Benefits of Doing Business in Dubai Webinar SERIES 3: Guidance on Freelancing, Opening a Bank Account and Residency Visas

Dubai Chamber along with their international offices in Africa in collaboration with Bizzmosis along with its CEO/Founder – Marianna Bulbuc guided foreign investors on freelancing, residency visas, banking, and choosing the right consultants or partners in Dubai in the 3rd and final session of webinar series held on June 23.

The initiative aimed to provide all those interested in investing or extending their business in Dubai with the basic information they need when making their decision to invest in Dubai – covering all aspects of the investment as general information on the investment environment | detailed information on sectors & economic fields | various logistical, financial & organizational arrangements for starting a business.

NOW is the right time to invest and open a business in Dubai!

Webinar speakers:
⏩  Mr. Omar Alkhan – Director of International Offices @Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry
⏩  Ms. Marianna Bulbuc – CEO/Founder of Bizzmosis Business Services
⏩  Mr. Norvan Acquah – Hayford – Public Relations Manager @Ghana Link Network Services

The last webinar was attended by more than 250 business leaders from more than 25 countries across the GCC, Africa, Eurasia and USA.

Polling Question nr.1
Based on today’s webinar topic Guidance on Freelancing, Banking and Residency Visas, which of the following business processes will most likely influence you to set up in Dubai?

Participants answers during the webinar:
11% – ease of opening a bank account
35% – Ease and benefits of residency visa
22% – Advantages of freelancing
32% – Ease of obtaining information on doing business

Consulting & Services Businesses in Dubai

  • Easy to register, 100% foreign ownership permitted both in FREE ZONES as well as MAIN LAND DED areas of Dubai and other emirates
  • Cost-effective operations – remotely accessible
  • Direct access to worldwide pool of skilled workforce –language/business and cultural expertise
  • All business licenses & banking facilities operated online
  • Government services offered online, remotely
  • Young, hungry for innovation and business services provider’s market
    .

Why Register as a Freelancer in Dubai Now?

  • In the MENA region, the freelance economy has grown substantially over the course of the past 5 years
  • From a demand perspective, the vast majority of talent-seekers, sought designers and other creative workers
  • “Remote work and the talented freelancers who work remotely, will increasingly be the norm, following the COVID-19 work disruption” FORTUNE Magazine
  • Dubai GO-FREELANCE permit offered by TECOM group, for licenses in Media/Education/Tech Activities
  • Marketplace – an online platform introduced with the aim of supporting Gofreelance talent
    .

How UAE Government Supports Freelancers Now?

  • The Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development (MCKD) has launched a programme to support freelancers and SMEs in the creative industry, helping out those that have been impacted by the coronavirus crisis
  • The National Creative Relief Programme is the first one in the region developed specifically for creative industries during COVID-19
  • The grant is open to freelancers and SMEs in the UAE. Emiratis and residents can apply. Individuals can receive between Dh 15,000 to 50,000 in aid
  • Applicants could range from small visual arts companies to freelance photographers and videographers
  • More specifically, those who are eligible for the fund include individuals and entities working in the following fields: natural & cultural heritage, performing arts, visual arts, audio-visual and interactive media, literature, press & design
    .

FAQ UAE Banking

“If you want something new, you have to stop doing something old”  Peter Drucker

Is it complicated to open a business bank account in UAE?

Marianna Bulbuc: “No, it is not complicated. Here in the UAE, the banking system we have a luck of understanding in communication between the banking officers and the applicants. The banking officers in the UAE have to comply with the Central Bank requirements on background check and on understanding of the business model of the applicant before a bank account is granted. Different countries worldwide provide a different type of documents.

For example in some countries a “proof of residency” would be a simple address from the home that applicant rents or owns, in other countries a “proof of residency” would a electricity bill or a landline number and in others a “proof of residency” wouldn’t exist at all. Speaking about the UAE, the complication as a commonality throughout a thousand’s of bank accounts that we at Bizzmosis assisted to setup is that in the moment somebody plans to register a business bank account, it is important to communicate openly to the bank account registrar and explain to them the specifics of the country that the applicant comes from as an investor, the specifics of the documents that you have available and can produce based on the requirements that the bank asks. When you don’t have a specific document or cannot produce it, find an alternative document specific to your country that might be considered by the bank registrar.
Make sure the bank you choose understands your business, understands your industry, your business model, your needs in terms of facilities (online transactions, online banking, etc.)”. Opening a bank account in UAE becomes easier, when you are well prepared.”

Do we need a residency to open a bank account in UAE?
(business and personal)

Marianna Bulbuc: “For personal banking, it is not mandatory to have a residency in UAE – there are numerous facilities in the UAE for individuals. For business banking, the authorized signatory of the business has to be a resident of the UAE, be it the general manager or one of the partners has to obtain the residency and Emirates ID in order to register a business bank account and become a liable party for signatories of the banking.”

Is there a minimum of funds required to maintain a business/personal bank account in Dubai?

Marianna Bulbuc: “In the UAE, for non residents there is a minimum of funds required for a bank account (depending on the bank chosen – starting from a 1000$ averagely per month). For UAE residents, the personal bank account does not require any deposits. For business bank accounts, depending on how much you expect to transact through the bank account (expected turnover) and also the type of bank account you need (visual, transactional bank account, investment or online banking, etc.). The minimum funds required start from as low as zero, depending on what type of banking is chosen and up to 100,000 AED for investment bank accounts.”

Questions/Answers

Anonymous Attendee: If my visa is sponsored by an employer or government organization, am I allowed to register my own business here in Dubai as a director and sponsor myself a visa?

