General and Legal News from the UAE – October 2022


published on 28 October 2022 | reading time approx. 5 minutes


This newsletter is intended to provide a brief overview about the latest business, economic and legal news from all around the United Arab Emirates and GCC region.



New UAE Golden Visa rules and long-term visit visas came into effect

New visa regulations in the UAE came into effect on 3 October 2022. 
The simplification of the visa system to 10 types of visas is one of the biggest reforms to the UAE visa system in recent years and a move that supports the country's competitiveness in tourism, business and education.
The main change for visitors entering the UAE is that the validity period of tourist visas will be extended from the current 30 days to 60 days.
There is also a five-year multiple-entry tourist visa that allows visitors to stay in the UAE for up to 90 days continuously. However, they may not exceed 180 days per year.
It will also become easier for residents to be granted a UAE golden visa, with simplified requirements and expanded talents able to apply. Public and real estate investors are covered in the expanded categories, as well as exceptional talents in fields that include art and culture, digital technology and sport. An array of scientists and professionals as well as frontline heroes are also eligible to apply.
In addition, the UAE Green Visa has been introduced. The five-year UAE Green Visa is a residence visa that allows its holder to sponsor themselves for five years without the need for a company to sponsor them, and also offers a number of benefits to family members.
Three categories of UAE nationals can apply for the green visa:
Freelancers or self-employed individuals, Investors or partners in commercial enterprises and highly skilled workers.
Several visas, including the one-year remote work visa, the five-year retirement visa and the two-year property owner visa, do not require a sponsor and can be renewed for the same period.
In addition, residents can sponsor their unmarried sons up to the age of 25 instead of 18 and their unmarried daughters regardless of their age.

Labour Law: Abolition of the three-year limit on the duration of fixed-term employment contracts

On 7 October, H.H. Sheikh Mohamed - Prime Minister and Vice-President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai - issued a directive lifting the three-year limit on the duration of fixed-term employment contracts in the private sector.
Under the amended legislation, employment contracts must have a specific duration agreed between the employer and employee, but "the law does not set a cap on this period".
The amendment will provide further stability and pave the way for companies and workers to enter into longer-term contractual arrangements.
The amended law governs employment relations in the private sector and do not apply to public sector roles.

Abu Dhabi: New campaign to protect the environment

Environmental officials in Abu Dhabi have launched a new campaign to raise public awareness about protecting the environment.
The Environment Agency Abu Dhabi has developed a free e-Green platform that will initially be made available to private and public schools.
According to the agency, it is the first collaborative environmental e-learning tool in the Middle East.
It aims to improve knowledge and awareness of the environment and promote conservation.
In the first phase, e-Green was launched for schools and will be available to the public in 2023.

UAE seizes AED 4.73 billion in assets in fight against money laundering and terrorist financing

The UAE has made significant progress in combating illicit financing in recent years.
More than AED 4.73 billion ($1.29 billion) worth of assets were seized and confiscated in the 12 months to the end of July, as the Arab world's second-largest economy steps up its fight against money laundering and terrorist financing.
The country's Financial Intelligence Unit - the central body that works closely with the authorities to identify links between the possible proceeds of crime, money laundering or terrorist financing - reported a 51 per cent increase in suspicious transaction reports (STRs) in the first quarter of this year compared to the same period last year.
The Executive Office said in August that the vast majority of these STRs were in the financial sector, which is a key pillar of the UAE economy.
The UAE takes these AML/CFT matters very seriously and this is why the Executive Office was created to provide leadership in the system and focus on shaping policies and strategies, collaboration and engagement.
Established in February last year, the Executive Office is tasked with overseeing the enforcement of the UAE National AML/CFT Strategy and the National Action Plan (NAP).
The strategy, with its 12 main objectives to be achieved between 2020 and 2023, defines the UAE's approach to building an integrated system to respond more quickly to money laundering offences and to combat the financing of terrorism and illicit organizations.
Primarily a national policy and coordination body for AML/CFT efforts, the Executive Office has a broad mandate to ensure that the UAE has a sustainable and resilient AML/CFT framework and currently works with more than 80 government and law enforcement agencies in the country. The Executive Office works with this group of experts and receives information to use in its tools and systems.
The plan is to increase the number of staff to 50 by the end of this year and add another 25 experts next year, mainly compliance and data experts.

New unemployment benefit scheme in the UAE comes into force

An unemployment benefit scheme for Emiratis and residents is now coming into effect in the UAE for the first time, providing compensation for a maximum of 3 months from the date of job loss. The unemployment insurance scheme - which was not supposed to come into effect until January next year - is compulsory and applies to both Emirati and foreign workers in the private and public sectors.
This new scheme is designed to provide social protection that ensures a decent life for Emiratis and resident workers during their unemployment and reduces business risks, and to help increase the attractiveness of the UAE's labour market.
Compensation will be paid for a maximum of three months from the date of job loss and will be 60 per cent of the employee's basic salary up to a maximum of AED 20,000 ($5.445) per month. The scheme applies to all government and private sector employees in the UAE. However, investors, such as owners of the establishments where they work, domestic helpers, part-time workers, workers under 18 years of age and pensioners who receive a pension and have started a new job, are not covered by the insurance scheme.

New Domestic worker law provides for fines of up to AED 10 million

The Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation is setting penalties to strengthen workers' rights under the domestic worker law that will come into force in December. The UAE will introduce new penalties against rogue recruiters and employers under the updated domestic worker legislation, including fines of up to AED 10 million.

The amended law, which is due to come into force on 15 December, is the latest move by the government to tighten regulations to protect thousands of workers - including maids, nannies, cooks and gardeners - in the Emirates.
The new guidelines will increase the number of violations of working conditions and regulations that can be punished with fines and/or imprisonment from four to eight.
The new penalties being introduced include:
  • Fines ranging from AED 20,000 to AED 100,000 and up to six months in prison for those who present false information or forged documents to employ domestic workers.
  • Fines of not less than AED 50,000 and not more than AED 200,000 are imposed on those who hire unlicensed workers, recruit staff but do not provide work, or use domestic worker permits for purposes other than those for which they were issued.
The same penalty applies to those who close down the operation of a recruitment agency without paying the wages owed to domestic workers.
Anyone who employs a worker under the age of 18 or helps a worker to escape or harbors him/her in order to exploit him/her for illegal activities is liable to a fine of up to AED 200,000.
Fines ranging from AED 200,000 to AED 1 million and imprisonment of up to one year can be imposed for attempting to employ a worker - on a full-time or temporary basis - without authorization and misusing the registration details for the ministry's online portal.
Fines for employing workers without authorization will be increased depending on the number of workers, up to a maximum of AED 10 million.
Penalties will be doubled for repeat offenders.
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