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United Arab Emirates & GCC Work Laws

New laws, government plans and projects are set to take place to assist professionals and entrepreneurs. Expected changes to work laws will roll out within the GCC over the next few months. Below is an updated summary on what the different nations are doing.


The government are focusing energies to increases the number of UAE nationals working within the private sector workforce. The target is to have 5% of nationals working in this sector by 2020.


It’s been reported that Oman is considering expatriate labor force to hire workers on short term contracts. A proposal has been submitted by Oman’s national diversification programme Tanfeedh. Advantages of short term contracts can benefit the economy, offer more jobs for Omanis and greater flexibility in the workforce in some specialised professions.

Ministry of Manpower has suggested that workers could be offered three-month, six-month or nine-month contracts to complete a project and they would also be permitted to move to different branches of the same sponsor’s business.

Saudi Arabia

The intentional Saudi green card scheme is near its final stages, this will be available to expatriates where they will receive several benefits. The annual fee for a Saudi green card is SR14,200.

When the scheme is launched eligible expatriates that meet the conditions to become a Saudi green card holder will be entitled to:

  • permanent residency within the Kingdom,
  • owners of real estate,
  • ability to run their own business,
  • receive monthly pensions,
  • access to government-funded educational and health services.

Beneficiaries of the green card will now be able to acquire visas for direct/immediate family members, two visas are permitted for domestic workers and they can win extra points to get Saudi nationality, as well as other benefits.

Saudi green card candidates must have scientific skills or professional qualities that are not abundantly available in Saudi, or they can be business owners that can invest in the country. The number of cards that will be available to expatriates will be limited due to such criteria and because foreigners are able to get a Saudi investment license.


The introduction of a new flexible work permit will enable 10,000 illegal expatriates to work for several employers for two years.

Cost for the permit will be $80 (BD30) a month in addition to a one-time fee of $530 (BD200). This permit will not cover employees who fled from their employers or those that are involved in serious offences.

The flexible work permit is planned to go into effect this quarter of 2017 and the transitional period will be used to describe details to the expatriate community in many different languages. The scheme is optional, those interested can apply through the Labour and Market Regulatory Authority (LMRA).


Companies Law No. 1/2016, has been revised in order to ease procedures for establishing companies and attract investments from young entrepreneurs.

The revised law states that it no longer requires investors to deposit capital before establishing a company. However, an email or a mailbox to the company’s address is a must.

Previously the establishment of companies took 61 days. It was reduced to four days and now the latest change has shortened it to one day which is an amazing success.

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