The UAE has an open economy with a high per capita income and a sizable annual trade surplus. The GDP per capita is currently the 14th in the world and 3rd in the Middle East. Petroleum and natural gas exports play an important role in the economy, especially in Abu Dhabi. More than 85% of the UAE's economy was based on the exports of natural resources in 2009.

An enormous construction boom, an expanding manufacturing base, and a thriving services sector are helping the UAE diversify its economy. Nationwide, there is currently $350 billion worth of active construction projects. Aluminum, steel, iron and other forms of metal exports along with textile produce a significant amount of income and are expected to surpass the income brought in by petroleum and natural gas exports within the next 40 to 60 years.

Even in light of the well publicized issues Dubai have encountered in the recent past, the UAE, and more particularly Dubai and Abu Dhabi remains a region that international companies are trying to get a foothold in. As such there are an enormous number of opportunities for international contractors, recruiters and companies. 

What must be taken into account when looking to contract or provide services in the UAE is that you or your staff will require both Work Permit Sponsorship and local pay-roll. It is very difficult and time consuming to start a company in any of the emirates as a foreign owned enterprise. So if a company wishes to relocate their staff or source international contractors they will require a locally based Contractor Management Company to provide a fully employed local solution for their employees (Work Permits and local payroll).

This is particularly relevant for foreign recruitment agencies or consulting companies who are sending staff into the UAE. Incorporating locally takes ages and then the process of being registered to sponsor your workers is a nightmare. If you need to get on the ground fast we recommend putting your consultants through one of our partners until you have setup your own entity (should you choose to). Then once you are setup and appropriately licensed to operate you can transition your staff into your local office.

As an individual, working in the UAE can be a highly rewarding experience, an opportunity to experience living in the Middle East, high earning rates and paying zero income tax! Dubai is comfortably the most Western of all the Emirates with a thriving expatriate scene with most expatriates working in the UAE based there or Abu Dhabi. 

Our services in the UAE include:
Tax, Payroll and Employment Solutions for Clients and Individual Contractors
Sponsored Work Permits for Clients/Contractors/ Freelance Workers
Salary Packaging
Self-Employed / Pty Ltd Companies

Immigration Lawyers
Expatriate Tax specialists
Insurance (Private Health / Travel / Professional Indemnity)
Bank Account Opening

You can reach all our resources for the UAE from this page. 



- A summary of all UAE services that we offer


- Employment information about UAE

- Information about UAE

- Links and Resources


On the surface UAE is very enticing. For companies there is no corporation tax except for banks and oil companies. Additionally there is no withholding tax. For individuals there is no personal income tax at all. For foreign workers there are no social security taxes either for the employer (no payroll tax!) or the employee. So most companies and their employees won't be taxable in the Emirates.

However there are still some issues to be wary of, in particular tax in the home country of a company and individual. By utilising good tax planning you can ensure that double tax treaties and rules on tax residency work in your favour. If you want a local company to handle your tax, payroll and invoicing in UAE we have information about PEO services in UAE. Or maybe you'd like to work out your tax obligations in UAE yourself?

Company Tax in UAE

There are no taxes imposed on the income of companies resident in UAE, unless they are involved in oil & gas exporation or production, or they are a branch of a foreign bank. Oil and Gas companies are taxed at 50-55% whilst foreign bank branches are normally taxed at 20% although this may vary dependent on which of the 7 Emirates they are operating in.

However for a company to be resident in UAE it needs to be either 100% owned by Emirati residents or able to prove its property and income is not used for investment purposes.

Payroll Tax in UAE

UAE employers have to pay an Employer pension contribution of 12.5% of the gross salary of any local UAE employees. Foreign workers are exempt from this. Use our UAE Payroll Tax Calculator to work out your employer contributions.

Withholding Tax in UAE

There is no withholding tax in UAE at all. This means that dividends, interest, royalities, technical services, branch remittances, management and professional services are all exempt from withholding tax.

Individual Tax in UAE

The emirates won't charge foreign workers any form of tax on the work they do in the Emirates. But the challenges come in dealing with potential taxes due in your home country. Double taxation is a pain and must be factored into your tax planning prior especially if you are a citizen of a country which taxes you on your worldwide income like the USA or Australia. 

Read more about Expatriate Tax Planning in UAE here.

Social Security Tax in UAE

Foreign workers and their employers are exempt from Social Security contributions. For Emirati nationals there is an employee contribution of 5% of gross salary. This is in addition to the 12.5% their employer is contributing.

