UAE Compliance Updates - UAE residency

Dr Mashal AL Zarooni

MAZ Chartered Accountants

The UAE government implemented new changes in the residency law for foreign investors. The changes include:

  • Residency visas of up to 10 years for professional workers, including doctors and engineers, and their families.
  • Offering residency visas of up to 10 years for foreign investors establishing businesses in the country.
  • Allowing companies to own 100% of their business in the UAE.
  • Giving top students graduating from university options to reside in the Emirates.

The UAE government made changes for foreigners sponsoring their families, but these are now based on their salaries rather than on job title and roles.


Foreign investment

The UAE government has introduced partial changes in foreign investment; previously, foreign investment could own 51% of onshore companies in UAE, and 100% in free-zone and offshore companies. Changes have now been made allowing 100% ownership of onshore companies for certain sectors such as manufacturing. Eventually, all sectors will be opened to foreign investors. Globalisation and international markets will trigger the changes for the UAE market in the future.


Deregister VAT in UAE

Companies and individuals who registered with the Federal Tax Authority (FTA) for VAT can deregister if their annual turnover did not exceed AED 187,500 (USD 51,000). Companies must apply for deregistration if they fulfil any of the conditions laid down in the Decree Law and Executive Regulations and failure to apply within the timeframe specified will attract an administrative penalty of AED 10,000. Companies will not be able to claim back the expenses they incurred on business after deregistering with FTA.


VAT refunds for tourists

The VAT refunds for tourists began on 18 November 2018; with a minimum spend of AED 250, 90% of the amount will be refunded. Around 4,000 retailers have registered for the scheme. Initially implemented in Dubai Sharjah and Abu Dhabi airports, the next phase will include all airports and ports.



UAE Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation are implementing changes in the private-sector workforce. New roles have been set to hire white-collar workers and push towards increasing the local workforce and hiring a specialised international workforce for specific sectors. Penalties are being imposed on companies who are not implementing the new rules and policies.


XLNC MAGAZINE | No. 03 | May  2019

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