• Uncategorized

    6-month UAE visa announced for job seekers

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    The UAE Cabinet have recently announced plans for a six-month visa which provides for individuals who have overstayed their current visa but wish to continue working in the country.

    The move will be welcomed by residents looking for employment and will replace the current system whereby individuals are either provided with a grace period of only 30 days to change their visa status or are required to exit the country and re-enter on a new visa.

    Individuals wishing to adjust or renew their current visa will be able to do so for a fee without also having to leave and re-enter the country.

    Further proposed amendments include a free 48-hour visa for transit tourists and the option for individuals who entered the UAE illegally to leave voluntarily with a “no entry” stamp for two years.

    The new visa rules are intended to be introduced in the fourth quarter of 2018 with the specific costs and procedures to be announced in due course.

    To find out more about visas in the UAE and for help with employment law or any other legal requirements please get in touch.

  • Corporate Law/ Economy

    Ministry of Economy: 100% foreign investment proposed for both mainland and free zone companies within the UAE

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    The UAE consists of various corporate structures ranging from sole proprietorships to fully fledged private companies. The mainland companies as well as the businesses operating within the free zones, comprise mostly of Limited Liability Companies (LLC).

    At present, the rule is that only the companies based within the free zones give the foreign investor a full 100% right to ownership of their business. The law within the on-shore civil law jurisdiction that governs companies outside of the free zones in the UAE, requires an Emirati national to possess a majority ownership of 51% while the investor can hold only a 49% ownership. This was done to boost local entrepreneurship and to stimulate national business growth.

    The United Arab Emirates has however proposed a new resolution that encourages greater FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) by way of providing sole ownership to foreign investors, without the need for an Emirati national to be a majority stakeholder in the business.

    Recently in May, at the UAE Cabinet meeting chaired by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, the regulation for businesses within the free zones was amended to now allow foreign investors to own a full 100% ownership of their companies in the free zones.

    It is unclear as to when the resolution will be implemented but Hamad Bu Amim, President of the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, has stated that, “The move sends a clear message that the UAE is a competitive market which is open to international investors and conducive to business growth. At the same time, I expect that the new measures will help raise the UAE’s global profile as a preferred investment destination, positively impact the local business environment and ultimately enhance the country’s economic competitiveness”.

    For more information on company set up in the UAE or any other legal requirements please get in touch with Davidson & Co today.

  • Economy/ Employment/ Family Law

    Visa amnesty begins in the UAE

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    Starting August 1 2018, the UAE government have granted a three-month general visa amnesty for foreigners violating the residency law.

    All individuals who are overstaying in the country can either regularize their visa status legally or exit the country without paying overstay fines.

    For those who wish to leave the UAE, amnesty-seekers have to get an exit permit and emergency certificate (if they are without a passport) and have a flight booked for within 10 days of making an application.

    For those who wish to stay in the UAE, individuals can regularize their status if they have a job offer or apply for a six-month temporary visa to search for a new job. Additionally, absconders can get an absconding case closed for a nominal fee.

    The amnesty will run until October 31 3018 with a possible two-month extension depending upon the circumstances.

    For any of your visa, employment or company set up requirements please do not hesitate to get in touch.

  • Uncategorized

    Davidson & Co Featuring in The Legal 500: Private Client Country Comparative Guide

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    Davidson & Co are delighted to announce that Andrew Young (Head of Private Client Services) and Victoria Smylie (Associate) were asked to contribute to the prestigious Legal 500 and The In-House Lawyer Country Comparative Guide, for the UAE.  For an overview of the most FAQ’s with regards to private client law in the region, with a specific focus on Dubai, please click here.

    For further information on how Davidson & Co can assist you with regards to wealth planning and asset protection, please do not hesitate to contact either Andrew Young on ayoung@davidsoncolaw.com or Victoria Smylie on vsmylie@davidsoncolaw.com.

  • Economy/ Employment/ Private Client

    The UAE launches a 10-year residence visa

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    The outcome of a cabinet meeting chaired by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum on Sunday 20th May 2018 is set to improve the trust and confidence of foreign investors, creating countless new opportunities within the UAE.

