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UAE business community welcomes visa rule changes

Relaxing of Dh3,000 bank guarantee requirement will aid SMEs and corporates

Image Credit: WAM
Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid chairs the Cabinet meeting in Abu Dhabi yesterday. Shaikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Minister of Finance; Lt Gen Shaikh Saif Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, and Mohammad Abdullah Al Gergawi, Minister of Cabinet Affairs and the Future, are also shown at the meeting.

DUBAI: The move to relax the visa requirements for employees has been welcomed by the business community.

One of the most significant changes is dropping the requirement that firms must pay a Dh3,000 bank guarantee for each expatriate employee.

Under the rules announced on Wednesday evening, this one-off fee will be replaced by a Dh60 annual insurance payment.

His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, tweeted that this would release Dh14 billion back to private sector companies.

The insurance payment would cover workers’ end of service benefits, vacation allowance, overtime allowance, unpaid wages, worker’s return ticket and cases of work injury, in which the insurance coverage amounts to Dh20,000 per worker, state news agency WAM said.

 Any injection of liquidity helps enormously. I think the dialogue is continuing. They certainly want to revisit things in a few months’ time simply to see how much of an impact this has created.”

 - Suresh Kumar President of Indian Business and Professional Council


Suresh Kumar, president of the Indian Business and Professional Council (IBPC) in Dubai, said the release of Dh14 billion back into the economy would particularly help small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), but would impact the entire economy.

“Any injection of liquidity helps enormously,” he said.

He added that he expected further initiatives to be announced. “I think the dialogue is continuing,” he said. “They certainly want to revisit things in a few months’ time simply to see how much of an impact this has created.”

He pointed out that dropping the bank guarantee requirement for recruitment would also ease paperwork, allowing firms to concentrate on growth rather than bureaucracy.

“It is very positive for business,” he said.

Steve Mayne, managing partner of business start-up consultancy Creative Zone, said the move would help SMEs and other businesses. “Reducing costs for businesses in a challenging economic climate is an extremely prudent and timely move by the UAE government,” he said.

 The elimination of bank guarantee will surely ease recruitment process whereby helping organisations to bring human resources from diverse nationalities.”

 - Yousuf Ali M.A. Chairman of LuLu Group


“For example, the Dh3,000 guarantee deposit saved for each employee will be better used by these businesses for immediate services that can help their business grow. We see this as [having] an immediate impact for the economy.”

Nestle Middle East’s human resources director Christine Geary said, “We are in favour of laws and regulations that enable further employment opportunities for people looking for jobs. This also supports youth and fresh graduates to have more chances for internships, trainings, and finding a job in the grace period provided to them.”

Kamal Vachani, group director of Al Maya Group, said replacing the Dh3,000 bank guarantee was “a very welcome step”.

 Reducing costs for businesses in a challenging economic climate is an extremely prudent and timely move by the UAE government.”

 - Steve Mayne Managing partner, Creative Zone


Atif Rahman, partner and director of Danube Properties, said the new visa rules — which include easing rules on transit visas — would help the tourism and hospitality sector, including exhibitions, conferences and extended stays.

“It will also help the real estate sector a great deal as foreign investors will no longer worry about their visa, stay and the fees — all are being made flexible. We expect a solid flow of investment from foreign countries as the new announcement will boost investor confidence.

“The new moves will help the economy become more competitive and more flexible and will help in ease in doing business.”

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