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Employing in United Arab Emirates

At a glance

Employment in United Arab Emirates

Foreign companies that employ workers in UAE face several challenges and must adhere to the legal and regulatory framework that is in place. UAE employment law applies to all staff and employees working in the UAE, whether UAE nationals or expatriates. However, there are certain categories of individuals who are exempted. In some cases, using an outsourced employer will make the process smoother, and it is recommended to use professional legal services as well. Our guide explains UAE policies on leave, termination and payment of benefits.

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Payroll & Tax in United Arab Emirates

Complying with local payroll and tax requirements is essential for a company doing business in UAE. Issues such as tax rates and withholding and social security are all essential in ensuring a seamless human resources operation. Many companies will consider outsourcing these administrative tasks to a GEO (Global Employment Organization).

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Immigration / Work Permits in United Arab Emirates

Foreign workers are required to have the proper visas and work permits in UAE, as established by immigration laws. There are different types of work visas for the UAE, depending on the duration of the employment contract. This often requires incorporation and licensing prior to sponsoring work permits for employees, which can be a problem if your company is trying to enter the country quickly.

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There are several business structures available for incorporation in UAE, and each has advantages and disadvantages. In some cases it will depend upon the type of industry that you are in, and the scope of planned business activity. Our guide has a comparison of the time and cost for incorporating standard company structures including Rep Office, Branch Office and Limited Liability Company.

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GEO Solutions or DIY Employment in United Arab Emirates?

Companies entering UAE must make a decision whether to use their own resources for a Do-It-Yourself (DIY) approach, or to use a Global Employment Organization to handle payroll and employment responsibilities. A GEO or UAE Employer of Record solution makes it faster, easier and cheaper to deploy staff if they don’t have a UAE entity established that can run payroll.

A DIY approach will typically be delayed until there is a properly incorporated Branch Office or Company ready to run payroll and will include the cost of registered capital. The Shield GEO Solution is already properly incorporated in UAE, it has an active payroll and it is setup to sponsor work permits. This greatly reduces deployment times. Additionally Shield GEO is responsible for all compliance issues related to the employment.

Shield GEO

Shield GEO provides a fully outsourced employment service in UAE. Companies expanding into UAE can contract with Shield GEO to employ and payroll their staff on their behalf in UAE. Shield GEO then assumes the legal responsibility for these employees, becoming the Employer of Record, sponsoring them on work permits, complying with local employment law and running their monthly payroll.

Using Shield GEO Employer of Record Services in United Arab Emirates

Payroll United Arab Emirates
Management Fee for Employer of Record Services / Monthly Payroll Costs

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There is no payroll tax or income tax in UAE. Employers and Employees Social Security only applies to local workers.

Grossed income Tax Rate (%)
0-∞ 0
Tax Returns Supplied

Not required

Corporate Tax Requirements


Employers Social Security and statutory contributions

0% for foreigners

12.5% pension contributions for local staff

Employees Social Security and statutory contributions

0% for foreigners

5% pension contributions for local staff

Insurance requirements

Private medical Insurance is recommended.

Corporate Income Tax Rate

There is no corporate income tax in UAE except for certain industries (branches of foriegn banks and companies engaged in Oil and Gas)

Payroll Tax


Sales Tax


Withholding Tax


Work Permits
Can Sponsor Work

Yes, Shield GEO is able to sponsor foreign workers on Work Visas which allow them to work in the UAE. As the employer of record, Shield GEO handles all of the formalities and employment requirements in the UAE. The client maintains responsibility for day to day employee management.

Work Permit cost

USD 3,500

Work Permit processing time

2-4 weeks dependent on nationality

Work Permit process

Shield GEO’s local entity initially makes an application for ‘quota approval’. Once approved our local UAE entity then applies for the Employment Entry Visa through the UAE immigration authorities in the UAE. Once the Employment Visa is approved the candidate can enter the UAE and on arrival our UAE entity will arrange for the compulsory Medical & Biometrics Tests. 24 hours later the Medical Results will be available and the Work Visa will be processed and stamped into the employees’ passport. At this point the employee is legally permitted to commence work in the UAE.

The Emirati ID card application is then lodged and generally takes 2-4 weeks to be issued.

Documentation required: attested Degree/Diploma/Professional Certificates, copy of the personal page of their passport and a passport photo.

Can Work Permit be processed in country

Depends on the nationality we would recommend the process is completed prior to arrival in the UAE.

Switch Business Visa to Work Permit?

No but some nationalities can switch from an Visa on arrival to a Work Permit without leaving the Emirates.

Can Spouse work on dependent visa?

No a Spouse would need to secure their own Work authorisation but if in the UAE on a Spousal Visa they can switch to a Work Permit without leaving the country

Business Visas
Can do Business Visa


Business Visa Cost

USD $450

Business Visa processing time

5-10 days Consulate Dependent

Can supply private health care

Can assist in securing private Health Insurance.

Can assist opening bank accounts


  • United Arab Emirates
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