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Frequently asked
questions

FAQ Topics

COVID-19

PRO Partner Group’s clients have raised some very important and frequently asked questions at this time as business are trying to balance the interests of their employees against ensuring the continuity of their business.

As a starting point, there are limited legal mechanisms in the UAE (and globally) to dealing with many of the employment issues arising from the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, the general advice is largely untested, based on general practice in the market and speculation as to the position UAE labour courts are likely to take in the event of a dispute. Our guidance on these matters comes from leading law firms and our practical knowledge arising from our business services.

Are companies still obliged to pay staff if they are unable to attend work?

The answer depends on the reason for the employee’s inability to work. If the employee is unable to return to work in the UAE because of the UAE government’s order preventing the return of UAE residents, the first question will be whether the employees are able to continue working remotely from abroad?

If the nature of their role means that they have to be physically present on site, then remote working options may not be available. Nevertheless, it would be potentially important to show that the company has taken steps to consider remote working options in advance of taking any other action including stopping salary payments. Alternate options therefore to consider are:

  1. reducing working hours;
  2. redeploying staff;
  3. reducing salary; or
  4. requiring employees take any remaining annual leave entitlements in advance – this may also extend to annual leave entitlements for the subsequent working year (2021).

The general position is that if an employee can work remotely, then this period would be paid. If an employee cannot work remotely and cannot gain entry to the UAE, then employers may place them on unpaid leave. For specific legal advice on this subject, we recommend you consult an employment lawyer in the UAE.

If employees have used all of their annual leave entitlements and are unable to take further leave other than without pay how does this work under WPS reporting requirements?

Unpaid leave or other changes to employment arrangements which result in a reduction or suspension of salary payments to an employee may raise issues with the UAE Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MOHRE) Wage Protection Scheme (WPS). In particular, failure to pay employees who have agreed to unpaid leave may trigger a WPS block resulting in penalties and an inability for the company to continue to employ staff.

From our recent discussions with the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MOHRE), submitting a copy of the agreement in Arabic between the employer and the employee for the implementation of unpaid leave may prevent or lift a WPS block. In the current climate, it is likely that the MOHRE will be sympathetic to companies who have negotiated unpaid leave with employees in accordance with the prevailing interpretation of the UAE Labour Law and be willing to lift or not impose a WPS block.

PRO Partner Group are keeping all clients updated as we receive further information in relation to the WPS.

In relation to unpaid leave arrangements, the advice from leading law firms is that there is no legal mechanism for unpaid leave. Therefore, an employer cannot unilaterally impose unpaid leave on an employee but they can request and seek the agreement of an employee to move to an unpaid leave arrangement. Companies are recommended to seek an agreement with an employee on a voluntary basis and ensure that there is no undue pressure or influence in the process of reaching an agreement. Furthermore, any agreement reached between an employer and an employee should be clearly documented and be unambiguous in its terms. In particular, we recommend that the agreement clearly sets out:

  1. the reasons for the request for unpaid leave;
  2. when unpaid leave will take effect;
  3. circumstances when unpaid leave will not apply;
  4. when the employee will return to normal paid employment; and
  5. expectations for the employee and employer during the period of unpaid leave.
What happens if a staff members employment contracts end during the restrictions (lockdown) period) ?

The question here is referring to ‘limited employment contracts’ as opposed to ‘unlimited employment contracts’. If employees are under ‘limited employment contracts’ then such contract will terminate at the end of the term unless terminated earlier by either party or renewed by both parties. If the company wishes to continue the employment arrangement with the employees outside of the UAE, an option may be to renew their existing employment contract which can be done online and remotely. However, at present there is no mechanism to renew the UAE residency visa while the individual is outside the UAE. Therefore, when employees are able to return to the UAE, they may be unable to use their UAE residency visa (depending on the expiry date of the visa) and rather may need to enter on another category of visa such as a tourist visa.

Has the government issued any guidance on how these and other employee issues are to be handled during the current circumstances?

To address the uncertainty surrounding the effects of COVID-19 on the domestic employment market, the MOHRE has issued Ministerial Resolution No. 279 of 2020 on Employment Stability in the Private Sector (the “Resolution”).

The Resolution details steps that businesses/employers can take to modify existing employment arrangements in the interests of preserving business viability.

Key points from the Resolution;

  1. The Resolution applies to all establishments registered with MOHRE and to all non-national workers (expats);
  2. The options available to businesses affected by the precautionary measures imposed to control the spread of COVID-19 and who wish to reorganised their employee arrangements on a mutually agreed basis are itemised;
  3. Employers are able to register surplus labour to the Virtual Labour Market; and
  4. The process needed to temporarily or permanently reduce salaries for employees is clarified.

It should be noted that any temporary reduction of salary adopted in accordance with the Resolution will only be valid for the duration expressed in the written agreement between the employer and employee or the validity period of the Resolution, whichever is earlier.

Measures to implement aspects of the Resolution have not yet been put in place. PRO Partner Group will continue to monitor the situation and provide clients with any updates as and when they become available.

How can I Notarise documents in the UAE during the COVID19

In spite of the temporary closure of many UAE Government offices during the National Sterilization Drive, the essential functions of the UAE Courts, including Notary Public services, are still available. Documents are required to be uploaded or shared by email with the Judicial Department of the relevant Emirate, for review and approval or rejection with comment. Upon approval, the Notary will schedule a video conference with the signatories, who are required to present their identification and may be asked basic questions to gauge their knowledge of the document. Once the identification has been approved and the conference concluded, the stamped, legalized document will be delivered to the chosen address within 48 hours.

Can we issue mission visas with the ongoing travel restrictions in the UAE?

Mission visas are for applicants outside the country and since 17th March 2030, the ICA and UAE Immigration has suspended all visa applications for individuals outside the country. We expect the restrictions to relax soon that will allow us to start UAE resident and work visa applications for individuals outside the country again. 

Please contact us for more information and updates on UAE Immigration, government liaison and PRO matters on +971 (0)4 456 1761 for Dubai or +971 (0)2 448 5120 for Abu Dhabi, email us at info@ppg.ae or complete the contact form below and we will be delighted to assist you.

Can I still travel back to the UAE if I have been outside the country for more than 180 days?

With travel restrictions in place due to Covid-19, if a residence visa holder is outside of UAE and have crossed their 180 days mark then, with the current circumstances, their visa will not be cancelled and they will be allowed to travel back to the UAE on the extended visa.

Can I still open a company in the UAE at the moment?

Yes. All steps required to incorporate a new entity either on the mainland or in a Free Zone in the UAE can still be completed. Notarisation of documents can now be done over video conferencing and most other processes can be completed online.

At present, we are seeing reduced costs to assist and encourage new companies to setup and businesses to expand in the UAE.

Can I still renew my residence visa even its validity is extended? How about my labour card?

If an individual does have an extended visa validity, then he has an option to proceed with the following:

Option 1: Take advantage the extended validity of the residence visa and have it renewed prior to the new or extended visa validity date.

Option 2: Proceed with the visa renewal, if opted. The advantage of renewing the visa during this time is that the renewal can be completed without undertaking the medical test as precautionary measure respond of UAE government to COVID 19. The renewed visa will be stamped in the passport.

The Ministry of Human Resources & Emiratisation (MOHRE) does not extend the validity of the labour card. We do recommend to renew the labour card prior to its expiry date to avoid penalty from the ministry.

Do I have the right not to return to work once restrictive measures are lifted

Some employees may refuse to return to work in the physical office premises until there is a cure for COVID-19 or COVID-19 is eradicated in the UAE. The legal position in the UAE is that the employer decides how and where work is to be performed. If the employer prefers employees to be present in the physical office premises then strictly, the employee should follow the preference of the employer. The employer should ensure that the workplace complies with the social distancing regulations and any other applicable health and safety requirements of the UAE government. The employer should also consider:

  • whether the employee can do the same job remotely and if so whether some flexibility can be extended to the employee; and
  • specific health concerns, vulnerability of the employee.

Communication between an employer and employee as to the optimum working conditions having regard to the interests, nature of work, rights and obligations of each party are important to avoid a dispute arising for breach of the employers general duty to provide a safe environment for their employees to work.

Can my employer insist on my return to the office as the covid19 restrictions are relaxed?

Our in-house Legal Advisor, Hermione Harrison provides some recommendations on returning to work as the Covid-19 restrictions are eased

As the UAE slowly returns to work, some employees may be reluctant to return to the physical office until there is a vaccine for Covid-19. The advice from leading law firms is that in the UAE, an employer decides how and where work is to be performed.

Before imposing a return to work plan on an employee, an employer should consider whether:

  1. the employee can continue do the same job remotely; and
  2. the employee is in a category of vulnerable people making the risk of returning to the physical office greater.

For any employees returning to the physical office, an employer should ensure that the workplace complies with applicable health and safety requirements of the UAE government.

Communication as to the optimum working conditions having regard to the interests, nature of work, rights and obligations of each party are important to avoid a dispute arising and to promote a healthy work environment.

For HR assistance please visit our website www.propartnergroup.com, email us at info@ppg.ae or call us on +971(0)44561761 for Dubai or +971(0)24485120 for Abu Dhabi.

Is it possible to apply at this time for mission visas?

No – all outside country applications for mission visas, employment visas and dependant visas are currently suspended due to the restrictions in place.

It is also not currently possible to apply for a mission visa if the applicant is inside the UAE.

Employment visas and dependant visas, however, can be applied if the applicant is inside the UAE as normal.

For further information and updates on the status of Mission Visas any other related company, staff and visa matters in the UAE do get in touch with us on +971 (0)4 456 1761 for Dubai or +971 (0)2 448 5120 for Abu Dhabi, email us at info@ppg.ae or complete the contact form below and we will be delighted to assist you. applicant is inside the UAE. Employment visas and dependant visas, however, can be applied if the applicant is inside the UAE.

General
Where do I start if I want to set up a business in the UAE?

We recommend that you create a business plan to understand your company requirements and you will need to answer key questions that will guide you on the ideal location for the business (e.g. Freezone or Mainland, Abu Dhabi or Dubai) and the type of business structure best suited for your business. Key questions include: Will your company be trading / selling goods or providing services? Is your activity or product regulated by a government authority? Who is your target market and where are your clients based? Where will you likely be located? Do you wish to deal with government or semi government organisations? How many staff will you require? What is your timeline? All these questions are essential to understanding how to help you.