    The meeting established the implementation of a 10-year residence visa aimed at applying to foreign investors and specialists such as doctors, engineers, researchers and scientists. The new rule will also apply to the family members of any such entitled persons. Eligibility for the visa will also extend to top performing students.

    His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum stated, “Our open environment, tolerant values, state-of-the-art infrastructure, and flexible legislation are the best plan to attract international investment and exceptional talents. The UAE will remain the land of opportunity, the best environment for realising human dreams and unleashing their extraordinary potential”.

    The new law is expected to be implemented by the end of 2018.

    Amendments to Foreign Ownership (Company) Laws

    In the same meeting, the Cabinet also announced proposed changes to the foreign ownership system of UAE based enterprises, approving a decision to allow 100 percent ownership for international investors in specific business sectors.

    The current position, found under Article 10(1) of the Federal Law No. 2 of 2015 (UAE Commercial Companies Law), requires onshore companies inaugurated by international persons to have a UAE National partner holding a 51 percent share of the company. The introduction of the new law would allow certain foreign investors to have 100 percent sole ownership of their enterprise, bringing the position of onshore LLC companies in line with existing Free Zones, and offshore entities.

    For any of your visa, employment or company set up requirements please do not hesitate to get in touch.

  • Employment

    New license required for Dubai social media influencers

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    Social media influencers who promote brands, products and businesses for financial gain have until the first week of June 2018 to apply for a special e-media license, under new regulations issued by the National Media Council (NMC) in March 2018.

    The requirement falls from the NMC’s recognition that an advanced legislative and regulatory environment for the UAE media sector is vital – especially given the highly influential and widespread marketing tool channelled and promoted by electronic media.

    In accordance with the draft law, paid influencers must satisfy two mandatory requirements:

    • They must have a valid trade license in place; and
    • They must obtain a special e-media license from the NMC – costing in the region of AED 15,000.

    The latter of the two licenses is essential as it enables influencers to post content that advertises and endorses brands on various social media platforms.

    We understand that freezones such as the Dubai Creative Clusters Authority (DCCA) and twofour54 can issue a freelancer visa, which would satisfy the first mandatory requirement.

    Any failure to comply with the new rules could result in the individual incurring a fine of up to AED 5,000 and closure of their social media accounts, blogs and other related websites – a potentially far reaching consequence given the potential for some bloggers to earn more than USD 25,000 per post.

    The new law has sparked debates between balancing regulatory compliance and enhancing competition in an increasingly lucrative and ever-evolving market, on the one hand, and stifling the growth of smaller “micro-influencers” on the other hand. However, it is clear that individuals must profit from their posts in order to be captured by these requirements – those who simply share everyday posts with followers without any financial gain do not require a license.

    This article is intended to notify individuals of recent legal and regulatory developments in social media based on a variety of published sources. In any situation, individual facts would need to be fully explored before legal advice could be provided.

    For further information on how Davidson & Co can assist you and your regulatory requirements, or to discuss in more detail any of the general principles raised above, please contact us on 04 343 8897 where one of our team will be delighted to assist you.

  • Uncategorized

    UAE Labour Law – FAQ’s

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    UAE Labour Law – FAQ’s 

    With an expat community making up over 80% of the total population of the UAE, Federal Law No.8 of 1980 otherwise known as the UAE Labour Law, is one piece of legislation that every employee in the private sector should familiarise themselves with.  To assist, we answer some of the most frequently asked questions.

    What type of contract is available?

    There are two forms of contract available under the UAE Labour Law:-

    1. Limited/fixed term contract – Generally a start and end date is provided for in the body of the contract up to a maximum of 2 years. Unless the contract is renewed by mutual consent prior to the end date, the contract is cancelled automatically. A renewed fixed term contract may only be for a maximum of 2 years service. An employer faces penalties for terminating a limited/fixed term contract before the end date unless it can be proved the employee breached one of the grounds provided for in Article 120.
    2. Unlimited term contract – An open ended contract with no specified end date. Generally seen as more flexible, an unlimited term contract may be terminated by either party provided that the notice period provisions as outlined in the contract have been correctly adhered to (UAE Labour law provides for a minimum notice period of 30 days). Similar to a limited/fixed term contract, an employee may be dismissed without notice if it can be proved that one of the grounds provided for in Article 120 has been breached.

