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UAE to introduce flexible work permit for freelancing

Human Resources minister says new model to be implemented by third quarter of this year

Minister of Human Resources and Emiratisation Abdul Rahman bin Abdulmanan Al Awar speaks during the 'Remote' forum in Dubai on Wednesday
Image Credit: Sajila Saseendran/Gulf News

Dubai: The UAE will introduce a new flexible work permit to allow freelance work by employees of all skills, the Minister of Human Resources and Emiratisation Abdul Rahman bin Abdulmanan Al Awar said on Wednesday.

He was speaking to Gulf News on the sidelines of a new forum titled ‘Remote’ that aims to activate the nation’s agenda for remote work, remote education and remote healthcare.

“We are working on introducing a new freelance policy that adopts all skill levels,” Al Awar said.

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“It’s not only for those with high skills, but even [those with] low skill sets can have flexi work permits. They can work for themselves and work with others, as long as they are within the umbrella of the law and they have done the proper registration the with the ministry.”


He added: “I am hoping to get this done before the end of third quarter of this year.”

Al Awar clarified that the new freelance work model aimed at enhancing the workforce in the country will be an addition to all the recent reforms announced and being implemented by the country.

“This will further support flexible work and remote work.”

What is the difference?

Currently, an employee in the private sector needs to have a contract with an employer or multiple employers as per the respective companies’ work requirements.

“Now with the new policy that we’re thinking of, you work for yourself. It is an ad hoc job that you decide to do whenever it’s acceptable to you, at any time, provided that it is under the umbrella of the law,” the minister explained.


He pointed out that this flexible, remote work model will benefit both employers and employees.

“The employers and the companies will feel that this is more economical for them because they don’t have to take many risks [in terms of investment]. They will rely on your skills. They will decide whether they want to continue with you or not and call you only when they need to.

“Vice versa, the employee doesn’t need to be boxed into one organisation or one type of job. They can have multiple jobs… So, this will, in my opinion, enhance the productivity in our labour market. So, we have decided to go ahead with this model.”

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More talents, productivity

He said such freelance employees can actually work from anywhere in the world.


Al Awar pointed out that the labour reforms introduced in the recent years are intended to attract more talent to the UAE and “to make sure that the business community gets more value from their talent and maximise the productivity”.

At the forum, Al Awar spoke on ‘Remote work application within administrative innovation: Agile adaptation of the UAE labour market to the shifting technological landscape’.

He highlighted that the success of the UAE’s labour market, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic has proved that the country has an integrated structure to attract talents and expertise and to adopt new work cultures by seizing new opportunities and technological advancements.

The minister said 53 employees work for providing the ministry’s remote services. “We have around 200 men and women working remotely for the ministry… Investing in digital infrastructure has allowed us to have better productivity,” said Al Awar.

He added that with the remote working options, the ministry aims to double the 24,000 jobs that were targeted through the Nafis Emiratisation programme this year.


The programme had recorded a 70 per cent increase in the number of Emiratis working in the private sector in 2022.