What type of company entity would be suited to my business?

Depending on your business activity, one of the following licences from the 3 main categories would be required: Professional, Commercial or Industrial licences. Dependant on the type of licence required, the type of entity can be determined, these include; Limited Liability Company (LLC), Foreign/Local Branch, Sole Establishment or Civil Partnership.

Which emirate of the UAE should I set my company up in?

There a 7 Emirates making up the UAE; Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ras Al Khamiah, Fujairah, Ajman & Umm Al Quwain. To determine which emirate is best to set up in, you should consider the following:

  • - Where are your clients based?
  • - Are you dealing with private or government entities?
  • - Where do you want to live?
  • - What are the rental costs?

Depending on your business activities and prospective clients will go a long way to decide which DED licence is required. Deciphering what your business activities &/or prospective clients will be is extremely important to decide which emirate to set up in, for example, to obtain an ADNOC/SPC approval, an Abu Dhabi Mainland trade licence is mandatory.

What is the difference between a Free Zone and Mainland Company in the UAE?

Mainland Company:

A mainland establishment is an onshore setup, licensed by the Department of Economic Development (DED). An onshore establishment is permitted to conduct business in the local market as well as outside the UAE, without any restrictions.

Free Zone Company:

A Free Zone business is incorporated within a designated jurisdiction of a certain emirate where the company is only allowed to conduct business inside the same Free Zone or outside of the UAE. For commercial trade licences and trading of physical goods, the Free Zone company cannot conduct local mainland UAE business directly. For Freezone companies to trade with the UAE mainland they must do so through a mainland distributor or agent and by must pay 5% import duty on local invoices. A Free Zone business cannot work legally outside of its designated jurisdiction.

Can a foreigner own 100% of a company in the UAE?

There are multiple ways that a foreign party can own 100% of a business. The numerous Free Zones throughout the Emirates allow for 100% ownership of businesses of varying sizes and across multiple industry sectors. However, it is important to note that there are restrictions in terms of who you may contract with when operating from a Free Zone entity. Throughout Mainland UAE it is possible for Foreign Nationals or Companies to wholly own businesses which provide professional and consultancy services – this can be done as an individual through a 100% owned Establishment, or as a Company as a 100% owned Foreign Branch. It is not permitted to trade goods within UAE mainland, using a 100% Foreign-owned company.

How do I obtain a CICPA Pass for Vehicles?

If the work that you are undertaking in a CICPA zone requires vehicles for transport or work (e.g. excavation diggers, cranes, trucks, buses – including boats and marine vehicles) then you must obtain a CICPA pass for those vehicles.

The CICPA pass is obtained for a vehicle in the same way that a CICPA pass is obtained for an individual person, the following basic steps:

  1. You must obtain a Letter of Authorisation (LOA) from ADNOC
  2. Within this LOA it must be stated what vehicle types are needed to carry out the work in the CICPA area, how many vehicles and for what duration
  3. Once the LOA has been granted it will stipulate how many staff and what vehicles you may apply for to obtain CICPA passes
  4. To obtain a CICPA pass for a vehicle, the vehicle must be owned by the company with the LOA
  5. If the company with the LOA leases their vehicles from a 3rd party, then this 3rd party must apply for an LOA themselves for CICPA passes for their vehicles
  6. In order for a company to obtain CICPA passes, they must be an Abu Dhabi based company with SPC (Supreme Petroleum Council) approval
  7. Once the 3rd party has obtained a LOA for their vehicles, then the vehicles may apply for CICPA passes to enter with the CICPA zones with the first company
  8. PRO Partner Group can assist you with the registration of vehicles and obtaining CICPA passes for individuals and equipment
How do I register as a vendor for ADNOC?

Firstly you must check that you can meet the correct criteria for ADNOC Registration

You will require the below:

  1.  A Mainland Abu Dhabi DED Licence. This may be in the form of an LLC or Foreign Branch.
  2. Supreme Petroleum Council (SPC) Approval.
  3. Relevant activities to the Work/Product list provided by ADNOC (they must match with your Licence activities.)

The next step is to consider the stages for registration and necessary documents required to submit to ADNOC for their review.

Stages for ADNOC Vendor Registration:

  1. Register and activate SAP Ariba Account number to provide access to ADNOC Commercial Directory.
  2. ADNOC Registration accessed via Ariba account number (all company documents and information details are required at this stage and to be submitted).
  3. 1 week for submission to be reviewed by ADNOC. If successful, ADNOC will then call to proceed to the Pre-Qualification Stage.
  4. Pre-Qualification – You will need to provide examples of projects, products, services and other threshold requirements. if accepted you will then successfully to be visible on ADNOCS Supplier list and registered as an ADNOC Vendor.

If you need assistance and advice on ADNOC Vendor Registration SPV and for further information on any other related company set up, local partner or PRO service matter in the UAE and wider Gulf do get in touch with us on +971 (0)4 456 1761 for Dubai or +971 (0)2 448 5120 for Abu Dhabi, email us at info@ppg.ae or complete the contact form below and we will be delighted to assist you.

What is the difference between a Branch office and a Rep office in UAE?

A Representative office is a branch established by the parent company which is useful in promoting a foreign company and introducing their products to UAE companies. A Representative Office cannot export, import or sell in the UAE. A Representative Office may practice only promotional business for the products and services provided by the parent company. A Branch office on the other hand can conduct business in the UAE other than for just promotional purposes.

  • Activities – A representative office does not engage in sales, services or any type of commercial activity but only promotes/markets the activities of its parent company, gathering information and soliciting orders and projects to be performed by the head office of the parent company. A Branch office , however can engage in commercial activities.
  • Sponsor/National Service Agent – Similar to a Branch, each Representative office requires a local sponsor or National Service Agent (NSA). The NSA has no equity participation or liability to the business.
  • Bank Guarantee – Also similar to a Branch, a Representative Office will require a refundable deposit bank guarantee of AED50,000 for the duration of your licence and this cannot be withdrawn or used as working capital.
Is the general manager unlimited liable for the activities of a company in the UAE?

Entities incorporated in the UAE, whether onshore or in a free zone, are required to appoint a general manger who has sole responsibility for the management and operation of the entity. In the UAE, the powers and authority of the general manager are extensive and are generally contained in the constitutional documents of the entity (for example the memorandum of association) or a power of attorney from the shareholders. UAE law imposes both civil and criminal liability on the general manger in relation to the business of the entity including for matters beyond the control of the general manager. For example, a general manager may be personally liable for a bounced cheque issued by the entity and signed by the general manager and in the event of liquidation, the management of the company will be scrutinised and if found lacking, will expose the general manager to potential personal liability for the debts of as well as potential criminal proceedings. The UAE Commercial Companies Law No. 2 of 2015 provides that a general manger will be liable towards the company, the shareholders and third parties for all acts of fraud, misuse of power, and violations of the provisions of the Commercial Companies Law or the memorandum of association of the company or for errors in management. General managers are advised to take the following steps to mitigate their potential exposure and to provide a defensive against a claim for liability: a) Ensure that they act within the scope of powers and authority contained in the memorandum of association or power of attorney. b) Ensure that there are sufficient funds in the bank account of the entity before signing cheques. c) Consider director’s liability insurance or request indemnification from the entity for actions taken in the normal course of business. d) Ensure that the entity is managed with due care and in a diligent manner and good corporate governance records are maintained to reflect this. 

Do I need a warehouse to import medical equipment into the UAE?

In order to import medical in the UAE you must obtain a mainland licence with the correct activities to allow you to import the products to UAE. You must ensure that the equipment you wish to import has been registered by the Ministry of Health and Prevention to certify the product meets the rules and regulations to import and sell in UAE. The activities related to importing medical equipment does require a warehouse as well qualified staff to handle the equipment. It is possible that you could use a registered seller in UAE to distribute to end users , in this case no warehouse or product registration is required.

What are the requirements to sponsor two maids / two domestic staff in the UAE?

With reference to hiring two maids, or two domestic staff members such as a maid and a driver, for one household in the UAE, the requirements are as follows:

  • The sponsor must have monthly salary of at least AED 20,000
  • The flat or villa must have at least 2 bedrooms, a hall and separate maids’ room, and must show sufficient space to accommodate family members as well as the domestic staff
  • The salary of each domestic staff member must be at least AED 1500 per month

Hiring of two maids or domestic staff members is subject for approval. A letter is also required from the sponsor providing reasons why they need to hire two maids and the sponsor may need to show that they have a large family with at least 4 family members to justify the requirement to hire additional staff to the household.

Please contact us for the list of required documents to process domestic staff and maids’ visas.

If you need assistance in obtaining a maid or domestic staff visa of for any other related PRO matter please contact a member of the PRO Partner Group team who will be happy to help, use the contact form below or all us on +971 (0)4 456 1761 for Dubai or +971 (0)2 448 5120 for Abu Dhabi, or email us at info@ppg.ae.

Do I need to register unpaid leave and salary reductions for my staff with UAE Ministry of Labour (MOHRE) and how do I do it?

If a company wishes to reduce a staff members salary, reduce hours (temporarily or permanently) or put the staff member on temporary unpaid leave, then this must be mutually agreed in writing by the staff member and the company. The letter agreement must be made voluntarily by the staff member.

Initially there was no mechanism to register these changes officially with Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MOHRE) – The UAE Ministry of Labour - previously this could only be done by submitting the signed letter from the employee. However following the release of the Ministerial Resolution No. 279 of 2020 to assist companies during the COVID Pandemic Click here for Resolution pdf from Thursday 30th April MOHRE are now accepting the registration of these changes to employment terms through the MOHRE system using a Temporary Supplementary Annex – click here for ANNEX pdf.

Therefore all mainland companies should submit the Temporary Supplementary Annex to MOHRE for each staff member that has agreed to modified employment arrangements, so as to prevent any blocks or fine from MOHRE that may be levied in the future - for example if WPS payments are below the required monthly threshold.