    What are the maximum working hours?

    The maximum normal working hours for adult workers are 8 hours a day or 48 hours a week, although there are exceptions depending on the nature of your employment. During the holy month of Ramadan, normal working hours are reduced by 2 hours a day.

    What is the maximum probationary period?

    Any probationary period must not exceed 6 months and an employer is unable to place an employee on any subsequent probationary period. The probation period counts towards continuous service for purposes of gratuity calculation (see further below).

    What is the annual holiday entitlement?

    Employees are entitled to 2 days of annual leave per month having served between 6 months and 1 year of employment. 30 days annual leave if the employee has completed over 1 year of employment. Any annual holiday entitlement is in addition to a number of UAE official holidays.

    What is the annual sick leave entitlement?

    Employees are entitled to a total of 90 days sick leave a year calculated as follows:-

    • Full pay for the first 15 days
    • Half pay for the following 30 days
    • Unpaid leave for remaining 45 days

    Sick leave is not applicable during an employee’s probationary period.

    Who is eligible for end of service gratuity and how is it calculated?

    If an employee has completed at least twelve months in continuous employment with an employer, then they are entitled to payment of an end of service gratuity upon the termination of their employment. The end of service gratuity is calculated as follows:-

    • 21 days wages for every year of employment completed, and for each year of the first five years of employment (calculated pro rata for any additional days served).
    • 30 days wages for each additional year of employment after five years, (calculated pro rata for any additional days served) subject to the limitation that the total of the gratuity does not exceed two years salary.

    There are several restrictions on the payment of the end of service gratuity and the amount due depending on what grounds the contract was terminated on, and whether the contract is unlimited or fixed.

    What happens if there is a dispute between an employee and employer?

    In the event of a dispute between an employee and their employer, a complaint must be lodged by either party at the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation, in the Emirate where the company is situated. On the submission of a complaint, the Ministry will summon both parties in an attempt to amicably settle matters. In the event that the dispute is unable to be settled at the Ministry, the case is referred within two weeks to the local courts to resolve.

    Any complaint must be submitted within one year from the date on which the amount or entitlement was due.

    This article is intended to be an introduction to the Labour Law in the UAE and a brief summary of some of the most frequently asked questions. In any situation, the individual facts of the employment and the circumstances surrounding the termination would need to be fully explored.

    For further information on how we can assist you in your enquiries regarding Labour Laws, or to discuss in more detail any of the general principles raised above, please contact us on 04 343 8897 where one of our team will be delighted to assist you.

    Please note that the DIFC has a separate legal framework for Employment matters.

     

  • Family Law/ Legal Update/ Private Client

    Enactment of the DIFC Foundations Law 2018 – enhancing succession planning and wealth structuring platforms in the region.

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    The long-awaited Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) Foundations Law 2018 (DIFC Law No 3 of 2018) has now come in to effect as of 21 March 2018. The new law, which is in addition to the pre-existing DIFC Companies Law and the newly reformed DIFC Trust Law, is intended to provide an enhanced framework for succession planning and wealth structuring platforms in the region.

    What is a Foundation?

    A Foundation is an incorporated legal entity, viewed as a hybrid between a company and a trust. Similar to that of a company, a Foundation is deemed to have a separate legal personality however, rather than being owned by shareholders or members, a Foundation is self-owned and administered by its Council, in accordance with the Foundation’s by-laws.

    A Foundation is established when the Founder places assets in to the Foundation to be used in accordance with designated purposes and objects.

    DIFC Foundation Categories

    The DIFC Foundations law provides for four categories of Foundations based upon their objects; 1) objects which are exclusively charitable; 2) objects which are not charitable; 3) in order to provide benefits to persons identified in its Charter or By-laws and; 4) a combination of the above. For all categories of Foundations, commercial activities must not be carried out, except where deemed necessary for, and ancillary or incidental to. the Foundation’s objects.

    Different governance requirements will apply depending on which Foundation is created.

    Key Benefits

    • Flexibility
    • Degree of control maintained by Founder
    • Family involvement
    • Maintain family ties for geographically diverse families and/or assets
    • Continuity
    • Separate Legal Personality
    • Independent
    • Robust governance structure
    • Facilitates philanthropy

    Who will benefit from the DIFC Foundations Law?

