Business in the UAE

(After Issuance of your Trade License)

Obtaining a Trade License (Commercial, Professional, Branch or Representative Office) in the UAE is only the first step in being able to operate your new Business.  You cannot employ staff unless certain procedures have been met. Below is a list of issues you need to be aware of once you have received your Trade License.

 

1. Am I entitled to an Investor Visa if I am a shareholder in my Company?

Yes, but you must hold at least 24% of the Shares in the Company for a minimum share value of 48,000 AED to qualify for an Investor Visa. In Addition you must hold the Shares in your individual capacity, not through another legal entity (even if you are the sole shareholder in the entity).

2. Can I apply for visas for myself and my staff as soon as I receive my Trade License?

No, you must first set up an Immigration Department and Labour Department Account for your Company.

3. What is the procedure and how long does it take to set up an Immigration Department and Labour Department Card?

In Dubai, your local partner or Local Service Agent must submit an application to the Immigration Department to obtain an Immigration Account Establishment Card. The process for this will take approximately 2-3 days.

Once the Immigration Establishment Card has been issued, your local partner or Local Service Agent must submit an application to the Labour Department to obtain a Labour Account Establishment Card. The process for this will take approximately 2-3 days.

You must have a PO Box, land line and fax numbers established for your Company as the Immigration Department and Labour Department will mail the Establishment Card to your PO Box only. You cannot pick it up at the relevant Department.

4. What is the cost for the Immigration Establishment Card and Labour Establishment Card?

The Government Fees for the Immigration Establishment Card is AED2200

The Government Fees for the Labour Establishment Card is AED1100

5. Once the Immigration and Labour Establishment Cards are issued, must I first issue a visa to the Manager of the Company?

No, it is not a requirement to issue the visa to the Manager of the Company first.

6. Once the Immigration and Labour Establishment Cards are issued, is the local partner or Local Service Agent required to process visa applications?

No, but in order to process visa applications without the local partner or Local Service Agent a power of attorney must be issued in the form approved by the Labour Department.

7. What is the procedure for obtaining an employment visa for employees?

Employer should make an application for a residence visa (employment visa) to the immigration authorities.
Employer must obtain approval for the employee from Ministry of Labour.  Initial Approval will take 2-3 Weeks.
Once an employer receives the labour approval, the immigration will issue Entry Permit Visa (otherwise called the pink visa) to an employee to enter the UAE.
The Employee and Employer must sign an Employment Contract in the form provided by the Labour Department.
Employee should go to a government hospital or medical clinic for a health check. The medical check is a blood test and chest X-ray for HIV(AIDS), Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, Tuberculosis (TB), Leprosy, and Syphilis. If results come back positive for any of those conditions, the person is deported with immediate effect. Therefore employee should pass the visa medical examination from the authorized Medical Fitness Services Center before stamping the visa. The Medical Fitness Test can be completed in 2-3 days or in one day if submitted as urgent.
Employee must then apply for an Emirates ID . The Emirates ID can be issued within one week and will be sent to the P.O Box of the Company or to be collected from the Emirates post office. You cannot pick it up at the relevant Department
Employer or the PRO of the company then goes back to the DNRD with all the necessary supporting documents to stamp the visa on employees passport. The Stamping of the Passport with the Visa will take 2-4 Days.
All these requirements should be satisfied within 60 days of the employee’s entry into UAE on the entry permit visa. But it is advisable to meet the requirement as early as possible.
Note: While applying the residence visa for particular professions you need to show your credentials like educational qualifications. Your credentials need to be authenticated both by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and by the embassy or consulate of the UAE in your home country.


8. How long is the Employment Visa valid for?

The Visa is valid for a period of 2 or 3 years depending on the nationality of the applicant; and may be renewed for additional periods. There are no restrictions on the number of renewals.


9. What are the Government Fees for processing an Employment Visa?

Fees: AED 4,500/-
Security Deposit: AED 3,000/-

10. When can I get the Security Deposit Back?

There are two options:
a) Cancel the visa in order to change/amend the status
b) Cancel the visa and Exit the country

 

11. How many visas am I allowed to issue for my office?

The general rule is 1 visa per 80 sq/m.  However, this may vary depending on the nature of the business. You can submit a request to the Ministry of Labor to open the quota of the company which will be approved or rejected by the Ministry on case per case basis.

12. Am I required to provide accommodation to my staff?

Yes, but only if you have more than 15 employees?

13. Can I provide shared accommodation in apartments or villas?

No

14. How many persons are permitted in an apartment or villa?

No

15. Am I permitted to provide accommodation through labour accommodation providers?

Yes

 

16. Can I sub-contract staff to work for in the Business?

Yes, but only from licensed labour supply companies.

17. Am I required to provided transportation to my employees to come to work?

No, but many employers with large number of staff in various industries do provide transportation through company owned vehicles or transportation service providers.

18. Am I required to provide health insurance to my staff?

Yes


19. What is the minimum and maximum time for the probation period in an employment contract?

There is no minimum, but the maximum is 6 months.

20. If I terminate an employee during probation am I required to give him/her notice?

No. Notice to terminate is not required during the probation period.

 

21. Can I charge the employee for the visas fees and costs incurred if I terminate the employee during Probation?

No, you cannot charge the visas fees and costs to the employee, however, you can charge the costs of any training provided to the employee.

22. Am I required to pay the air ticket for the Employee to return back to his/her country?

Yes, unless the employee was locally hired; but this should be mentioned in the Employment Contract.