PRO Partner Group can provide support and guidance on this process to assist in obtaining the completed Annex and uploading and registering this with MORHE to ensure compliance.

What are UAE economic substance regulations?

Economic Substance Regulations (ESR) were introduced in April 2019 pursuant to Cabinet Resolution No. 31 of 2019 in order to prevent companies from establishing themselves in the UAE for the purposes of channelling payments which would otherwise be taxable abroad, and has successfully lead to the removal of the UAE from the EU tax haven blacklist. The ESR applies to all entities (including branches and representative offices) incorporated in the UAE (including free zones) and to financial years starting on or after 1 January 2019. The ESR requires entities to conduct an analysis of their income-related activities and using resources such as the flowchart produced by the Ministry of Finance, and the ESR Relevant Activities Guide, determine whether the entity is carrying on a “Relevant Activity” as defined in the ESR and the Ministry of Finance’s summary of Relevant Activities. The outcome from an analysis of the applicability of the ESR to an entity may need to be communicated by way of notification and submission of a report to the applicable authority designated with the responsibility to regulate and administer the ESR (such as the Ministry of Economy for most onshore entities and the free zone authorities for entities located in the UAE free zones).

Do I have to move my employee visa if I want to set up a company in the UAE?

If you are looking to set up a company and if you will be mentioned as a shareholder or manager on the DED Trade Licence of the new LLC then you will need to obtain an No Objection Certificate (NOC) from your current employer, to make sure they have no objection to you doing so. It is not always required for you to move your visa across from the Employee Visa to an Investor Visa at the new company, and certain variables apply here. Please contact a member of the PRO Partner Group team for more information and assistance on this query.

If you need assistance on the investor visa process, NOC letter or any other related company set up, restructuring or local partner matters do get in touch with us on +971 (0)4 456 1761 for Dubai or +971 (0)2 448 5120 for Abu Dhabi, email us at info@ppg.ae or complete the contact form below and we will be delighted to assist you.

Do I need an EID to sign a Tawtheeq or lease agreement in AD?

To obtain a commercial lease and Tawtheeq in Abu Dhabi the individual signing on behalf of the company will need a UAE Resident Visa, Emirates ID Card (EID) and a Power of Attorney (POA) over the company to sign the Tawtheeq. Tawtheeq Is then registered with the Abu Dhabi Municipality.

If you need assistance on processing a Tawtheeq document in Abu Dhabi or any other related company set up, restructuring or local partner matters do get in touch with us on +971 (0)4 456 1761 for Dubai or +971 (0)2 448 5120 for Abu Dhabi, email us at info@ppg.ae or complete the contact form below and we will be delighted to assist you.

How do I change General Manager for a LLC or Foreign Branch in UAE mainland?

When deciding to change manager for a LLC the first step is always to consult the constitutional documents of the company – the details in the MOA (Memorandum of Association) for the LLC will identify the path which must be followed and who holds responsibility for replacement and appointment of the successor GM.

If the foreign party in a LLC is a corporate entity then the first step will be for the overseas Shareholder to issue a Resolution accepting the removal of the present GM and authorising their replacement. This document should contain, or should be accompanied by a document which contains, the powers of the new GM. This document is also required in the case of a Foreign Branch.

Once this document has been legalised for use in UAE steps must be taken to update the records of the relevant UAE authorities; Notary Public (typically by an amendment to MOA) and DED in the case of a LLC, and DED and MOE in case of a Foreign Branch.

On occasion there may be a requirement to inform another body such as Dubai Municipality, KHDA, HAAD etc (this will depend on your company activities); as well as to inform your company bank to update them. To ensure these step are not overlooked we would recommend consulting with a professional firm who can assist with the process.

If you need assistance with document preparation and notarisation in Dubai or Abu Dhabi, or any other related company set up, restructuring, local partner or PRO support matter and any advice on the procedure to replace the General Manager for a LLC or Foreign Branch in UAE then please do get in touch with us on +971 (0)4 456 1761 for Dubai or +971 (0)2 448 5120 for Abu Dhabi, email us at info@ppg.ae or complete the contact form below and we will be delighted to assist you.

Mainland
How much does it cost to set up a mainland company in the UAE?

The costs will vary depending on where you choose to establish your license. Setting up your business in a Free Zone offers key advantages such as; 100% foreign ownership, zero personal and corporate tax as well as zero import duties, complete repatriation of profits, confidentiality and control of your assets plus more.

As per UAE governed law, mainland establishments are required to have a local sponsor who will own 51% of the company’s shares and the foreign partner will own the remaining 49%. The most common form of a mainland business is a Limited Liability Company (LLC) which requires a minimum of 2 shareholders whose liability is limited to the share capital of the company shares. Just like Free Zone companies, the cost of setting up a mainland business depends upon various factors, including; business activity, number of employees and commercial space.

Why do I need a UAE local partner? What are my options?

As per UAE law, if you wish to set up onshore, you will require a local partner. PRO Partner Group can act as a corporate nominee shareholder in the case of setting up as an LLC, or a corporate national service agent (NSA) in the case of Foreign Branch or Establishment. As a corporate partner or agent we provide full security and effective ownership and management rights to the foreign party.

What are the office requirements for a mainland company?

A commercial lease agreement is a requirement to incorporate and operate a trade license under the Dubai Department of Economic Development (DED) as well as an Ejari (Dubai) or Tawtheeq (Abu Dhabi) – the municipality lease agreement. This is normally required as part of the company set up process in order to obtain your DED Trade licence (there are some licences that allow companies to set up without a lease). Specific regulations regarding minimum size, location, and suitability apply - for example in Dubai the minimum office size is of approximately 200 sq. ft. for Office Spaces, Business Centres, and Shops and 500sq.ft. for a warehouse, In Abu Dhabi the requirement in 14 sqm. The office must have an external door, correct signage is will be inspected by DED before the trade licence is issued.

Can I use an ADGM Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) as a shareholder for a UAE mainland company?

An ADGM SPV is a well recognised corporate entity often used as a Holding company – it can be used to hold assets, shares, IP, as well as to secure positions and share risk amongst individual and companies. An SPV is not an operational company and cannot invoice for operational business activity.

The ADGM SPV can as such hold shares in mainland UAE LLLCs for example. Depending on who the Ultimate Beneficiary Owner (UBO) of the ADGM SPV will determine the shareholder percentage that is possible in the mainland LLC.

Under UAE Commercial Companies law 51% of shares in a mainland LLC have to be held by a UAE National or UAE Company, unless under special circumstances.

If the UBO of the ADGM SPV is a foreign shareholder, then a maximum of 49% of the shares in an mainland UAE can be held.

The main advantages of using an ADGM SPV are:

  • There is no limitation on number of shareholders
  • Avoiding declaration to the DED who the Ultimate Beneficiary owner is. This means that if this shareholder has a current job in UAE then no NOC is required
  • ADGM uses 100% English Common Law. In case of disputes this is reassuring that English law will be the precedent.
  • Adds a layer of protection to the LLC. Side agreements use ADGM court jurisdiction and a share pledge can be registered in ADGM
  • Relatively inexpensive – no extra office is required and attestation of documents is not required
  • Protects the UBOs from the LLC activity
Can I outsource my PRO services in UAE (Dubai, Abu Dhabi and/or Northern Emirates)?

Yes - outsourcing to a trusted PRO Service Company with experience and extensive knowledge across the UAE to handle the legal obligations of your company, is not only cost effective but means that you save time and avoid any complications or risks that can occur for example risk of fines if deadlines are not met.

You may wish to outsource PRO Services on a case by case basis, or if you have a large volume of staff, licences and transactions you may want to consider a monthly retainer to cover all your requirements.

Outsourcing PRO services to consider include:

  • Labour and Immigration Cards
  • Labour Quota applications
  • Staff Employment UAE Resident Visas
  • Investor Visas
  • Family Visas
  • Offshore & Security Passes (CICPA)
  • Emirates ID Cards
  • LLC Company and Branch formation
  • Annual Licence renewals and updates
  • Changes to Trade Licences and share transfers
  • Regulatory approvals and NOC letters
  • Notarisation / Attestation of Legal Documents
  • Liquidation and Deregistration of Companies or Branches
  • Trademark applications
  • Legal Translation and document support
  • HR services
  • WPS and Payroll services
  • POA and authorised signatory services
  • Secure Local Nominee Partner or National Service Agent Service

If you need assistance and advice on setting up and the fees to Outsource your PRO Services and for further information on any other related company set up, local partner or PRO service matter in the UAE and wider Gulf do get in touch with us on +971 (0)4 456 1761 for Dubai or +971 (0)2 448 5120 for Abu Dhabi, email us at info@ppg.ae or complete the contact form below and we will be delighted to assist you.

How do I set up a Foreign Branch office in the UAE?

Foreign companies wishing to retain 100% ownership can register a foreign branch or representative office in the UAE. Local companies are also able to set up branches within the UAE, in the same or a different Emirate. Branches can either be setup in the mainland UAE or in a UAE Free Zone. There are over 50 Free Zones in the UAE so the options are significant. The decision on where to open the branch should be based on several factors including your budget and the activity of the company; note that the activities should mirror those of the parent company. To open up a branch office in the mainland UAE you will require a National Service Agent (NSA) or Local Service Agent (LSA). PRO Partner Group can assist with the formation of your branch and can act as your NSA / LSA if required.

For more details on setting up a Foreign Branch office in the UAE, including the steps, documents and requirements please see our detailed article here:

www.propartnergroup.com/blog/2020/01/setting-up-a-branch-uae/

PRO Partner Group is available to support you though the process to set up your company or branch correctly in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and the wider UAE, Oman and Qatar. If you need assistance on this on any other related company set up, restructuring or local partner matters do get in touch with us on +971 (0)4 456 1761 for Dubai or +971 (0)2 448 5120 for Abu Dhabi, email us at info@ppg.ae or complete the contact form below and we will be delighted to assist you.

How do I set up a Representative office in the UAE?

