House rents could drop in Dubai but not in Abu Dhabi because of fewer rental units coming into the market in 2016 Image Credit: GN Archives

Jobs

New rules in the Ministry of Labour Law which come into effect on January 1 will encourage labour mobility in the country.

The lifting of the six-month ban will help people, particularly middle and low income workers, switch jobs without facing penalties.

Humaid Rashid Bin Dimas Al Suwaidi, assistant undersecretary in the Ministry of Labour, said starting January 1, employees who wish to end their service agreement with consent from their employers will be allowed to take jobs with other companies, even if they have not completed two years in their first workplace.

Suwaidi said the move is intended to attract and retain qualified talent.

Salaries

Despite falling oil prices, employees could expect a marginal increase in salaries.

According to a survey by human resource consultancy Aon Hewitt, employees could get a five per cent pay hike in 2016, slightly higher than the 4.8 per cent implemented this year.

Rents

House rents could drop in Dubai but not in Abu Dhabi because of fewer rental units coming into the market, according to analysts.

Real estate services company Jones Lang LaSalle said rents in the capital are expected to remain stable or even increase marginally.

In Dubai, however, it could be a different story. With a large number of residential units entering the market in the coming months, rents are likely to remain relatively stable in popular areas. Craig Plumb, head of research JLL MENA said they could even fall over the next six months before recovering in the second half of the year.

Property prices

According to real estate consultancy company CBRE, average residential sales in Dubai have fallen 16 per cent and 14 per cent year-on-year for apartments and villas while overall unit transactions dropped by 33 per cent year-on-year.

With approximately 48,000 units expected to be delivered next year, CBRE predicts a further fall in real estate prices in Dubai.

Property prices in Abu Dhabi will, however, remain largely unchanged.

Health insurance

Everyone in Dubai must have mandatory health insurance by July. The mandatory insurance scheme linking visas to medical insurance was rolled out in three phases earlier this year. Companies with over 1,000 employees were covered in the first phase and those with 100 to 999 in the second. Phase three of the insurance mandate which covers companies with less than 100 employees, spouses, dependents and domestic workers ends on June 31, after which there will be 100 per cent coverage in the emirate.

Education

Parents will breathe easy as 27 new private schools offering 63,000 seats will open in 2016. The new schools are Amled School in Al Quoz, German International School Dubai, Dubai British School Jumeirah Park, Hartland International School near Downtown Dubai, Ranches Primary School and the Swiss International Scientific School near Dubai Creek. By 2017, Dubai will have 196 private schools with a capacity of over 341,000 students.

Banking

Interest rates for personal loans and mortgages are likely to go up by one per cent, predicts Sundar Parthasarathy, head of new Business Consumer Banking Group, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank. According to him, credit card spending could also decrease.