• Taxation/ Visa

    UAE to introduce VAT Tax Refund Scheme for Tourists

    UAE to introduce VAT Tax Refund Scheme for Tourists

    The UAE Federal Tax Authority (FTA) has announced a tax refund scheme for tourists to claim refunds of Value Added Tax (VAT). Tax invoices issued as of 18 November 2018 and forward will be eligible for the refund.

    VAT refunds will be valid on purchases over AED 250 at more than 4,000 participating retail stores. Requirements for retailers to register for the scheme include the production of a Tax Registration Number (TRN), submitting a request to the FTA to participate in the scheme and meeting the financial credit requirements specified by the system. Eligible outlets will be identifiable via visible posters displayed on their storefronts.

    Tourists will receive refunds through a special refund kiosk at their point of departure upon production of the valid tax invoices, copies of their passport and a credit card. The VAT will then be refunded either in cash or by credit card.

    The scheme will be introduced in two phases; from the 18 November 2018, Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah international airports will implement the digital refund systems and as of mid-December 2018, the system will be fully operational and include all airports and land and sea ports in the UAE.

    For any of your legal requirements please get in touch with Davidson & Co today.

  • Economy/ Private Client

    Davidson & Co – start planning for the future with us

    start planning for the future with us

    At Davidson & Co, we pride ourselves on being one of a limited number of firms within the region offering a full range of private client services including succession planning and asset protection for individuals and High Net Worths; family governance and advice to family offices. Essentially, we help clients plan for the future. At the helm of our team and cementing our position as market leaders, is Andrew Young, who features amongst the top 50 private client advisors globally in the prestigious Citywealth Leaders List as listed in Chambers HNW 2018 “Leaders in their Field” for the UAE.

    The value of making arrangements for families and the next generations to come is often overlooked, and there is a common misconception that succession planning and asset protection is only relevant for the rich and famous, or the elderly.

    When it comes to succession planning and asset protection, there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach. Davidson & Co we are able to tailor our services depending on a client’s personal circumstances and wishes. This may range anywhere from the preparation of a Will through the DIFC Wills and Probate Registry Service Centre, to the implementation of an offshore Private Trust Company (PTC) trust structure, foundation or single family office for high net worth individuals who own assets located all around the world.

    Over the past number of years there has been a significant drive to enhance and mature the succession planning vehicles available in the region and there is, therefore, no better time to start planning for the future with us.

    Our team would be delighted to hear from you.

    Victoria Smylie
    vsmylie@davidsoncolaw.com

  • Property

    Davidson & Co’s Real Estate team continue to feature heavily in high-end Dubai property transactions

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    Recently the press has reported on several high-value residential property transactions which have taken place across Dubai, including the sale of properties on the Palm and in the exclusive Emirates Hills community. One of the biggest residential property deals this year was featured in Gulf News involving the sale of an AED 90m villa in Emirates Hills, taking top spot as the highest value deal in Q3 2018.

    The firm’s Real Estate team continues to act in respect of many of these high-end residential property transactions for which Dubai has become famous. Founder and Managing Partner, Jonathon Davidson comments: “Our team has done many of these deals in which the property transaction is only part of it. Often accompanying the transaction is negotiating and dealing with the sale of high-end fixtures and fittings, fine art and decorative pieces which require specialist experience and expertise to navigate.

    Our specialist property lawyers act for a number of high net worth and ultra-high net worth individuals buying and selling property in Dubai. Our team has specialist expertise in this area and in-depth knowledge of the local laws and regulations around all types of real estate transactions in the region. We can advise and guide you through the entire process of buying and selling property in Dubai and help with protecting your interests.

    Davidson & Co is one of the region’s foremost boutique commercial and private client law firms. Contact us today for a confidential discussion on any real estate matter and to find out how we can help.

    Our team would be delighted to hear from you.

    Yousif Ahmed

    yahmed@davidsoncolaw.com

  • Visa

    UAE visa program further expanded

    UAE visa program further expanded

    Divorcees, widows, tourists, and children without a sponsor are amongst those who will benefit from the new visa reforms.

    What is changing?

    • Widows and divorcees will now be granted an automatic one-year residency visa valid from the date of death or divorce. This visa will also cover any children living in the UAE below the age of 18. The charge for cancelling a previous visa stands at AED 100 and the new visa will cost AED 100.
    • Tourists who wish to extend their stay in the UAE will no longer be required to leave the country once their 30-day visit visa expires, and instead will now be able to apply for up to two further visa extensions of 30 days each, allowing visitors to extend their holidays by up to 60 days at a time. The cost of each extension application will be AED 600.
    • Recent high school graduates will have the chance to apply for a one-year residency visa costing AED 100. This visa is renewable for an additional year upon expiry at a further cost of AED 100.

    When can I apply?

    The new visa changes take effect from 21 October 2018.

  • Employment/ Legal Update

    New labour insurance initiative to enhance rights of employees and free up cash liquidity for UAE companies

    New labour insurance initiative

    From 15 October 2018, the UAE Cabinet has announced a new labour deposit scheme initiative which will enhance the rights of employees and free up cash liquidity for UAE companies.