Foreign companies wishing to retain 100% ownership can register a Representative office in the UAE. The Representative office (Rep Office) is useful in promoting a foreign company and introducing products and services to UAE companies as a non-trading ‘shop-window’. Representative offices can either be setup in the mainland UAE or in a UAE Free Zone. There are over 50 Free Zones in the UAE so the options are significant. The decision on where to open the Representative office should be based on several factors including your budget and the activity of the company; note that a Representative Office does not engage in sales, services or any type of commercial activity but only promotes/markets the activities of its parent company, gathering information and soliciting orders and projects to be performed by the head office of the parent company. To open up a Rep office in the mainland UAE you will require a National Service Agent (NSA) or Local Service Agent (LSA). PRO Partner Group can assist with the formation of your branch and can act as your NSA / LSA if required.

For more details on setting up a Representative office in the UAE, including the steps, documents and requirements please see our detailed page here:

https://www.propartnergroup.com/services/company-setup/trade-representation-office/

PRO Partner Group is available to support you though the process to set up a Representative office correctly in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and the wider UAE, Oman and Qatar. If you need assistance on this on any other related company set up, restructuring or local partner matters do get in touch with us on +971 (0)4 456 1761 for Dubai or +971 (0)2 448 5120 for Abu Dhabi, email us at info@ppg.ae or complete the contact form below and we will be delighted to assist you.

What are the risks of having a local partner in UAE?

The requirement for foreign investors to setup a mainland LLC in UAE is to have a 51% Local Shareholder. The main concern for this requirement to an investor is how much involvement the sponsor will have; it could mean that the Local Sponsor could potentially get involved in operations of the business, request a percentage of profits and possibly make it difficult for future exit of the foreign investor. Another risk to consider is who the successor would be to replace the Local Sponsor should unexpected death or early retirement occur, which could cause disruption to the business.

Key things to look out for when choosing a local partner in Dubai / Abu Dhabi / UAE?

When setting up a local company as per the UAE Companies Law and UAE Civil Law, the expatriate shareholders are required to nominate a Local Service Agent or a Local Partner (Sponsor), who must hold the majority share of 51%, when establishing a company.

The key consideration is short and long term security:

1) What are the specific requirements from the relevant governmental departments? Such as ADNOC, Dubai Municipality, DED.

2) Is your partner a true investor?

3) Is your partner an Individual or a corporate service provider?

4) What happens in the event of succession?

5) What Agreements are there? And are they valid?

6) Where is your sponsor located?

7) Exit Clauses – can you change sponsor easily in the case of a disagreement?

8) Reliability of your sponsor?

9) WPS blocks and mitigating your risk to over exposure to other firms under the same sponsorship

10) What happens if your sponsor is not available for signings?

For full considerations on whether to choose an individual or corporate sponsor please take a look at the following article I wrote on this key subject:

https://www.propartnergroup.com/blog/2019/03/company-sponsorship-in-the-uae

Does an LLC need to be financially audited in the UAE?

As per the new UAE Commercial Companies Law, Federal Law No. 2 of 2015, Article 27, every company shall appoint auditors for auditing their books of accounts by a licensed auditor registered under Ministry of Economy in the UAE.

How do I protect myself as a foreign shareholder in the UAE?

To protect their minority interests, it is advisable for foreign shareholders of LLCs to include terms addressing the following in the memorandum of association (MOA) (often the first point of reference in the event of any disagreement):

  • a list of matters which require a super majority (for example 75%) to pass as resolution effectively giving the foreign shareholder veto rights.
  • a profit share distribution regime which permits the foreign shareholder to benefit from profits exceeding the number of shares held by the foreign shareholder (while being careful not to deprive the local shareholder of the right to participate in the profits). Notaries in different Emirates will approve of different profit share distribution ratios;
  • the right of the foreign shareholder to select and appoint a general manager of the company.

Foreign shareholders should also supplement the MOA with a shareholders’ agreement which contains further provisions addressing the relationship between the shareholders and their respective rights and obligations.

Most important of all, careful selection of a local shareholder partner can provide the foreign shareholder with autonomy to carry out and operate the business of the LLC within the parameters of the law but without problematic interference. 

What is the difference between a Branch office and a Rep office in UAE?

A Representative office is a branch established by the parent company which is useful in promoting a foreign company and introducing their products to UAE companies. A Representative Office cannot export, import or sell in the UAE. A Representative Office may practice only promotional business for the products and services provided by the parent company. A Branch office on the other hand can conduct business in the UAE other than for just promotional purposes.

  • Activities – A representative office does not engage in sales, services or any type of commercial activity but only promotes/markets the activities of its parent company, gathering information and soliciting orders and projects to be performed by the head office of the parent company. A Branch office , however can engage in commercial activities.
  • Sponsor/National Service Agent – Similar to a Branch, each Representative office requires a local sponsor or National Service Agent (NSA). The NSA has no equity participation or liability to the business.
  • Bank Guarantee – Also similar to a Branch, a Representative Office will require a refundable deposit bank guarantee of AED50,000 for the duration of your licence and this cannot be withdrawn or used as working capital.
How do I import goods into the UAE, can I do this from a freezone as well as a mainland LLC?

There are two types of jurisdictions in UAE. Freezones and Mainland UAE. A Freezone trading company can import goods (depending on their business activity) to the Freezone area however they are not permitted to import into the mainland area of the UAE without a valid LLC licence.

As goods can only be imported into the mainland by an LLC entity the options available are as follows:

  1. Incorporate a DED mainland LLC with the relevant trading activity. The activity is dependant on the type of goods being imported.
    - Relevant approvals maybe required in some cases such as Dubai Municipality approvals for food, MOHAP approval for medical supplies etc.
  2. Use a Distribution agent to purchase the goods within the Freezone and therefore the distribution agent would physically import the goods under their name and then own the goods. There are positives and negatives by doing it this way.
  3. Appoint a commercial agent. This agent can import the goods from an external country. The commercial agent will have control of the goods.

There are considerations to take into account. Feel free to contact PPG for more information.

Can I outsource my PRO services?

Yes - outsourcing to a trusted PRO Service Company with experience and extensive knowledge across the UAE to handle the legal obligations of your company, is not only cost effective but means that you save time and avoid any complications or risks that can occur for example risk of fines if deadlines are not met.

You may wish to outsource PRO Services on a case by case basis, or if you have a large volume of staff, licences and transactions you may want to consider a monthly retainer to cover all your requirements.

Outsourcing PRO services to consider include:

  • Labour and Immigration Cards
  • Labour Quota applications
  • Staff Employment UAE Resident Visas
  • Investor Visas
  • Family Visas
  • Offshore & Security Passes (CICPA)
  • Emirates ID Cards
  • LLC Company and Branch formation
  • Annual Licence renewals and updates
  • Changes to Trade Licences and share transfers
  • Regulatory approvals and NOC letters
  • Notarisation / Attestation of Legal Documents
  • Liquidation and Deregistration of Companies or Branches
  • Trademark applications
  • Legal Translation and document support
  • HR services
  • WPS and Payroll services
  • POA and authorised signatory services
  • Secure Local Nominee Partner or National Service Agent Service

If you need assistance and advice on setting up and the fees to Outsource your PRO Services and for further information on any other related company set up, local partner or PRO service matter in the UAE and wider Gulf do get in touch with us on +971 (0)4 456 1761 for Dubai or +971 (0)2 448 5120 for Abu Dhabi, email us at info@ppg.ae or complete the contact form below and we will be delighted to assist you.

How do I choose the right local partner in Dubai / Abu Dhabi / UAE / Oman / Qatar?

Choosing the right Local Sponsor can be challenging, there are some considerations to check before deciding which sponsor will be most suitable for your business.

  1. You must ensure the Local Sponsor is a UAE national, and in some cases the emirate they are from can help to get certain approvals required to obtain a mainland Trade Licence. For example to work with ADNOC in Abu Dhabi you will require Supreme Petroleum Council (SPC) Approval. This kind of approval would require an Abu Dhabi born Local Sponsor.
  2. Corporate VS Individual Local Sponsor - you may want to think about whether you would like to choose an Individual or Corporate Local Sponsor. To avoid potential risks and ensure you maintain control of your business and profits you could consider a Corporate Local Sponsor. The main advantages being that a Corporate Sponsor will not get involved in your business, they allow the 49% shareholder to retain 100% profits and provide an easy exit clause. To ensure the agreements are met, legally binding side agreements are prepared to ensure full protection for all parties.
What is an E-Trader License?

The new E-Trader Licence allows UAE residents to set up a Licence without the requirement of a Local Sponsor or National Service Agent and at significant reduced cost.

This is a new development and an ideal cost-effective solution for single business owners looking to setup a licence to sell professional services and products through their social media.

The E-Trader Licence does not require an office space meaning business owner can work from home. There are some limitation however in regards to trading of physical products/goods (this type of activity is available for GCC nationals only.)

Benefits :

  • You own the company 100% yourself – this is a ‘sole trader’ structure
  • No Local Sponsor or National Service Agent is required
  • No office space is required
  • You can obtain up to 3 employment visas if required

Limitations :

  • The Licence offers a variety of activities, however trading related activities (for example selling physical goods or products) are available for GCC nationals only.
  • A maximum of 3 x visas are available with this licence.
  • Applicant must have a valid passport, UAE residence visa and Emirates ID.
  • Must be able to provide an Ejari and Makani number from the Emirate of Dubai.
What are my options for setting up a branch in the UAE?

Foreign companies wishing to retain 100% ownership can register a foreign branch or representative office in the UAE. Local companies are also able to set up branches within the UAE, in the same or a different Emirate. Branches can either be setup in the mainland UAE or in a UAE Free Zone. There are over 50 Free Zones in the UAE so the options are significant. The decision on where to open the branch should be based on several factors including your budget and the activity of the company; note that the activities should mirror those of the parent company. To open up a branch office in the mainland UAE you will require a National Service Agent (NSA) or Local Service Agent (LSA). PRO Partner Group can assist with the formation of your branch and can act as your NSA / LSA if required.

For more details on setting up a Foreign Branch office in the UAE, including the steps, documents and requirements please see our detailed article here:

https://www.propartnergroup.com/blog/2020/01/setting-up-a-branch-uae/

PRO Partner Group is available to support you though the process to set up your company or branch correctly in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and the wider UAE, Oman and Qatar. If you need assistance on this on any other related company set up, restructuring or local partner matters do get in touch with us on +971 (0)4 456 1761 for Dubai or +971 (0)2 448 5120 for Abu Dhabi, email us at info@ppg.ae or complete the contact form below and we will be delighted to assist you.

