Farina Ahmad, CEO, Make My Firm Image Credit: Supplied

How do offshore and mainland companies differ?

Offshore companies are suitable for businesses targeting markets outside the UAE. You can trade or have a consultancy outside of the UAE and with an offshore licence, you will be able to make banking transactions.

Another benefit of an offshore licence is that even with a virtual presence, the business owner can buy properties in the country under the name of the company.

Mainland companies operate in the UAE and they are registered with the Department of Economic Development of the respective emirate. Mainland companies can carry out most activities in the UAE such as industrial, commercial and professional with their offices, shops and showrooms.

With this licence investors can avail the benefits of residence visa and they can hire employees from all over the world. Opening a bank account is easier with a mainland licence as the company has a physical address in the UAE.

How easy is it to set up a mainland company as opposed to offshore?

Formation of a mainland company is easier and this has a fast-track option. Some mainland licences can be issued within three working hours. However, offshore companies require preapprovals, which often takes two to three working days. The issuance of an offshore licence can take between three and seven working days.

How do you expect businesses to perform later in the year?

2020 has been challenging for almost every sector. The UAE is the country of opportunities and is a very attractive destination for investors from around the world. So once the world economy is back to normal, I expect all businesses to experience a growth trajectory.