists, musicians, PR specialists, print media specialists, social media specialists, social media influencers, translators, stylists, web developers/designers plus other more specified roles within the above mentioned specialties.
  • Technology: Web/mobile/software development and architecture, IT and telecommunication networking, data science and analytics, customer service
  • Education: Educational advisor, eLearning advisor, executive coach, researcher, trainer

Below, we answer many questions raised by individuals looking at obtaining a freelancer permit in the UAE:

Question: Can I obtain a freelancer permit if I am employed somewhere else?
In specific Free Zones, this is not an issue. However, a NOC must be provided by your current sponsor/ employer. However, in some Free Zones, it is a mandatory requirement to obtain a visa from that Authority.

Question: If I hold a freelancer permit can I work from home or at the premises of a company I have a contract with?
Yes, you will be working as an independent supplier; therefore, if you have an agreement with a particular company, you are permitted to conduct business from their office.

Question: Will I have to be audited?
This is not currently required; however it is highly advisable to keep accounts.

Question: Do I need to register for VAT?
If you are making between AED 187,500 and AED 375,000 annually, then you should register for VAT. If you make any amount over AED 375,000, it is a mandatory requirement.

Question: Do I need a company bank account?
No, you will not have a trading name; all payments will be made to your bank account.

Question: Can I register a trading name or do I conduct business under my name?
You cannot use a trading name; the permit is issued to you as an individual in your name.

Question: Can I hire employees?
No, you cannot hire employees on a freelance permit, but you can sponsor your dependents.

Question: Can the permit holder apply for a UAE residence visa?
Yes, you can apply for an employment visa once the freelancer permit and establishment card are issued. Certain entities require medical insurance to be able to process visas.

Question: Are there any office space options for permit holders?
There are options of flexi-desks and workstations located in the Free Zone’s permitted for use by freelance permit holders; some locations also offer meeting facilities.

Question: Am I eligible for a freelance permit? What are the requirements?
Only individuals with the appropriate credentials or certificates relating to the allowed activities are permitted to apply for the permit. To apply, you must have the following:

  • Resume
  • Passport Copy
  • Visa Copy (if you have one)
  • Bank Reference Letter (this can be from either your local or international bank)
  • Sponsor/Employer NOC (if you currently have a work permit and a residency visa)
  • Portfolio – PDF or online link (for media related activities)
  • Credentials and Certificates (for related educational activities)
  • Other documentation may be required dependent on the Free Zone

Question: How long does the application process take?

  • Permit Application and Issuance: 7 to 14 business days (once all documents have been approved and required document signed)
  • Visa Application: 14 to 21 business days (after permit issuance)

PRO Partner Group can assist you with applications for Freelance Permits and talk you though all set up options. For more information, contact PRO Partner Group on info@propartnergroup.com and one of our business set up experts aid you in your requirements.


IFZA Free Zone – International Free Zone Authority (IFZA)

IFZA Free Zone – Fujairah

The Benefits of Setting Up in International Free Zone Authority (IFZA) Fujairah.

Situated in Fujairah, IFZA is well on track to become a leading investment hub for both international and local business owners. IFZA has become increasingly popular as of late offering one of the most competitively priced Free Zones in the country. IFZA offers tailored solutions for each prospective business while incorporating service standards on an international level ensuring that each client has the best set up and after care services possible.

IFZA strives to become an environmentally conscious Free Zone Authority and operates responsibly regarding carbon footprints to pose a minimal detrimental impact on the environment. To do this, IFZA is currently focusing on five initiatives, including:

  1. Use of wind energy
  2. Use of solar energy
  3. Effective insulation of buildings
  4. Introduction of a paperless system
  5. Only using suppliers with a well-established carbon footprint

Located close to the Port of Fujairah and Fujairah International Airport, IFZA is the perfect solution for companies looking to import and export with ease. Logistics and trading companies can take advantage of this Free Zone, with modern facilities and a community-like environment based on international standards.

Some of the key benefits that IFZA offers include:

  • Quick registration and license issuance (as short as 48 hours)
  • Ability to incorporate holding companies
  • No physical office requirements
  • LLC licenses (not FZ, FZE or FZC)
  • A wide range of Business Activities (General Trading, Trading, Industrial, Holding, Service, Consultancy Services etc.)
  • Very competitive prices and refund policy of up to 80% (on rejected licenses)
  • No NOC or shareholder physical presence required
  • 100% foreign ownership
  • 100% exemption from corporate and income taxes
  • Zero foreign currency restrictions
  • 100% repatriation of company profits and capital

IFZA offers a multitude of license options that can service both local and international businesses:

  • Consultancy License: Providing consultancy services to business professionals across all industries.
  • Service License: Production, re-production, transformation and distribution of services.
  • Trading License: Allows for the import, export, distribution and storage of items specified on the license.
  • General Trading License: Under this license, the company can trade a wide range of commodities permitted within the UAE.
  • Industrial License: The import of raw materials followed by production, re-production, manufacture and packaging of products and finally export.
  • Holding License: Allowing for the holding of assets and shares in other entities, this includes (but not limited to) property, stocks, trademarks, patents and assets.

IFZA offers a range of commercial space options, which are flexible for license holders (some projects are still under construction):

  • Offices: A wide range of contemporary, high-tech office solutions which are specifically tailored to each license holders requirements including; shared office space, private offices and executive offices.
  • Warehouses: There are numerous warehouse facilities in various sizes available, which are built incorporating international logistics standards.
  • Residential Apartments: Elegant residential apartments will be available with the goal of offering a tranquil living environment.
  • Hotel: A renowned 5 star hotel brand will operate the hotel, the central oasis of the IFZA community.
  • Retail: Several spacious retail units will be available for rent and will be operated by a select number of high-class brands.