Is it better to set up a company to Import goods or shall I use a commercial agent?

If you are looking to sell products in the UAE, it is possible to use a Commercial Agent which allows you to use their licence to sell goods. Using an Agent can avoid the set-up procedure of a licence, however there is a drawback that once you have a contract with the Agent they will have control over your product and it may be difficult to withdraw from the agreement. Therefore, to avoid any possible disputes and have full control you may want to consider setting up mainland company allowing you to have full control of the products you wish to sell to UAE. If however you do not wish to set up an entity , PRO Partner Group can offer a Nominee Commercial Agent to allow the foreign party to protect their product in the UAE Full effective ownership, control and termination is given to the foreign party whilst allowing them to make multiple partnerships with Distribution Partners to sell products.

Freezone
What are the benefits for setting up in a UAE freezone?

A freezone is a defined and isolated land or setting, with a special tax, customs and imports regime, that is different from a mainland area. The main advantage of owning a freezone company is that as an expatriate, you can own the business 100% without having to give out any of its shares.

What are the freezone set up costs?

The average fees for setting up a Freezone licence in UAE, using a flexidesk virtual office with 1 or 2 staff visas is around AED 40,000 all in. The costs will vary from Freezone to Freezone and depending on where you choose to establish your license and your staff and office requirements. Freezone companies are lower cost than setting up a mainland company in the early stages, however will more staff the office costs in a Freezone will make this type of licence more expensive in the long run. Setting up your business in a Free Zone offers key advantages such as; 100% foreign ownership, zero personal and corporate tax as well as no import duties.

How long will it take to set up a freezone company in the UAE?

The time taken to incorporate a Company in UAE depends greatly on the complexity of the business to be incorporated. A simple Free Zone Enterprise (FZE) may be incorporated in a matter of days, whereas it can take several months for an Industrial facility to obtain all the permits required to operate safely and legally. On average we say to allow 30 days from start to finish assuming all documents are prepared and the authorised signatories are available.

What commercial space do I require for a freezone trade licence?

The commercial space requirements depending on the size of the business, the location and activity. A simple Free Zone Enterprise (FZE) service or consultancy company may be incorporated in a matter of days using a flexidesk or virtual office space at low cost, whereas in an Industrial or Logistics Freezone the company will need to rent industrial pace in order to obtain all the permits required to operate safely and legally – and the formation it can take several months pending approvals of the commercial space.

Can a freezone company conduct business anywhere within the UAE?

No, a Freezone company can only work with companies in the same Freezone jurisdiction that has issued the licence and with companies overseas. Strictly speaking the freezone company cannot conduct business with UAE mainland companies, although in practice this is a grey area and particularly for services companies these can often be provided if the UAE counterparty is happy to deal with the freezone company. The Freezone company, in some jurisdictions can now apply for a Dual Licence into the mainland to facilitate working with mainland companies.

What are the office requirements for a Freezone company?

A commercial lease agreement is a requirement to incorporate and operate a trade license in all Freezones, however must freezones offer a flexidesk arrangement for a limited number of visas – for example a low cost flexidesk / virtual office can be leased as part of the initiate freezone company formation and this will normally allow for up to 2 visas. Once the company looks to take on more than 2 staff they will need to rent a larger physical office in that Freezone. The Freezone will then normally increase the office rent requirements by about 10sqm per extra person hired on the licence.

Can I sale online in the UAE from a freezone company

An E-commerce platform Licence in a Free zone allows online buying and selling of products in UAE.

Free zones do have their own regulations meaning that companies cannot conduct activities outside of the Free zone.

Therefore to sell to the Mainland you would require a third party logistic company in order to deliver the products to the end user.

If however you wish to sell directly to the local market, you would require a Main land Licence.

An E-Commerce trading activity in the Mainland will qualify you to trade directly to UAE Mainland via an online platform without the need of a third party.

Freelancer Permits
Can I obtain a freelancer permit if I am employed somewhere else?Can I obtain a freelancer permit if I am employed somewhere else in the UAE?

In specific Freezones, this is not an issue. However, a NOC must be provided by your current sponsor/ employer. However, in some Freezones, it is a mandatory requirement to obtain a visa directly from that Freezone authority.

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.

Will I have to be audited as a freelancer permit holder?

This is not currently required; however it is highly advisable to keep accounts.

With a freelancer permit, 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. The Freelancer licence is a ‘permit’ for the individual, it is not a separate company with its own identity, and is not a limited liability structure.

Can I hire employees if I am a freelancer permit holder?

No, you cannot hire employees on a freelance permit, but you can sponsor your dependents.

Can the freelance 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.

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.

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
How long does the freelance 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)
Visa & Licensing
How do I get an Emirates ID card?

If you are a UAE Citizen or hold a residence visa you eligible to apply for an Emirates ID at one of the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (FAIC) customer centres located throughout the UAE or online through the FAIC website. For first time applications you will be required to attend the FAIC in order to submit your biometrics and have your photograph taken as part of the process. Once the application is processed and the relevant fees have been paid it takes approximately 5-7 working days for the card to be issued. The card can be collected from your local Emirates Post office where ;;you will be required to present your passport and EID application form.

What documents to I need to process my UAE residency visa?

    1. Passport copy - must have more than 6 months validity and at least 2 blank pages
    2. Photo - head and shoulders, no eyeglasses, white background, high resolution and colour
    3. Attested education certificate - if required for job title - must be attested in the country of issuance for use in the UAE and further attested in the UAE at MOFA
    4. Tourist visa copy/entry stamp if applicant is inside the UAE
    5. Previous visa/EID/cancellation docs if the applicant has previously held a visa in the UAE
    6. Nationals of Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan will also need to provide a copy of their national ID card
    7. DHA/HAAD approved health insurance - required in order for the visa to be completed and stamped in the passport
How long does it take to process a UAE residence visa?

Typically, if all documentation is in place and valid, then an inside country visa application will take approximately 15 - 20 working days. If the visa application is started from outside the country and the applicant enters the UAE on the employment visa then processing once inside the country takes approximately 10 - 15 working days. * These time frames do not factor in delays from the government departments.

How do I sponsor my family in the UAE?

In order for a male to sponsor his immediate family (wife and children) they will need to have a valid employment visa with a suitable designation and a minimum salary of AED4,000 per month. A female can sponsor her immediate family (husband and children) if she has a valid employment visa and the designation is either engineer, teacher, doctor, nurse or any other profession related to the medical sector. She is required to have a minimum monthly salary of AED 10,000 per month.

There are also certain documents that will be required in order to process the family visas, including attested marriage and birth certificates, a notarised tenancy contract and a salary certificate. We can assist with family visa applications and would be happy to discuss the full process and document requirements upon request.

Can I sponsor domestic staff myself or do I have to go through an agency?

Domestic staff visas are all processed through the Tadbeer service centres in UAE, you can opt to do the processing yourself or employ an PRO Company like PRO Partner Group to help. It is possible to directly sponsor the domestic worker under your own visa or you can contract a domestic worker under the sponsorship of Tadbeer or a Domestic Staff Agency Company.

If you wish to directly sponsor the domestic worker yourself then there is a requirement from UAE Immigration that your household has an income of AED25,000 or over to have a domestic worker’s visa application approved. You will also have to show a corresponding Lease – Ejari (Dubai) or Tawtheeq (Abu Dhabi), to evidence that you have enough space to accommodate the domestic worker.

What is the difference between a Freezone visa and a Mainland visa in the UAE?

Under a Mainland UAE visa you have both Labour and Immigration files - the Labour file gives mainland UAE visa holders a full onshore work permit.

Under a Freezone visa you will have only an Immigration file and a work ID/pass from the free zone, you do not obtain a Labour file and therefore you do not have a full onshore work permit. Under a free zone visa you should only work within that particular free zone, you cannot work in the mainland.

Both types of visa give you a full Emirates Resident ID Card. The mainland visa typically lasts for 2 years whilst most Freezone visas are for 3 years before they will need to be renewed.

A mainland Investor Visa is a 3 year visa, but again does not provide you with a UAE Onshore labour file.

What are the rules on extended visas for employees that have been released from work?

It was announced by the Federal Authority of Identity and Citizenship that UAE residence visa holders whose visas are expiring after 1st March will be granted extensions until December 2020. This is applicable to residents who are in UAE and outside the country as well. Individuals who were not able to complete their residence visa applications will also have their entry visas extended.

Visitors and tourists who could not leave the country due to the ongoing travel restrictions will also be allowed to stay in the country legitimately since their tourist visa will be extended as well.

However, this is not applicable to individuals who recently had their residence visas cancelled. After the cancellation a usual grace period of 30 days is granted to either leave the country or change status onto a new visa, eg – a tourist visa or a new employment visa. With travel restrictions in place if an individual is not able to leave, he/she will not have a visa extension granted and will incur overstay penalties once the grace period passes. In order to avoid these penalties, a status change is possible to a tourist visa whilst being in the country itself.

For more information on this and assistance with visa extensions or any other PRO matter visit our website www.propartnergroup.com, email us at info@ppg.ae or call us on +971 (0)4 456 1761 for Dubai or +971 (0)2 448 5120 for Abu Dhabi.

Do I need medical insurance for a mission visa?

There is no need for the applicant/employer to provide medical insurance for mission visas. There is an insurance policy that will be provided by MOI upon the application of the mission visa. I have attached the sample for your reference. This will provide cover for emergency situations whilst the employee is inside the UAE for the 90 days.

What are the rules on extended visas for employees that have been released from work?

Our operations and visa expert, Fatima Hussain answers your questions concerning extended and cancelled visas in the UAE.

It was announced by the Federal Authority of Identity and Citizenship that UAE residence visa holders whose visas are expiring after 1st March will be granted extensions until December 2020. This is applicable to residents who are in UAE and outside the country as well. Individuals who were not able to complete their residence visa applications will also have their entry visas extended.