    Currently, for each new employee hired, a company is obliged to pay an AED 3,000 deposit to the Ministry of Labour as a way of securing that employees receive all or part of their entitlements due and payable at the end of their termination of employment, such as end of service gratuity, holiday pay and payment in lieu of notice, if a company is unable to pay,

    Typically however, the structure of the current deposit scheme is limited to the value of the deposit and as a result, those employees who are owed significantly more than AED 3000 on the termination of their employment, are left with a substantial shortfall in the event that their employer is unable to meet the applicable payments.

    From 15 October 2018, the proposed new deposit scheme will drastically reduce the deposit payable by employers to just AED 60 for each new employee, thereby significantly reducing the upfront costs of recruiting staff, together with releasing liquidity which is currently tied up in the Ministry of Labour.

    Furthermore, the new system entitles employees to payouts of up to AED 20,000 by raising the insurance coverage, a marked increase on the current deposit amount, and fantastic news for all workers in the region, particularly vulnerable blue-collar workers.

    As with any insurance policy, successful claims may lead to increased premiums however for now, both businesses and employees alike will benefit from the new deposit scheme.

    For more information on company set up in the UAE or any other legal requirements please contact:

    Finlay Donaldson on +971 4 343 8897

  • Corporate Law/ Employment/ Property

    Retirement Visas to be made available in the UAE

    PM-UAE

    The UAE will offer 5-year visas to expats aged over 55 who meet certain criteria in yet another relaxation of the region’s visa regulations.

    Who can apply?

    This Retirement Visa will be available for expats who are over the age of 55 and have retired from working.

    What are the criteria?

    Applicants must be over the age of 55 and retired. They must also meet one of the following criteria:

    1. Have investments in real estate worth over AED 2 million (~£415,000.00);
    2. Have financial savings of not less than AED 1 million (~£208,000.00); or
    3. Provide proof of a monthly income of over AED 20,000.00 (~£4,150.00).

    How long is the visa valid?

    The visa will be valid for 5 years, providing that one or more of the above criteria is continually met. Initial indications are that the visa will possibly be renewable.

    When can I apply?

    The UAE cabinet recently announced that the application process will open sometime in 2019.

    Who will benefit?

    Given the age requirement, the new retirement visa will benefit those who wish to continue to reside in the UAE full time without the more stringent criteria imposed by work visas.

    For further information on Retirement Visas or for any other legal queries, please contact Victoria Smylie on +971 4 343 8897

  • Corporate Law/ Family Law/ Legal Update/ Wills

    DIFC Wills Service Centre launches new Business Owners Will

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    The DIFC Wills Service Centre (DIFC WSC) has launched a new Business Owners Will to encompass both free zone and UAE onshore company shares (including RAKICC registered companies). The Business Owners Will replaces the DIFC WSC’s Free Zone Company Will, which was previously available to encompass only free zone company shares.

    The new purpose Will can encompass up to five separate shareholdings in any free zone or UAE onshore company incorporated in the Emirates of Dubai and/or Ras Al Khaimah, and will enable non-Muslim testators over the age of 21 to designate which beneficiary(ies) they wish their company shares to be transferred to on their passing. There are many advantages to ensuring that there is a succession plan in place with regards to the ownership and management of any company, including business continuity, sustainability, and reassurance that the business will be left in capable hands.

    The introduction of the Business Owners Will is intended to allow testators to take advantage of the proposed changes to the foreign ownership system of UAE based enterprises, announced by the Cabinet early this year. Once implemented, the new law will allow certain foreign investors to have 100% sole ownership of their enterprise, bringing the position of onshore LLC companies in line with existing free zone and offshore entities.

    The Business Owner Will is available to both UAE residents and foreign investors, and can be registered in person or via the DIFC WSC’s online Virtual Registry.

    For further information on the Business Owner Will or any of the DIFC WSC’s wills, please contact Victoria Smylie or Finlay Donaldson on +971 4 343 8897.

     

  • Corporate Law/ Family Law/ Legal Update/ Private Client

    Davidson & Co admitted to prestigious Legalink global network

    Legalink Secondary Signature Full Tagline on White[1]

    Davidson & Co is delighted to announce that the firm has been admitted into the prestigious Legalink network, a global legal network comprising more than 60 individually approved and selected law firms from around the globe.

    Davidson & Co prides itself in its ability to offer a full service to clients, and by becoming a member of Legalink, Davidson & Co is now in a position to not only offer clients in-depth legal knowledge of proceedings in the UAE, but also access to dependable, first-hand legal advice from over 3,000 professionals worldwide.

    Davidson & Co recognises that in our ever expanding and internationalised economy, our clients’ private wealth and assets are no longer confined to one jurisdiction, and this most recent accolade cements the firm’s goal to understand the needs of its clients, add value whenever possible, and to ensure ongoing development and success.

    Further information on Legalink or its members can be found at https://www.legalink.ch.

    Alternatively, please contact either Victoria Smylie at vsmylie@davidsoncolaw.com, or Yousif Ahmed at yahmed@davidsoncolaw.com, both of whom would be delighted to answer any questions you may have on the network.

  • 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.