New UAE Federal Employment Law now in place as rolling legal reforms modernise FDI competitiveness

2 February saw the introduction of the UAE’s new Federal Employment Law, replacing legislation from the early 1980s. Much has evolved over the last 40 years with the growth of Abu Dhabi’s energy sector and the proliferation of Dubai’s free zone infrastructure as the country’s leadership believes that the next leap forward is essential.

High value employees play a leading role in energy technology-driven businesses and the UAE is positioning as an ideal place to locate personnel and to use UAE entities to contract with international personnel. The introduction of corporation tax and localisation commitments means the drive towards 100% foreign ownership of onshore entities is in full swing, and the exclusion of free zone entities from the corporation tax net will ensure that they remain attractive vehicles for regional and wider international business.

Hugh Fraser International’s Dubai-based legal consultancy has been gearing up to steer clients through the new legal reforms, both from a compliance point of view and to ensure the reforms can be used as part of their competitive edge.