Visitors and tourists who could not leave the country due to the ongoing travel restrictions will also be allowed to stay in the country legitimately since their tourist visa will be extended as well.

However, this is not applicable to individuals who recently had their residence visas cancelled. After the cancellation, a usual grace period of 30 days is granted to either leave the country or change status onto a new visa, eg – a tourist visa or a new employment visa. With travel restrictions in place if an individual is not able to leave, he/she will not have a visa extension granted and will incur overstay penalties once the grace period passes. In order to avoid these penalties, a status change is possible to a tourist visa whilst being in the country itself.

Can I put my family visa on hold?

If an individual is in the process of transferring visas or obtaining a new residence visa, he/she can avoid cancelling their dependent visas by putting them on hold with the General Directorate of Residency of Foreign Affairs. The on hold process is only applicable if the sponsor’s new and old visa are in the Emirate of Dubai.

It is mandatory for dependents to be in the country for the process, they are not able to travel once the visas have been put on hold. The dependent visas must be valid for at least 6 months to have them put on hold.

The sponsor will have to visit the Immigration with his previous labour card cancellation, new job offer letter, an undertaking letter stating the visas will be taken off of hold once the sponsor’s new residence visa has been issued, the dependents new passport. A deposit is put in place with the Immigration. Once the sponsor’s new residence visa has been issued, the new residence visa can be submitted to the Immigration and the dependent visas are taken off hold, the deposit is refunded.

How do I apply for a labor quota so I can apply for my new employee visa?

You can apply for the labor quota application through the Tasheel portal or Tasheel offices across the country. You'd need to specify the amount, gender, and professions of your candidates for your Quota application. Please be advised however that the requested professions would need to be compatible with your license activities.

For applying the quota you'd require a copy of your trade license along with translated project contracts that show your need for the amount required. Your office will be also inspected by Taqyeem which is a department from MOHRE to evaluate your office if it fills the requirement for your Quota.

You can always contact us at PRO Partner Group for further assistance and to help advise you on suitable job titles that suit your needs and compatible with MOHRE.

I am currently in the UAE on an expired visit visa, what should I do?

If your visit visa expired after 1st March and you are still in the UAE, you will need to leave the country by August 11th. Alternatively, you can apply to extend your visa for an additional 30 days or you change your visa status. After this date, overstay fines will begin to accrue. You will be charged AED 300 for the first day and AED 100 for every day thereafter.

How do I get a family member back to the UAE without a resident visa?

I advise the friend to apply online request in Tawjudi

And addition to that, write request letter to Ministry of Foreign Affairs and explain the situation in person in their mofa head quarter. And wait for the result.

We do not know this situation how to handle.

How do I obtain a 5 year Retirement Visa in UAE (Dubai or Abu Dhabi)?

The UAE Retirement Visa recently announced allows retired residents over 55 years old to be eligible for a long-term visa of 5 years.

The Visa allows individuals who meet the criteria to retire in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and the wider UAE.

The retirement visa holder can also then sponsor (and obtain a UAE resident dependant visa for) their spouse and children, at school age or student age.

In order to obtain the UAE 5-year retirement visa the individual retiree will need to meet the criteria below:

  • You must be at least 55 years old
  • You must have a valid Health Insurance in the UAE (the individual will need to obtain their own local UAE health insurance policy)

Additionally, the individual retiree must be able to meet one of the below financial criteria:

  • Receive a monthly income of at least AED 20,000 in the UAE (evidence of income for the past 6 months is required)
  • Have at least AED 1 million in cash savings held in a UAE bank (letter from the bank is required)
  • Own a property worth at least AED 2 million in Dubai, Abu Dhabi or the wider UAE (provide a copy of your property value deed – the individual retiree must show equity value of at least AED 2 million, unmortgaged)

The visa can be renewed after 5 years if the criteria above continues to be met.

Note that the individual retiree can still work whilst holding this retirement visa, the individual will self-issue an NOC letter to allow them to continue to work in the UAE if they wish to.

If you need assistance and are looking to obtain a UAE 5 year retirement visa, or if you need assistance with staff, family and dependant visas and health insurance any other related company set up, restructuring, local partner or PRO support matter in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, the wider UAE, Oman or Qatar, then please do get in touch with us on +971 (0)4 456 1761 for Dubai or +971 (0)2 448 5120 for Abu Dhabi, email us at info@ppg.ae or complete the contact form below and we will be delighted to assist you.

VAT & Finance
Do I need a company bank account if I hold a UAE trade licence?

Yes, whilst it is not a mandatory requirement for new companies without staff, it is strongly advised that you look to open a local company bank account as soon as possible. It is beneficial not only for local business transactions but also once a company does have staff they will be required to be paid through the WPS banking system. Failure to do so will result in a block against the company. There are many local Banks to choose from most of which offer competitive commercial rates.

How do I register for VAT in the UAE? Am I eligible?

It is mandatory to register for VAT in the UAE if the company turnover is AED 375,000 or more. A company can apply voluntarily if the turnover reaches AED 175,000. The Federal Tax Authority has an online portal for VAT registration. For more information visit https://www.tax.gov.ae/registering-for-vat.aspx

Do I have to register for VAT in the UAE?

It is mandatory for a company to register for VAT in UAE if their taxable supplies and imports exceed Aed 375,000/- per annum, or expected to exceed the threshold in next 30 days. A company may voluntarily register for VAT if the taxable supplies and imports of a company exceeds the threshold of Aed 187,500/- per annum.

Does a foreign branch need to be locally audited in the UAE?

Yes to renew MOE license, It is mandatory for foreign companies to submit the audited financial statements of the branch of foreign companies registered in UAE

Oman
What are the first steps I should take to set up a business in Oman?

We recommend that you create a business plan to understand your company requirements. For example: What are your company’s activities going to be? Who is your target market? Where will you likely be located? How many staff will you require? What is your timeline? All these questions are essential to understanding how to help you.

What is the difference between a freezone and mainland company in Oman?

Mainland Company

A mainland establishment is an onshore setup, licensed by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MOCI). An onshore establishment is allowed permitted to conduct business in the local market as well as outside Oman without any restrictions.

Freezone Company

A Free Zone business is incorporated within a designated jurisdiction of a certain Freezone where the company is only allowed to conduct business inside the same Freezone or outside of Oman. Oman free zone companies are allowed to trade within Oman mainland without a local agent, however customs duty of 5% applies in these cases.

What type of business entity would be suited for me based on my company activities in Oman?

Dependent on the activities and shareholding composition, foreign companies can be incorporated in the following most common legal forms:

  • Sole Proprietorship (owned by one person, available to Omanis, GCC and US nationals)
  • Limited Liability Company or LLC (owned by two or more individuals or corporates)
  • Branch of a Foreign Company (100% owned by a foreign company, Government project required)
  • Representative Office (100% owned by a foreign company, no commercial business allowed)
Will I require a physical office in Oman, or can the company be registered against a virtual office?

Once the new company is registered with the Ministry of Commerce and Industry and Commercial Registration is issued, a physical space has to be rented and lease agreement obtained in order to apply for company’s Municipality (Trade) Licence.

The same rule applies for Oman Free Zones with the requirement to rent space within the Free Zone where the new company will be incorporated.

The size of your office will broadly dictate the number of staff you can have and some activities will need specific office types and locations.

A new company in Oman cannot be registered against the virtual office.

How long does it take to set up a company in Oman?

Generally, it takes from 1 to 3 weeks, depending on the jurisdiction, legal structure, shareholding and any additional third-party approvals if required.

Can a foreigner own 100% of a company in Oman?

GCC companies that are 100% owned by GCC nationals, or GCC nationals themselves, may establish a company without a local partner for approved activities. Pursuant to a free trade agreement (FTA) concluded between the US and Oman, US persons may form an entity in Oman without a local partner, provided that all the shareholders are US persons.

Is dual residency permitted in Oman for other GCC country visa holders?

Yes, but it is only permitted for the business owners.

Do I need a company bank account for my business in Oman?

Yes, whilst it is not a mandatory requirement for new companies without staff, it is strongly advised that you look to open a local Oman company bank account as soon as possible. It is beneficial not only for local business transactions but also once a company does have staff they will be required to be paid through the WPS banking system. Failure to do so will result in a block against the company. There are many local Omani Banks to choose from most of which offer competitive commercial rates.

What are the taxes payable in Oman?

Income tax – 15% (3% for certain small tax payers) and Withholding tax – 10% (maybe reduced or eliminated by a applicable double taxation agreement). Tax exemptions are available only for industrial (manufacturing) activities.

What taxes are payable in Oman?

Income tax – 15% (3% for certain small tax payers) and Withholding tax – 10% (maybe reduced or eliminated by any applicable double tax agreement). Tax exemptions are available only for industrial (manufacturing) activities.

What is Omanisation?

Omanisation is a policy enacted by the Government of Oman aimed at replacing expatriate workers with trained Omani Personnel. Specific quotas are set by the country within certain industries determining the percentage of Omani to foreign workers required. This is something to be taken into consideration when hiring staff under the new entity.

Why do I need an Omani-national sponsor? What are my options?

If you are aiming to set up an Oman Mainland LLC then you will need to have an individual Omani national or a 100% Omani owned company as a partner or sponsor in order to register the business.

Under the Oman’s Commercial Companies UAE Law, with an LLC structure, 30% (some activities require 51%) of the shares need to be owned by your local Omani individual or corporate partner, this however does not relate to proportion of profits. An agreement with your local partner can stipulate that the majority of the profits and management control is retained by the Foreign Party owning 70% (or 49%).

Labour & Immigration
Do I need to register unpaid leave and salary reductions for my staff with UAE Ministry of Labour (MOHRE) and how do I do it?

If a company wishes to reduce a staff members salary, reduce hours (temporarily or permanently) or put the staff member on temporary unpaid leave, then this must be mutually agreed in writing by the staff member and the company. The letter agreement must be made voluntarily by the staff member.

Initially there was no mechanism to register these changes officially with Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MOHRE) – The UAE Ministry of Labour - previously this could only be done by submitting the signed letter from the employee. However following the release of the Ministerial Resolution No. 279 of 2020 to assist companies during the COVID Pandemic Click here for Resolution PDF from Thursday 30th April MOHRE are now accepting the registration of these changes to employment terms through the MOHRE system using a Temporary Supplementary Annex – Click here for ANNEX PDF.

