Contracting in the UAE

Contracting in UAE - FAQ

What is the monthly cost of using an Umbrella Company in UAE? 

$600 USD per month.


How long does it take to get a work permit in UAE?

2 to 4 weeks.

What is the estimated net retention in UAE for a contractor earning USD 500 per day?

See below.

What is the estimated net retention in UAE for a contractor earning USD 1000 per day?

There is no tax or social security so it’s a 100% depending on whether the candidate is paying the management fees.

*doesn’t include fee for work permit or other immigration costs

More questions? See the rest of the FAQ for more information on the UAE work permit process

Getting Started

If you're an IT, Telco, Finance or Engineering contractor with a confirmed contract offer in the UAE, a recruitment agent looking to place contractors with these skill sets in the UAE, or a Company looking to assign your staff with these skill sets in the UAE, then we have 2 UAE Umbrella Company Partners that can assist you. They can sponsor international candidates on UAE Work Permits and pay-roll them through the Wage Protection System (WPS) as required by the Ministry of Labour and the Central Bank.

Freelance UAE Requirements


One of a contractor's first hurdles will be securing the proper work permit. To get one, they usually need employer sponsorship. This means they take full responsibility for you while you’re working in the country.

That’s fine for full-time employees, but what about independent contractors?

Many clients won’t offer sponsorship for a temporary worker and, even if they do, contractors typically need to apply for a new permit for each new contract. This creates a mountain of paperwork each time you want to work with a new client.


Additionally, you need to figure out what you owe (if anything) in taxes for your work in UAE.

Of course, there’s also your country of tax residency; you’re likely to owe something on that front, too.

You can take advantage of certain tax structures, but doing so requires a strong familiarity with expat tax law in UAE.

Benefits of working through an Umbrella Company in UAE

You can outsource a lot of these admin problems to specialists at an Umbrella Company (or contractor management company).

An Umbrella Company basically becomes your full-time “employer,” even though you stay in control of your workload, clients, and schedule. The Umbrella Company simply collects and processes your payments, filtering out social security and any necessary fees.

They can also sponsor your work permit, meaning you get to take on new clients without the aggravation of applying for a new permit each time.

Even better, most specialise in tax law for contractors in UAE and can ensure you’re keeping the largest amount of your earnings as possible. They can even assist you with reducing your tax liability back home.

In short, you get all the benefits of a working for an employer, without sacrificing your autonomy as a contractor.

How to get started with the right Umbrella Company

There’s a lot of Umbrella Companies out there; finding the right one for you can be daunting.

We’ve done the research on Umbrella Companies in UAE, and know how to match contractors with the perfect company. If you’ve already secured a contract, get in touch with us and let us know your situation. We can get you started with the best Umbrella Company for you, or simply offer feedback on contracting in UAE.

Oh, and we don’t charge anything. Drop us a line and get free, honest, simple advice.

Send your details for more information

Additional FAQ - work permits & payroll


What is the cost of a Work Permit in UAE?

10,500 AED from applications made outside the UAE and 11,700 AED from applications made from inside the UAE. 3,000 of which is a bank guarantee of which 2,400 is refunded once funds are released from the Ministry of Labour.

What documentation is required for a work permit in UAE?

4 passport photos, copies of; personal page of the passport, degree/diploma certificates, CV, employment contract.

What is the work permit process in UAE?

All nationals are required to apply for an entry permit which is issued before the consultant’s arrival as part of the Residence Visa application. A Residence Visa is valid for two years, as changed by UAE Labour Law - 1st January 2011. 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.
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. Once in country it will take a further 7 days to obtain the residence stamp.

Can you transfer from a business visa to a work permit in UAE?

Yes, but depends on nationality.

Can we organise a business visa for UAE?

There are no Business Visas they are Tourist or Entry Visas. And no we don’t organize either.

How long does it take to process a business visa in UAE?


How much does a business visa cost in UAE?


Can nationals of certain countries enter UAE without a business visa (ex. on an entry visa or visa waiver)?




$4000 USD per month.

How does payroll work in UAE?


Your employer (the company sponsoring your visa) pays the candidate on a monthly basis. They deduct social security  - which is 12.5% for employers and 5% for employees. This is not applicable to forieng workers. There is no income tax in UAE for locals or foreigners. Deductions are made at source and paid to the United Arab Emirates tax authorities. The World Bank estimates it takes employers in United Arab Emirates 12 man days to ensure compliance with payroll and labour taxes each year.

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