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Are You Willing To Be Self-Employed In UAE? Here Are 5 Tips That Will Help You Kick-Start Your Career!

December 21, 2021

The nature of your employment is not just a career choice but also a lifestyle choice!

So willing to be employed, unemployed, or self-employed is the lifestyle choice that one makes for themselves. Among them, “Self-Employed” is not so often used but also a very misused term as many people think it’s okay to look down on or tease a self-employed person until they turn their dreams into reality. 

“If you don’t build your dream, someone will hire you to build theirs”

~Tony Gaskin

From lucrative business deals to accessing funds that help get your venture off the ground, UAE provides self-employed individuals with numerous benefits. However, self-employment brings with it some requirements that should not be overlooked.

If you are freelancing, working as a contractor, running your own business, or willing to do so, here are a few tips for you:

1) Business Options

You need to understand your business options as an entrepreneur in the UAE. The country allows several ways for entrepreneurs to do business that includes:

  • Civil companies
  • Sole proprietorship
  • LLC (Limited Liability Company)
  • Free Zone Company
  • Foreign Company Branch
  • Freelance

The easiest option to be self-employed in UAE is as a freelancer. However, you may choose to establish your business as a sole proprietorship or a civil company both of these allow you to have 100% foreign ownership

When it comes to the sole proprietorship only a single shareholder is allowed. Whereas a civil company can have two or more shareholders.

Regardless of the business structure, you choose all self-employed workers should have indemnity insurance to protect themselves. Because when you are starting out, an expensive lawsuit is the last thing you need.

2) Get The Right License

As a self-employed individual, you need to make sure that you get the right license. Getting a license in Dubai majorly falls under two categories namely: Mainland license and Freezone license. 

With a Mainland license, you can trade-in and out of the country without any restriction. However, this will require you to find a local partner. Having a Freezone license will give you attractive tax incentives and 100% ownership but you will only be allowed to trade within the Freezone jurisdiction. 

Additional Tip: If you are an overseas entrepreneur, then you must have a visa sponsored by the jurisdiction you are willing to work in. This includes a medical check and health insurance too. 

3) Freelancing? Free Zone!

If you are willing to do freelancing, then you should definitely consider free zones. Free zones such as the Dubai Internet City, Dubai Media City, Fujairah Creative City Free Zone, Dubai Knowledge Park, Ajman Free Zone, and Ras Al Khaimah Economic Free Zone offer freelance permits and visas.

The process for obtaining the permit and visa is quite simple, all you have to do is submit the application along with required documents to the relevant government authority. If applicable, you will have to No Objection certificate from your sponsor.

4) Set Up A Base

Even if you are self-employed having an office space will give you the right mindset to work. You can either rent an empty space or choose to work from your clients’ office. And if you are freelancing then you must consider renting a co-working space. 

5) Understand The Tax System

When it comes to doing business in UAE you are provided with various benefits such as zero corporate and personal tax, exemption from import/export duties, and no currency restrictions. You also have an option to repatriate 100% of your profits. 

Even the introduction of VAT means you will have to register only if you earn more than AED 375,000, so you must keep all your receipts and records up-to-date to prove this.

Bonus tip: Learn about the business culture

Many multinational companies hold their base in the UAE providing ample opportunities for anyone who is looking to be their own boss. From oil and gas to the finance sector or media to the tourism sector, you can understand the business scene and connect while learning as much as you want about the business culture.

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