Tax Planning in UAE

Getting advice on your home and away tax planning is highly recommended. Will you be able to claim tax residency in the Emirates? Do you need a local citizen to hold a majority share in your company to achieve this? What are the tax treaties which will affect your business? Are they still current? The last thing you want is to agree terms for your employees to work on a client site in Dubai only to find out down the track that they will be taxed at a much higher rate than you expected. The fallout is damaging for your company and potentially your client. Not to mention the angst it causes to the individuals with the tax bill. Similarly it helps to use a local specialist when setting up your branch to make sure it gets the right licenses and registrations including sponsoring work permits.

But the bigger picture for your employees and company will often require a tax specialist from your home country. Because the United Arab Emirates is a tax-free zone your local tax authorities may view profits or earnings from there differently. Additionally your employees may have to take steps to change their tax residency and get the full benefits of an assignment in Dubai. This may require them to rent out any property they own or can even be  as simple as the wording they use on their immigration card.

Tax In UAE

Working Out Tax in UAE Yourself

If you have good inhouse expertise in international taxation or compliance it can be handy to do all the planning yourself. Given there is virtually no tax to deal with it can seem like an easy job. If you are able to incorporate with 100% foreign ownership and are able to get approval to sponsor work permits then the administration burden is pretty light compared to other countries in the region. Just be wary of the timeframes for dealing with local government and institutions - especially during Ramadan or Eid.

PEO / Outsourced Employment Services in UAE

Companies that want to keep a light footprint in the UAE or are under time pressure often use a local Professional Employer Organization (also known as an Outsourced Employer or Umbrella Company) to deal with all in-country requirements. They can act as your local employer or agent. They are well established and have the necessary registrations, licenses and insurance to operate. They will sponsor your foreign employees or contractors on work permits, hire your staff onto their payroll, subcontract them to your end clients, run their payroll including making necessary deductions and tax submissions, issue payslips and even invoice your clients if need be.

This service gives great flexibility - you can get your staff on the ground quickly and even transfer them over to your local branch when it is setup. So you reduce the stress related to not knowing when your company will be ready. If you choose not to incorporate in UAE at all, then you'll totally avoid any dealings with the Emirati authorities.

How We Can Help You with Tax in UAE

We work with numerous service providers in UAE who can help with tax planning, company incorporation and running a local payroll. We can helpk you understand the services you may need, what you can safely do yourself and give you costs and timeframes so you can put project plans together. We also have a comprehensive knowledge of the different services our partners provide, and we can help you find the right company to help. Our advice is 100 percent free, and it comes with no obligations. 

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UAE Umbrella Company

Immigration is one of the primary concerns for anybody hoping to work as a contractor in the UAE, for recruitment agencies placing contractors in the UAE or for companies that require their staff to work on assignments in the UAE. Permanent employees will find it easy to get their UAE work permit because they’ll receive “sponsorship” for their entire stay from their prospective employer. Thankfully, Umbrella Companies provide a convenient and effective solution. 

UAE Work Permits

UAE Umbrella Company Services

UAE Umbrella Companies sponsor contractors, consultants and staff of foreign companies on local UAE Work Permits and pay-roll them locally. They don't make any decisions about their workload, clients or anything to do with the day to day operations. They simply sponsor individuals on a UAE Work Permits and then pay them through the UAE Wage Protection System (WPS) as required by the Ministry of Labour and the Central Bank. Thus removing the onus from the local client, the agency or the international company.


How can a UAE Umbrella Company Sponsor Work Permits

If you have a confirmed contract/consultancy job, you're a recruitment agency with a contractor to place or an international company that needs to assign their staff to the UAE, a UAE Umbrella Company are able to sponsor consultants on UAE Work Permits provided they’re on the register of approved sponsors. 

Through their service consultants should be able to start work in the UAE from as little as 14 days from the date of application.


How we can help

We work closely with 2 experienced, vetted, leading UAE Umbrella Companies. We have a thorough knowledge of the services they provide - especially regarding immigration to UAE. If you have a confirmed contract offer, or are a recruitment agency looking to place contractors in the UAE or a company looking to assign staff to the UAE then we can work with you and our local partner to provide this service. We’ll also answer any questions you have about UAE Visas or the country’s tax law, and we’ll contact the experts directly to guarantee 100% accurate advice. This all comes at no charge whatsoever to you and you’re not obligated to take on the services of any company. We’re just here to make this process as stress-free as possible. 

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Client comment

"Great advice and excellent service on contracting and immigration solutions in the UK. I would highly recommend Tim and the team to assist you with accurate, clear and concise contracting advice in the UK or any other country for that matter."

Prishen Pillay,Global DBA Operations Lead

Shell International Trading & Shipping