Today’s work environment is changing – employers and employees must be prepared to work differently over the coming years. These new approaches are not just simply a response to the pandemic, but rather a desire for greater flexibility and freedom in how, when and where we work, coupled with a seismic shift towards ‘softer’ skills, more empathy in the workplace, and an enhancement in employee empowerment.
There are enormous opportunities in the UAE not only for employees, entrepreneurs, investors and their families, but also for SMEs and multinationals, with the government providing a business-friendly legal framework paired with a world-class infrastructure.
As Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade, told the Khaleej Times: “The UAE is envisioning the future beyond the Covid-19 crisis and we are working toward doubling our economy by 2030. Apart from benefitting from an array of incentives and latest law amendments related to full foreign ownership, bankruptcy, commercial companies and long-term residencies/citizenship, investors, entrepreneurs and creative minds can also capitalize on the country’s state-of-the-art infrastructure, superior connectivity and its highly evolved ecosystem of incubators, accelerators and investors.”
The UAE, keen to stay ahead of the times in providing a word-class legal and regulatory framework, has implemented various new initiatives and projects in recent years.
In light of the latest pandemic-related worldwide work and movement restrictions, the government has implemented a ‘remote work visa’. Ratified by the federal government in March 2021, the one-year remote work visa enables overseas remote-working professionals to live in the Emirates while continuing to serve their employers in their home country. So-called ‘digital nomads’ are on the rise, and the UAE is creating an environment where they can enjoy all the benefits of a rich expat life in a
Moreover, providing a more flexible approach for applicants in all life stages, the UAE government has extended the eligibility for visas, implementing additional visa categories such as Real Estate, Retirement and ‘Golden Visa’. These new visa types are designed to encourage entrepreneurs, privatiers and their families to relocate to the Emirates. Especially, the 10-year golden visa scheme launched in May 2019 gives exceptional workers, talents and foreign investors the opportunity to remain in the country on a long-term basis.
Michael Lane, Managing Director at Swiss International Legal Consultants Ltd, part of Swiss Group, explains: “The newly implemented long term visa options, providing a higher sense of stability, are issued to qualified people (and their families) for five or ten years allowing these individuals to live, work and retire in the UAE.”
And earlier this year, the UAE government set out plans to allow non-Emiratis to obtain UAE citizenship for the first time. Under the scheme, skilled professionals who have made tangible contributions to the world of science or the arts can be nominated by government or royal court officials as a candidate for citizenship.
As Lane puts it: “These initiatives really underline the changing nature of the UAE’s approach to visa regulation, citizenship and creating a truly inclusive society. Fostering good business practices and actively encouraging economic growth are key tenets of the UAE leadership. We are seeing more and more initiatives and projects being implemented with just one goal - to attract global business people and talent to live, work and retire in the Emirates and actually make the UAE their long-term home.”
Swiss Group has been advising foreign and local entities in setting up and growing business successfully in the region since the 1970s. “We have grown with the Emirates. While the UAE has obviously always been a global trading hub, today’s focus lays on digitisation, smart city technology, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and being a country that recognises and celebrates global diversity.
“The UAE, celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, is a global leader and at the forefront of innovation and technology,” says the MD.
“Operation 300bn” is another example of the government’s long-term strategy to create opportunities to diversifying the UAE’s economy. This initiative will help develop the UAE’s industrial base and generate local added value.
With Expo 2020 Dubai, Dubai will host the world for 182 days – starting on 1 October 2021. With its theme “Connecting Minds and Creating the Future through sustainability, mobility and opportunity", the world fair aims to increase awareness of the challenges faced by humanity on a global scale. The six-month Expo is set to be the world's largest meeting place, offering many opportunities for networking and promoting international relationships. Many international firms – not least of which, Swiss firms – are now looking to set up in the UAE, on the back of the economic benefits the Expo event will deliver.
“As Expo 2020 puts Dubai and the UAE even more firmly on the map as a global business hub, it’s no surprise that at Swiss Group we have seen a post-pandemic upswing in business. Our multi-lingual ‘one-stop shop’ approach of both, legal and management consultancy, our extensive experience and our local network enables us to provide tailor-made solutions to our clients interested in setting up and/or relocating to the UAE. Everyone can take full advantage of the benefits of living, working or conducting business in the UAE; whether it’s a start up or a branch of a major multinational,” concludes Lane.