IFZA have not only set up a unique Free Zone Entity with many benefits, but they are striving to build a fully incorporated community with an emphasis on eco-sensitive living. There are many license options available from IFZA at very affordable rates, contact us on info@propartnergroup.com or +971 (0)4 456 1761 to learn more about setting up with IFZA. PRO Partner Group (ISO 9001:2015 accredited and TRACE certified) will provide you with guaranteed best practice advice and assistance to suit your proposed business set up.


UAE Long Term Visas – Requirements and Eligibility Update

To further boost the UAE’s position as a primary destination for both local and international investors, a new system of entry visas for investors and professionals was announced in late 2018. Doctors, among other specialists in medical, scientific, research, technical fields, as well as top students studying in the UAE and investors/entrepreneurs, will now be granted with a long-term visa for 5 or 10 years. The new law focuses on doctors, investors and other specialised professionals as the UAE strives to attract intellects to the country and provides these individuals with a unique and comprehensive value-added platform.

In March 2019, the UAE Government released more in depth information on the requirements and eligibility of long-term visas:

5 Year Visa Requirements and Eligibility (to those without sponsors):

  • Investors who have invested in a property in the UAE, the property must have a gross value of AED 5 million or above. Also, the amount invested must not be on a mortgage basis, this is for cash buyers only, and the property must be owned for a minimum of 3 years.
  • Entrepreneurs who have an existing project with a minimum capital of AED 500,000 or for those who have an accredited business incubator in the UAE approved. These individuals would be provided with a multi-entry six month visa which is renewable for a further six months while under the application. The spouse, children, a partner and three executives would be included in this long-term visa.

10 Year Visa Requirements and Eligibility (to those without sponsors):

  • Investors with public investments of at least AED 10 million. The investment can include the following:
    • A deposit of AED 10 million in an investment fund within the UAE
    • Establishing a company in the UAE with a capital of AED 10 million or above
    • Partnering with an existing UAE company or setting up a new UAE company with a share value of AED 10 million or above
    • Having a total investment of AED 10 million or above in areas mentioned above, as long as the investment (in sectors other than real estate) is not less than 60% of the total investment
  • There will be conditions regarding the eligibility of long term visas for investors, including:
    • The amount invested must not be loaned
    • The investment must be retained for a minimum of 3 years
    • There should be financial solvency of up to AED 10 million
    • Visas can be extended to include business partners, but each partner must contribute AED 10 million or above
    • The long term visa can include the spouse and children in addition to one Executive Director and one Advisor
  • Also eligible are individuals with specialised talents, including; researchers and skills in the fields of science and knowledge such as doctors, scientists, inventors, specialists and creative persons within culture and art. The visa is extended to the spouse and children. However, the applicant must have a valid employment contract within a specialised field. There are extensive conditions for this form of long term visa.

The UAE offers an unparalleled lifestyle of quality with high-class accommodation, excellent educational and health institutions, world-class shopping facilities, abundant leisure facilities and most importantly is a tax-free city. The UAE’s open environment, tolerant values, infrastructure and flexible legislation constantly attract global investment and exceptional talents to the country, and this announcement further boosts this.

PRO Partner Group can assist you with any questions or applications of long term visas. For more information, please email info@propartnergroup.com.

Limited and Unlimited UAE Employment Contracts

What contract you should use for your employees?

Limited and Unlimited UAE Employment Contracts

One of the most common HR questions raised by our clients is related to UAE employment contracts, specifically the difference between a limited and an unlimited contract. We will share with you an overview of the main differences between a limited and an unlimited contract in accordance with the UAE Federal Law No. 8 of 1980, Labour Law.

What is a limited contract?
Under the Labour Law, Article 38;

  • The duration of a limited contract may not exceed four years.
  • The contract may be renewed by mutual agreement of the employer and employee
  • Should the contract be renewed, the new term shall be deemed an extension of the original term and shall be added to the calculation of the total service period of the employee.
  • Where the contract is not renewed it automatically cancels when it expires.

What is an unlimited contract?
Under the Labour Law, Article 39; an employment contract is considered an unlimited contract if it is concluded for an undetermined term. Simply put, an unlimited employment contract is one without a defined expiry date.

Termination of a limited contract
Where an employer terminates an employee for reasons other than that stated in Article 120 of the UAE Labour Law the employer is required to compensate the employee three months of gross salary, or for the remaining contract period; whichever is less. Should the employee wish to terminate the contract for reasons other than stated in Article 121 of the UAE Labour Law the employee is liable to pay 6 weeks of gross salary to the employer or for the remaining contract period; whichever is less.

Termination of an unlimited contract
The contract may be terminated by either the employer or employee on condition that the contractual notice period is given, usually defined as 30 days. The employer may terminate an unlimited contract without notice should the employee violate Article 120 of the UAE Labour Law. The employee may terminate the contract without notice if the employer fails to fill his obligations as stated in Article 121 of the UAE Labour Law.

To conclude, limited contracts can be useful for employers for project-based work with specific timelines. However, due to the inflexibility of limited contracts for termination purposes, unlimited contracts are more commonly used in the UAE as they are deemed to be more flexible and user friendly for both the employer and the employee.

*Please note the above information serves as a guide and not as legal fact. For further information and full coverage of UAE Labour Law visit – UAE Labour Law

PRO Partner group is one of the region’s leading business formation and company support providers, we facilitate all the procedures and legalities involved in establishing and maintaining a commercial entity in the UAE, Oman and Qatar; from start to finish. For more information contact us on +971 (0)4 456 17 61, email: info@propartnergroup.com