Therefore all mainland companies should submit the Temporary Supplementary Annex to MOHRE for each staff member that has agreed to modified employment arrangements, so as to prevent any blocks or fine from MOHRE that may be levied in the future - for example if WPS payments are below the required monthly threshold.

PRO Partner Group can provide support and guidance on this process to assist in obtaining the completed Annex and uploading and registering this with MORHE to ensure compliance.

What are the differences between a Limited and Unlimited Contract in the UAE?

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

  • The duration of a limited contract may not exceed two 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.

I am also inundated on how to apply for approval as a resident to re-enter Dubai and AD, links are as below and it is important to note you should gain approval before booking a flight and the approval only lasts 21 days:

AD - https://beta.smartservices.ica.gov.ae/echannels/web/client/guest/index.html#/issueResidentEntryPermission/request/708/step1?administrativeRegionId=1&withException=false

Dubai - https://beta.smartservices.ica.gov.ae/echannels/web/client/guest/index.html#/serviceCards/708?administrativeRegionId=1

CICPA & ICV
How do I get ICV audited?

Upon the issuance of IFRS based financial statements that are audited by a licensed auditor from the Ministry of Economy, Suppliers are expected to complete the Certification Submission Template and approach one of the empaneled certifying bodies to obtain their ICV certificates. Adnoc has appointed 12 ICV certifying bodies who can audit your financial accounts. The ICV Certificate shall be prepared based on last audited financial statements, which shall not be older than 2 years from the certification year.

https://www.adnoc.ae/en/incoun...

Do I need a ICV audit to work with Adnoc?

It is not compulsory to hold an ICV certificate to participate in ADNOC Group tender, suppliers that have an ICV certificate will have advantage during the tendering process (Suppliers without the certificate will be considered to have 0% ICV).

How do I register as a vendor for ADNOC?

Firstly you must check that you can meet the correct criteria for ADNOC Registration

You will require the below:

  1. A Mainland Abu Dhabi DED Licence. This may be in the form of an LLC or Foreign Branch.
  2. Supreme Petroleum Council (SPC) Approval.
  3. Relevant activities to the Work/Product list provided by ADNOC (they must match with your Licence activities.)

The next step is to consider the stages for registration and necessary documents required to submit to ADNOC for their review.

Stages for ADNOC Vendor Registration:

  1. Register and activate SAP Ariba Account number to provide access to ADNOC Commercial Directory.
  2. ADNOC Registration accessed via Ariba account number (all company documents and information details are required at this stage and to be submitted).
  3. 1 week for submission to be reviewed by ADNOC. If successful, ADNOC will then call to proceed to the Pre-Qualification Stage.
  4. Pre-Qualification – You will need to provide examples of projects, products, services and other threshold requirements. if accepted you will then successfully to be visible on ADNOCS Supplier list and registered as an ADNOC Vendor.

If you need assistance and advice on ADNOC Vendor Registration SPV and for further information on any other related company set up, local partner or PRO service matter in the UAE and wider Gulf do get in touch with us on +971 (0)4 456 1761 for Dubai or +971 (0)2 448 5120 for Abu Dhabi, email us at info@ppg.ae or complete the contact form below and we will be delighted to assist you.

How to replace your lost or damaged emirates identity card?

An emirates ID is an identity card issued by the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (ICA), the emirates ID card contains your personal details and can only be issued once you have obtained your UAE resident visa.

If your emirates ID was lost or damaged, a replacement card can be obtained. The process will be to first prepare the e-form through one of the registered typing centres in the UAE or the ICA offices in the emirate you are currently in.

Alternatively you can apply directly through the online ICA portal – link here: https://beta.smartservices.ica.gov.ae/echannels/web/client/default.html#/registration/type/1/verify

You will need to provide copies of your passport, UAE resident visa, passport photo and copies of the lost emirates ID card. Then you will need to visit one of the ICA offices across UAE to have your photo taken and biometrics registered. this step The biometric registration is applicable only if you are more than 16 years old.

Your replacement emirates ID then can be issued after 5 – 7 working days and will come through Empost by recorded delivery.

If you need assistance in obtaining a new or replacement Emirates ID card please contact a member of the PRO Partner Group team who will be happy to help, use the contact form below or all us on +971 (0)4 456 1761 for Dubai or +971 (0)2 448 5120 for Abu Dhabi, or email us at info@ppg.ae.

HR Services
Does the employer have to cover the cost of an employee’s health insurance?

In Dubai, employers are required to provide health insurance cover for their employees. There is, however, no legal obligation for employers to provide health insurance cover for dependants of their employees, the responsibility lies with the employee (the visa sponsor).

As per Article 5 of the Abu Dhabi Health Insurance Law, Abu Dhabi employers are legally required to provide health insurance cover for their employees and their dependants. Dependants are defined as a spouse and up to 3 children under the age of 18. If the employee has other dependants then they are legally obligated to cover the cost of this themselves.

If you need assistance with staff, family and dependant visas and health insurance any other related company set up, restructuring, local partner or PRO support matter in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, the wider UAE, Oman or Qatar, then please do get in touch with us on +971 (0)4 456 1761 for Dubai or +971 (0)2 448 5120 for Abu Dhabi, email us at info@ppg.ae or complete the contact form below and we will be delighted to assist you.

Is the employer obliged to provide health insurance to an employee's stepchildren?

As there is no legal obligation for Dubai employers to provide health insurance cover for dependants of their employees, the responsibility lies with the employee (visa sponsor) to cover medical cover for their stepchild/children.

Abu Dhabi employers are legally obligated to provide health insurance cover for their employees and their dependants. If the stepchild/children are a dependent of the employee and under the age of 18 then the employer is legally required to cover the cost of medical insurance. The employer is obligated to cover health insurance for up to 3 children/stepchildren under the age of 18.

If you need assistance with staff, family and dependant visas and health insurance any other related company set up, restructuring, local partner or PRO support matter in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, the wider UAE, Oman or Qatar, then please do get in touch with us on +971 (0)4 456 1761 for Dubai or +971 (0)2 448 5120 for Abu Dhabi, email us at info@ppg.ae or complete the contact form below and we will be delighted to assist you.

How do I calculate end of service gratuity for employees in UAE?

Under Article 134 of the UAE Labour Law, end of service benefit payment is calculated based on the employee’s basic salary.

When an employee resigns from an unlimited term contract, they will be entitled to a gratuity payment as per the following scale:

  • Less than 1 year of service
    Where an employee leaves employment prior to completing one year of service they will not be entitled to gratuity payment
  • Between 1 year and 3 years of service
    Employee is entitled to 7 days gratuity payment (One third of the 21-days gratuity pay)
  • Between 3 years and 5 years of service
    Employee is entitled to 14 days gratuity payment (Two thirds of the 21-days gratuity pay)
  • 5 or more years of service
    Employee is entitled to the full 21 days gratuity pay for each year of service.

For Limited Term Contracts gratuity payments are calculated based on the below scale:

  • Less than 1 year of service
    An employee who leaves employment prior to completing one year of service is not be entitled to gratuity payment
  • Between 1 year and 5 years of service
    Employee is entitled to full gratuity pay based on 21 days salary for each year of work.
  • 5 or more years of service
    Employee is entitled to full gratuity pay based on 30 days salary for each year of work.

If you need assistance with gratuity calculation, staff, family and dependant visas or other related company set up, restructuring, local partner or PRO support matter in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, the wider UAE, Oman or Qatar, then please do get in touch with us on +971 (0)4 456 1761 for Dubai or +971 (0)2 448 5120 for Abu Dhabi, email us at info@ppg.ae or complete the contact form below and we will be delighted to assist you.

How is the end of service gratuity calculated where the employer terminates the contract?

In the case that an employee is terminated from their position and has completed one year or more of continuous service, they will be entitled to a gratuity payment as follows

  • Between 1 year and 5 years of service
    Employee is entitled to full gratuity pay based on 21 days salary for each year of work.
  • 5 or more years of service
    Employee is entitled to 21 days salary for between 1 year and 5 years and 30 calendar days for each additional year.

End of service gratuity must not exceed two years pay. Employees are not entitled to gratuity in the case that that they are terminated for gross misconduct under the provisions of the UAE Labour Law.

If you need assistance with gratuity calculation, staff, family and dependant visas or other related company set up, restructuring, local partner or PRO support matter in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, the wider UAE, Oman or Qatar, then please do get in touch with us on +971 (0)4 456 1761 for Dubai or +971 (0)2 448 5120 for Abu Dhabi, email us at info@ppg.ae or complete the contact form below and we will be delighted to assist you.

What must an employer include in a UAE employment contract?

Unlimited term employment contracts must include:

  • Conclusion of contract date
  • Commencement of work date
  • The nature of the work
  • Address of the workplace
  • Remuneration details

Limited term employment contracts must include:

  • Conclusion of contract date
  • Commencement of work date
  • The nature of the work
  • Address of the workplace
  • Remuneration details
  • Duration of the contract
  • The notice for termination of contract

If you need assistance with staff employment contracts, visas or other related company set up, restructuring, local partner or PRO support matter in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, the wider UAE, Oman or Qatar, then please do get in touch with us on +971 (0)4 456 1761 for Dubai or +971 (0)2 448 5120 for Abu Dhabi, email us at info@ppg.ae or complete the contact form below and we will be delighted to assist you.

What is a limited employment contract?

Under the UAE Labour Law

  • The duration of a limited contract may not exceed two years (unlike four years as before)
  • 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.

If you need assistance with staff employment contracts, visas or other related company set up, restructuring, local partner or PRO support matter in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, the wider UAE, Oman or Qatar, then please do get in touch with us on +971 (0)4 456 1761 for Dubai or +971 (0)2 448 5120 for Abu Dhabi, email us at info@ppg.ae or complete the contact form below and we will be delighted to assist you.

What is an unlimited employment 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.

