The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is strategically located between Europe, Africa and Asia. It bridges lucrative markets in Asia, Africa, and Europe. This prime location facilitates trade and logistics, offering businesses access to a vast consumer base exceeding 2 billion people. Coupled with its world-class airports and seaports, the UAE acts as a seamless gateway to regional and global markets.

Due to a continuous flow of new business opportunities, investor friendly legislation, a robust financial system, well developed infrastructure for business and life, and availability of people resources, the UAE may be an ideal business location for multiple purposes:

  • Creating holding, trading, financing, support platform(s) for a group’s international business
  • Conducting regional business from a hub in the UAE
  • Conducting local business in the UAE

A number of immediate and long-term initiatives are intended to foster the business environment and promote development within the Emirates.

This guide seeks to provide you with initial and practical information on doing business in the UAE, particularly from the perspective of an inbound investor. Please also refer to our website for the latest developments.

Recent highlights

The National Agenda for Entrepreneurship and SMEs aims to establish the UAE as an entrepreneurial nation by 2031. The Agenda has seven themes that cover its activities. They are: ease of doing business, innovation, business support, digital transformation, funding, human capital and increasing demand.

The UAE Ministry of Finance issued Federal Decree-Law No. 47 of 2022 on the Taxation of Corporations and Businesses. This Law provides the legislative basis for the introduction and implementation of the Federal Corporate Tax in the UAE and is effective for tax periods starting on or after 1st June 2023.

The New Immigration Regulations (Federal Decree No. 29 of 2021, Cabinet Decision No. 8 of 2021 regulating Golden Residence Permits and Cabinet Decision No. 65 of 2022) divide residence permits into two main types depending on whether the purpose of stay in the UAE is related to work or not, and identify certain categories of applicants eligible for the Golden Visa and Green Visa.

Under the New Labor Law (Federal Law Number 33 of 2021, and Cabinet Resolution No. 1 of 2022):

  • Emiratization quotas have increased from 1 January 2023 with the purpose of achieving an overall rate of increase by 10% by 2026. Emiratization does not currently apply to Free Zone Companies.
  • The mandatory unemployment insurance scheme was implemented in the UAE from 1st January 2023.

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