If you want to contract in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, or any other emirates in the UAE, one of the most critical steps will be securing the proper permit. Due to frequently changing rules and regulations, it can be difficult for contractors to get the permits they need.
Getting the right permit
To work in the UAE, contractors need to secure a Residence Visa. Due to the strict governmental regulations in the UAE, there have been a number of foreign citizens penalized for working on a Visit Visa whilst waiting for their Residence Permit to be processed. The penalties are high, including fines, deportation and imprisonment. Therefore, we recommend that consultants do not enter UAE on a visit visa if they intend to work.
Time frames and costs: A Residence Visa is valid for two years, as changed by UAE Labour Law (1 January 2011). As of May 2012, the cost of a Residence Visa application for consultants outside the UAE is 10,500 AED, or 11,700 AED for consultants inside the UAE. These figures can change regularly, so it’s important to seek out the latest information.
Contractors also need an entry permit, which is issued before the consultant’s arrival as part of the Residence Visa application.
Time frames and costs: The standard processing time for the entry permit is 8-10 working days after the required documents have been received and the application has been submitted (there may be some delay during the month of Ramadan). We can’t control how fast authorities process applications, but we continuously monitor the situation. For an additional fee of 2,000 AED (€420), you can speed up the application process so that it’s issued between 5-7 days.
Once in country, it will take a further 7 days to obtain the residence stamp.
Note: Citizens of the Arab Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) member states (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia) do not need an entry permit or Residence Visa. Their GCC card is sufficient to work and reside in UAE.
Using umbrella companies to organise work permits
We keep our information as up to date as possible, but our sponsorship partners are experts in the local immigration law of the UAE. They specialize in work permits, and can sponsor contractors on UAE work permits.
Advantages of working with umbrella companies
There are numerous benefits to working with our partners, such as:
- full compliance with local immigration laws
- full compliance with tax law in UAE and your home country
- specialized tax advice, ensuring you keep the largest percentage of your earnings as possible
- the ability to work with any end client for any duration
- assistance for including spouses or dependents
- the security of working with a well-established market leader