General and Legal News from the UAE – October 2021 №1


published on 11 October 2021 | reading time approx. 4 minutes


The following provides a brief overview about the latest business, economic and legal news from all around the United Arab Emirates and GCC region.



Saudi Arabia bans ministers from sitting in company boards

A ministerial decree changed that ministers in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia are no longer allowed to chair or serve as a member of the boards of companies.
“Any minister is not allowed to chair the board of any company or serve as a member”, an official government spokesperson said.

An exception will be granted to those whose chairmanship or membership is by order from the Prime Minister.
Currently the Minister of Finance, Mohammed al-Jadaan, and the Minister of State, Ibrahim A. Al-Assaf are Board Members of the state-run energy company Saudi Arabian Oil Co. as well as of the Public Investment Fund. The kingdom’s sovereign wealth fund also has the Minister of State, Commerce, Investment and Tourism as board members. Furthermore, the Minister of Tourism, the Minister of Industry and the Minister of Mineral Resources are Board Members of the state-owned Saudi Arabian Military Industries.

Visa reforms for UAE residents

As part of the UAE’s ‘Project of the 50’, the government has announced new initiatives aiming at enhancing competitiveness of the labour market and at creating greater stability for residents. These initiatives include visa reforms (new visas, work permits allowing students to have part time jobs) and quotas for local employees in private sector companies.
Employees who had lost their job are under the new initiatives given permission to stay in the UAE for up to six months contrary to the current given 30 days. This will give employees enough time to look for a new job and for the UAE the benefit to keep talent within the country.
Another major change is done to the residency and entry system. In order to place the UAE as a leading investment, work, entrepreneurship and education destination and to keep talent in the country the entry and residency system is being upgraded. Regulatory changes include the following changes and upgrades:
  • Extension of business trip permits from 3 months to 6 months
  • Sponsorship of parents under the visa of direct family members
  • One-year residency extension for humanitarian cases
  • Extension of children’s age limit on parent’s residency from 18 years to 25 years
  • Extension of grace period upon job loss or retirement to 90-180 days.
These reforms all aim, in celebration of the Year of the 50th to increase the UAE’s competitiveness and create better security and stability for the country’s residents.

UAE nationals not allowed to fly to 16 countries

The UAE had previously suspended in- and outbound travel to 16 countries. Consequently, UAE nationals are still not allowed to the following 16 countries:
Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Democratic Republic Congo, India, Liberia, Namibia, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Uganda, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Zambia. Exceptional travel permission is given to those going for urgent medical treatment or those required for official economic & scientific missions or diplomatic missions.
UAE residents who have been vaccinated with two doses of an WHO approved vaccine holding an entry permit issued by ICA or GDRFA as applicable and are above 16 fall under the category allowed to travel.

RTA to offer free rides for EXPO visitors from 9 locations in Dubai

In celebration of the EXPO 2020 in Dubai, RTA started offering free rides for Expo visitors from 9 different locations across Dubai. The buses were given the name “Expo Ride” to be differentiated from regular buses. Furthermore, there will be commuting buses picking up Expo visitors from different EXPO Parking locations and carrying them between different EXPO Gates.
A total of 203 buses have been deployed within the UAE by the RTA whose Director General and Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), HE Mattar Al Tayer, confirmed the RTA’s readiness to support a smooth logistics and transport for visitors of the EXPO. 
57 buses have been deployed in Dubai to carry EXPO visitors form 9 different stations to the EXPO location; namely: Palm Jumeirah Station, Al Baraha Station, Al Ghubaiba Station, Etisalat Station, Global Village Station, International City Station, Dubai Silicon Oasis Station, Dubai Mall Station, Dubai International Airport Station.


Private Sector employees in Dubai must have work permit & insurance for Golden Visa

According to the UAE Cabinet Resolution No. 56 of 2018 foreign national are eligible to obtain a long-term residency visa – the so-called Golden Visa. On 1st July 2021 the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratization (MOHRE) published a statement that any resident employed in the private sector eligible for the Golden Visa must have a work permit from the MOHRE and must be employed by a private entity or private company. Provisions of the Employment Law are relevant to the concerned employees. As Aert.96 of the Employment Law clarifies “ The employer must provide employees with means of medical care according to the standards decided by the MOHRE in collaboration with the Ministry of Health.”
Additionally, in accordance with Art.10 of the Dubai Health Insurance Law, it is every employer’s obligation to acquire and provide health insurance to its employees in Dubai. Furthermore, in accord with Art.10 of the Dubai Health Insurance Law, the employer shall:

  1. Provide Health Insurance coverage for employees, in accordance with the health insurance policy applicable.
  2. Bear the costs for such health insurance coverage rather than making the beneficiaries bear such costs.
  3. Verify that the Health Insurance of the employees is valid for the length of their work period.
  4. Bear the health services and medical intervention costs in emergencies for any of the employees, if any of them has no health insurance in accordance with the provisions of this law.
  5. Give employees their health insurance card.
  6. Provide the health insurance policy upon the employees’ residence issuance or renewal.
  7. Any other obligations specified by the authority pursuant to the resolution issued.

Establishment of the Dubai Authority for Economic Zones

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum has issued the new Law No. (16) of 2021 that creates the new Dubai Integrated Economic Zones Authority. The Establishment of the Dubai Authority for Economic Zones will be the umbrella for Dubai Silicon Oasis, Dubai Airport Free Zone and Dubai Commerce City who will operate under the supervision of the newly established Authority and will approximately accommodate 5,000 companies covering 20 key economic sectors with more than 30,000 employees.
This independent legal entity with financial and administrative autonomy will be under the chairmanship of HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed and Dr. Muhammed Al Zarooni as CEO.
According to HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, the establishment of the new authority is a vital move to further enhance Dubai’s global competitiveness and raise its investment attractiveness as business and investors will be provided with newly introduced frameworks in order to improve provided services. Anticipatedly, investors and businesses will push economic growth thus adding value to the national economy.
By this new establishment the government puts emphasis on the importance of the private sector and recognizes the private sector as “a major partner in our development journey over the next 50 years (…) the government supports their growth and success. Our objective is to make Dubai the destination of choice for global investors and a major focal point for global commerce”, Sheikh Mohammed was quoted.
The economic activity regulated by the Authority accounts for 5 per cent of Dubai’s GDP.
One of the main goals of the newly established authority is to further strengthen Dubai’s international economic competitiveness by attracting more local and international companies to set up their headquarter in the Integrated Economic Zones in Dubai. 

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