Bret Silverberg

Hiring in the United Arab Emirates: 5 things you need to know

by Bret Silverberg
June 2013

United Arab EmiratesIn this region of the world, you’ll want to famiarize yourself with laws around hiring ex-pats.

Hiring in the Middle East is unique in that almost all employees hired by our local teams are expatriates. These employees require visa sponsorship in order to live and work in-country. A company must legally register in the UAE in order to sponsor an employee’s work visa and do business in-country.

Hiring in the UAE:

1. You will need to establish a legal entity. Establishing a legal entity and obtaining the appropriate trade licenses often takes 8-12 weeks, during which a company cannot sponsor an employees’ visa directly.

2. Expats will need a visa. Companies have to sponsor employee work visas and residency permits in the UAE which can get complicated depending on the geopolitical climate of the region. Of particular note, is the transfer the visa sponsorship of employees from Egypt and Iran right now. This situation catches many clients in a pinch and is worth handling with caution and due care.

3. Financial compensation can include more than salary. Compensation is typically paid as a simple flat rate (gross salary) or broken out 60/40, 60% being base salary and 40% being comprised of housing and car allowance. This amount does not include any variable pay like commissions.

4. The business week is different from that of the Western world. Friday is the weekly holiday and most professionals are off on Friday and Saturday. The business week in the UAE is Sunday through Thursday.

5. End of Service Gratuity needs to be considered in overall compensation. Many clients forget to budget for the End of Service Gratuity that is required and accrued as an employer-paid benefit. If an employee has completed one year or more of service, he is entitled to an end of service gratuity equal to 21 days’ pay for each year of the first 5 years of service and 30 days pay for each year after that. The total end of service gratuity maximum is capped at the equivalent of two years’ salary.

Hiring in the UAE can be tricky but it doesn’t have to be. An International PEO or Employer of Record company like Globalization Partners can work through the visa process, hire the employees you choose and get your organization into the UAE quickly.

Bret Silverberg

Bret Silverberg

Director, Content Strategy, Globalization Partners

Bret Silverberg joined Globalization Partners in April 2017 as Director of Content Marketing. Bret has extensive experience in publishing, including his background in human resources and employment marketing.