If you need assistance with staff employment contracts, visas or other related company set up, restructuring, local partner or PRO support matter in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, the wider UAE, Oman or Qatar, then please do get in touch with us on +971 (0)4 456 1761 for Dubai or +971 (0)2 448 5120 for Abu Dhabi, email us at info@ppg.ae or complete the contact form below and we will be delighted to assist you.

Do I need to hire an HR Manager for my Dubai company?

There is no legal requirement to hire a HR Manager for your Dubai Company. As an alternative to hiring a HR Manager you can opt to outsource your HR requirements.

Outsourcing your HR requirements to qualified specialists will save you time and resources enabling you to focus on core business activities. Outsourcing generally works best for small to medium sized companies who do not require an in-house HR Department.

If you are looking to outsource your companies HR or PRO functions and if you need assistance with any other related company set up, restructuring, local partner or PRO support matter in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, the wider UAE, Oman or Qatar, then please do get in touch with us on +971 (0)4 456 1761 for Dubai or +971 (0)2 448 5120 for Abu Dhabi, email us at info@ppg.ae or complete the contact form below and we will be delighted to assist you.

How can I outsource my HR function in UAE?

Companies can outsource HR requirements or their entire HR function through our managed HR Services department. Our dedicated team of experts offer professional HR services that are completely customised to company requirements. Services include; HR Admin Support, HR Consultancy, Payroll Management and Recruitment Solutions. Click here to find out more about our HR offering.

If you are looking to outsource your companies HR or PRO functions and if you need assistance with any other related company set up, restructuring, local partner or PRO support matter in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, the wider UAE, Oman or Qatar, then please do get in touch with us on +971 (0)4 456 1761 for Dubai or +971 (0)2 448 5120 for Abu Dhabi, email us at info@ppg.ae or complete the contact form below and we will be delighted to assist you.

Do I have to provide employees with a yearly airfare allowance?

Annual airfare allowances are considered an employee benefit or bonus and are based on company compensation and benefits policies. Under the UAE Labour Law employers are not legally obligated to provide their employees with a yearly airfare allowance.

If you need assistance with employee / staff visa matters, or if you need assistance with any other related company set up, restructuring, local partner or PRO support matter in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, the wider UAE, Oman or Qatar, then please do get in touch with us on +971 (0)4 456 1761 for Dubai or +971 (0)2 448 5120 for Abu Dhabi, email us at info@ppg.ae or complete the contact form below and we will be delighted to assist you.

Can employers ask employees to use annual leave balances during the Covid 19 pandemic?

Employers are within their legal rights to ask employees to use their annual leave balances. This legal right was enabled by Ministerial Resolution no 279 of 2020 Article (2) on Employment Stability in Private Sector during the Period of Application of Precautionary Measures to Curb the Spread of Covid19. This legal right is further supported by the UAE Labour law whereby under Article 76, the employer may determine the commencement date of annual leave and, if required, divide the leave into not more than two periods.

If you need assistance with employee / staff visa matters, or if you need assistance with any other related company set up, restructuring, local partner or PRO support matter in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, the wider UAE, Oman or Qatar, then please do get in touch with us on +971 (0)4 456 1761 for Dubai or +971 (0)2 448 5120 for Abu Dhabi, email us at info@ppg.ae or complete the contact form below and we will be delighted to assist you.

How is redundancy processed in the UAE?

As per the UAE Labour Law, there is no statutory definition of redundancy or a procedure for the management of redundancy. Although in the past there have been labour cases whereby the labour court has recognised the employers right to restructure its business, employers are repeatedly advised to refer to the provisions on the termination of employment set out in the Labour Law when enquiring as to the process of redundancy.

If you need assistance with employee / staff visa matters, or if you need assistance with any other related company set up, restructuring, local partner or PRO support matter in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, the wider UAE, Oman or Qatar, then please do get in touch with us on +971 (0)4 456 1761 for Dubai or +971 (0)2 448 5120 for Abu Dhabi, email us at info@ppg.ae or complete the contact form below and we will be delighted to assist you.

How does the Ministerial Resolution No. 279, 2020 affect the process of redundancy?

Article No.3 of the Ministerial Resolution No. 279, 2020 provides guidelines for where an employer identifies a ‘surplus’ of non-national employees, presenting the concept of ‘redundancy’ to the UAE Labour Law for the first time.

Article No.3 of the resolution further details that:

  • Employers must register the surplus employee’s data on the MOHRE.’s Virtual Labour Market system where they can search for new employment.
  • Employers are required to provide accommodation and all other entitlements (except for salary) until the employee obtains new employment or leaves the country.

If you need assistance with employee / staff visa matters, or if you need assistance with any other related company set up, restructuring, local partner or PRO support matter in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, the wider UAE, Oman or Qatar, then please do get in touch with us on +971 (0)4 456 1761 for Dubai or +971 (0)2 448 5120 for Abu Dhabi, email us at info@ppg.ae or complete the contact form below and we will be delighted to assist you.

How can an employee’s contract be lawfully terminated?

Under the current legislation, there are two ways whereby an employer can lawfully terminate an employee’s contract.

  1. Valid Reason
    Reference to Article 117, an employer may terminate an employee with notice, as per their contract for a ‘valid reason’. Although a specific definition is not provided for the term ‘valid reason’ it is understood that the reason must be work-related, for example under performance or continued misconduct.
  2. Gross Misconduct
    Articles 88 and 120 set out the provisions in relation to the termination of an employee’s contract due to gross misconduct.

If you need assistance with employee / staff visa matters, or if you need assistance with any other related company set up, restructuring, local partner or PRO support matter in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, the wider UAE, Oman or Qatar, then please do get in touch with us on +971 (0)4 456 1761 for Dubai or +971 (0)2 448 5120 for Abu Dhabi, email us at info@ppg.ae or complete the contact form below and we will be delighted to assist you.

How does the Ministerial Resolution No. 279, 2020 affect employers and employees?

As part of the UAE Government’s support to employers in the UAE, the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MOHRE) released the Ministerial Resolution 279/2020 effective March 26, detailing measures to support UAE private sector employers during the Covid-19 outbreak. Click here for the Resolution pdf.

The Resolution identified the actions listed below which should be followed in the order of:

  1. remote working
  2. paid leave
  3. unpaid leave
  4. temporary wage reduction
  5. permanent wage reduction

The Resolution requires the respective employee’s agreement and consent to any employment contract changes and it is therefore suggested that all changes are reasonable and acceptable.

An important point to note in the resolution is the applicability to companies who have been ‘affected’ by precautionary measures that have been put in place to limit the spread of the novel Corona virus.

If you need assistance with employee / staff visa matters, or if you need assistance with any other related company set up, restructuring, local partner or PRO support matter in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, the wider UAE, Oman or Qatar, then please do get in touch with us on +971 (0)4 456 1761 for Dubai or +971 (0)2 448 5120 for Abu Dhabi, email us at info@ppg.ae or complete the contact form below and we will be delighted to assist you.

What happens if a staff member launches a case of unfair dismissal at the UAE Ministry of Labour Court?

If an employee believes that they have been unfairly dismissed they can file a complaint at the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation. The MOHRE will try to solve the issue amicably but where this is not possible the case will be referred to court.

If unfair dismissal is proven, the employer will be instructed by the courts to pay compensation to the employee. The maximum compensation that the court will order the employer to pay is three months of remuneration which is based on the employees last salary.

The employee can then also claim their end of service gratuity, notice period payment and any other amounts owed to them by the employer such as accrued annual leave payment.

If you need assistance with employee / staff visa or labour matters, or if you need assistance with any other related company set up, restructuring, local partner or PRO support matter in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, the wider UAE, Oman or Qatar, then please do get in touch with us on +971 (0)4 456 1761 for Dubai or +971 (0)2 448 5120 for Abu Dhabi, email us at info@ppg.ae or complete the contact form below and we will be delighted to assist you.

What HR policies will I need to have in place in order to run my business and hire staff in Dubai or Abu Dhabi?

Private UAE employers including all companies set up in free zones other than DIFC, are legally required to comply with the employment legislation set forth in the UAE Labour Law No.8 of 1980. This employment legislation is the basis that employers should use for the development of company HR policies and procedures. Private employers set up in freezones must also comply with the relevant freezone’s rules and regulations.

We suggest that employers develop an in-house employment handbook to detail their company HR policies aligned to the UAE Labour Law and where applicable, the relevant freezone rules and regulations. Employment handbooks should typically cover policies and procedures related to:

  • Company Mission, Vision and Values
  • Conditions of Employment
  • Company Rules and Regulations
  • Leave
  • Compensation & Benefits
  • Performance Evaluation
  • Disciplinary & Grievance

The employment handbook should be communicated to all staff and be accessible in order to serve as a guide for both the employer and employees.

PPG can support with the development of such employment handbooks or standalone HR policies etc etc.

If you are looking to outsource your companies HR or PRO functions and if you need assistance with any other related company set up, restructuring, local partner or PRO support matter in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, the wider UAE, Oman or Qatar, then please do get in touch with us on +971 (0)4 456 1761 for Dubai or +971 (0)2 448 5120 for Abu Dhabi, email us at info@ppg.ae or complete the contact form below and we will be delighted to assist you.

How do I manage onboarding a new staff member, what documents do I need?

Finalising the onboarding of a new staff member will require the processing of the employee’s residence visa application. Where applicable, the company may also process the residence visa application for the dependent(s) of the new employee.

As part of the visa application process the employee will have to attend a Medical Fitness Screening and the company will manage the Emirates ID card and Health Insurance applications. The documents required for the residence visa application of a new staff member include:

  • Original passport and original entry-work visa (if applicable)
  • Signed visa application form
  • Employee’s employment letter in Arabic with salary
  • Original letter of certification of medical screening test results
  • 4 passport size photos with white background
  • Copy of the Insurance Health card provided by the company
  • Copy of Emirates ID card application stamped by the ID Authority

If you need assistance with employee / staff visa or labour matters, or if you need assistance with any other related company set up, restructuring, local partner or PRO support matter in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, the wider UAE, Oman or Qatar, then please do get in touch with us on +971 (0)4 456 1761 for Dubai or +971 (0)2 448 5120 for Abu Dhabi, email us at info@ppg.ae or complete the contact form below and we will be delighted to assist you.

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