• 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

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    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

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    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.

  • 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.