    Foundations can be created for a variety of purposes, whether it be to assist the multi-generational family with asset protection, the High Net Worth individual with geographically diverse assets, an individual or family with philanthropic objectives, or a company or family office wishing to restructure, the DIFC Foundations regime is a welcome introduction for individuals, families, businesses, and entrepreneurs alike both locally and globally.

    For further information on DIFC Foundations please contact Victoria Smylie on +971 4 343 8897 or vsmylie@davidsoncolaw.com

     

     

     

  • Economy/ Legal Update/ Taxation/ Uncategorized

    Federal Tax Authority announce list of Designated Zones in the UAE

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    Cabinet decision No. (59) of 2017 on the Executive Regulations of the Federal Decree-Law No. (8) of 2017 (UAE VAT Law) has provided for 20 Designated Freezones in the UAE (as listed below), which will be treated for VAT purposes as being outside the UAE.

    Under the UAE VAT Law and Executive Regulations, a Designated Zone is defined as “a specific, fenced geographic area which has security measures and customs controls in place to monitor entry and exit of individuals and movement of goods to and from the area.”

    Subject to the below exceptions, in general, if a supply is deemed to have taken place in a designated zone, VAT should not be charged. The place of supply is generally determined by looking at the location of the goods, activities or parties to a transaction. The rules are as follows:

    • Goods that arrive into a Designated Zone from outside the UAE are not treated as imported into the UAE, and no VAT should be charged on the arrival of such goods; and
    • A transfer or sale of goods from a place in the UAE which isn’t a Designated Zone into a Designated Zone is not an export for VAT purposes, and therefore will not give rise to zero-rated VAT treatment.

    The transfer of goods between Designated Zones will not be subject to VAT, as stated in Article (51) of the VAT law, provided both of the following conditions are met:

    • The goods (or part of the goods) are not released, used, or altered during the transfer between Designated Zones; and
    • The transfer is in accordance with the rules for customs suspension pursuant to GCC Common Customs Law.

    The Federal Tax Authority may also request that, where goods are moved between Designated Zones, the owner of the goods provides a guarantee in respect of the VAT in case the conditions outlined above are not met.

    However, there are exceptions within the VAT Executive Regulations that state that certain types of supplies taking place in the Designated Zones are to be treated as if they actually took place within the UAE, and are therefore subject to VAT. These supplies include:

    • Any services provided;
    • Water and all forms of energy; and
    • Goods sold for use or consumption.

    Designated Zones:

    Abu Dhabi: Free Trade Zone of Khalifa Port; Abu Dhabi Airport Free Zone; and Khalifa Industrial Zone.

    Dubai: Jebel Ali Free Zone (North-South); Dubai Cars and Automotive Zone (Ducamz); Dubai Textile City; Free Zone Area in Al Quoz; Free Zone Area in Al Qusais; Dubai Aviation City; and Dubai Airport Free Zone.

    Sharjah: Hamriyah Free Zone; and Sharjah Airport International Free Zone.

    Ajman: Ajman Free Zone.

    Umm Al Quwain: Umm Al Quwain Free Trade Zone in Ahmed Bin Rashid Port; and Umm Al Quwain Free Trade Zone on Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Road.

    Ras Al Khaimah: RAK Free Trade Zone; RAK Maritime City Free Zone; and RAK Airport Free Zone.

    Fujairah: Fujairah Free Zone; and Fujairah Oil Industry Zone (FOIZ).

     

  • Economy/ Taxation

    Proposed removal of UAE from EU tax-haven blacklist

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    The UAE is amongst 8 countries recommended to be removed from the EU tax-haven blacklist. The blacklist was introduced by the EU in December of last year, as part of an initiative against tax evasion and to urge countries to observe and adhere to EU standards of tax matters.

    The recommendation for removal comes from the UAE Code of Conduct working group on business taxation, and is likely to be implemented towards the end of the month. The effect of the recommendation will see the UAE move from a list of countries which are deemed non-cooperative for tax purposes, to a gray list of countries that will be observed to ensure that their tax practices are compliant with EU standards.

    The recommendation is due to be discussed and approved by EU finance ministers at their next meeting on 23rd January 2018.