Marianna Bulbuc: “We will have to look at the legalities of the liability. When you are in a managerial or a decision making position in a company, you bear liability for that position and for documentation or the information that you process for that company. It is of course very important to understand that if you are the CEO of a specific company, you cannot suddenly open a business that is competition to your position, and then use the information as a CEO to succeed in your own business. In that instance you are creating illegally a competition based on the information access that you have in your position. As Mrs. Khan mentioned, indeed “it is at the discretion of the employer and the employee” if an agreement as such exists, that the employee can/cannot at all own a business and bring the liability under the sponsored visa that he/she has or the employer can give some exceptions of freely access to the employee to be an investor, active investor, nominal investor or owner of other businesses in the UAE. As a general procedure, an employer can offer a Non Objection Certificate in the name of the employee to own, manage or run another business in the UAE. The type of the business or the nature of the business that the employee can own or run is at the discretion of both parties agreement.”

Hamza, Ghana: When opening a business in Dubai, can I sponsor my spouse and other dependants under my residency visa?

Omar Khan: “That depends on your income bracket of your job and whether you qualify or not.”
Marianna Bulbuc: “The beauty of the freelance in Dubai is that it does allow the freelance holder to sponsor their spouse, as well as their children and in some instances the house helper as well. Any investment license, be it Freezone or Mainland as well as freelance permit that is registered legally allows the holder as a partner and investor in the license to sponsor the immediate family members under the condition, as Mr. Omar Khan has explained – “that the investor and the freelance permit holder can show enough funds or savings, rental premises and monthly income to be able to sustain the needs of the family.”

Suzanne, Cote d’Ivoire: Does opening a bank account in Dubai allow me to have residency visa?

Marianna Bulbuc: “No, unfortunately having the bank account on its own does not offer the possibility of having a residency visa in Dubai. Investment in a property for example, then opening an account to manage that property and have those savings can be an option. But solely the bank account, as of my knowledge, does not.”
Oman Khan: “In terms of investment and bank accounts – if you can prove that you have fixed deposits of a certain amount, you can qualify for a “Golden visa” and this could be a mixed investment of a fixed deposit in an account plus an investment vehicle or real estate investment.”

Alexander: If the company is to be registered in a Freezone in Dubai, does opening a bank account require residency as well?

Marianna Bulbuc: “When opening a business bank account, either the partner or the general manager of the company has to be a resident in the UAE in order to be allowed to process the business bank account. From the aspect of liability, only a UAE resident can be an authorized signatory to a business bank account and business related accounts.”

Anonymous Attendee: I have decided that Dubai is the place I want to open a business. What should be the very first step in setting up a business in a Freezone area?

Marianna Bulbuc: “The very first step is finding which freezone is suitable for your business model. There are in excess of 70 freezones right now in the UAE, Dubai offers more than 30 freezones. There are Freezones that are currently offering packages that are very cost-effective with incentives such as: free licensing, free office rent, etc. in specific industries. For example if your business is around commodities trading than you may choose DMCC freezone, if your business is around media then you may choose Dubai Media City… First thing to do is to find which freezone represents best your business model, cost wise as well as industry and then contact the freezone authority or us @Bizzmosis and we will send you a list with all pro’s and con’s of each jurisdiction, what are the documents required, what are the costs to expect in the first year, etc. One important thing to remember is to always ask what are the costs expected for the renewals in the next years.”
Omar Khan: “As a business owner, you owe yourself to have a 3 year projection.”

Michael, India: Can I open a business bank account and register online from India as a professional in providing bookkeeping services and business advisory? Are the bank accounts kept in USD or will be converted into dirhams in Dubai?

Marianna Bulbuc: “Many specialties exists for the freelancing or for business registration available for all the nationalities. Yes, a national from or located in India can obtain either a Mainland or a freezone license for a bookkeeping business as well as consultancy service activity as well as a freelance permit for project management or accountancy expertise. Bank accounts here in the UAE are available in numerous currencies and you can operate and transact online through different currencies.”

Pajura: When setting up a business in Dubai, is it necessary to have a physical office to get a bank account, as this may increase my initial capital?

Marianna Bulbuc: “It is based on the business model. Mandatory physical address in the UAE is seen as a request for banks and the bank compliance team, but it doesn’t mean that businesses that don’t have an office cannot open a business bank account. Some freezones give the option of virtual offices rent, in the Mainland – Dubai Economic Department has created the “Estidama” contract which is in a way a virtual office as well. Also due to COVID-19, the government has so generously extended the possibility of any license being renewed and operated without an office at all. Off course there are more factors and considerations of granting a business bank account or private bank account than just the address. If we compensate with the loss of that “requirement” of having a physical address, by showing sustainability of the business, employees, proof of funds, great expertise and background of the investors – I don’t see a reason why a bank account wouldn’t be open or granted. We @Bizzmosis have multiple examples of customers who have obtained bank accounts for their businesses without an office presence.”

Polling Question nr.2
With Dubai expected to fully open borders on the 7th of July, how soon do you think you will travel to Dubai?

Participants answers during the webinar:
25% – 0 – 3 months
41% – 3 – 6 months
24% – 6 – 9 months
10% – 9 + months

In a closing remark, Omar Khan added: We genuinely believe that crisis is an opportunity and with the current business incentives, it is an amazing opportunity for UAE residents and companies as well as foreign investors to consider Dubai as a great business environment.

🎥  Watch the entire webinar and find out what other interesting questions have been answered during the live event: https://bit.ly/2ZivZAg
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Bizzmosis is honored and thankful for the opportunity and collaboration and look forward to provide the needed support to all entrepreneurs looking to establish or expand their business into the UAE!

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