Freelancing in various creative fields is growing at a steady pace given the flexibility and earning potential it offers to the freelancers as well as the cost-control advantages it provides the companies to hire from a dynamic industry-specialized talent pool. Do you wish to display your talent to build your own brand or be a global expert in your profession? Freelancing would be a means to share your creativity and follow your dream in your own time.
Taking a step to finally pursue that business idea which has been put aside for long time, or even expanding something you already do occasionally can certainly be overwhelming. With introduction of freelance license also known as a UAE freelance permit and a freelance visa, the UAE is now promoting freelancing to step forward towards creating a new talent pool for future developments. With a steady shift in perspectives, human resource leaders view freelancing as a means to build a flexible community of talents, lessen the long-term costs associated with recruitment and training and develop a broader and more specialist range of skills.
Why Freelance in the UAE
Freelance permit blends with UAE's vision to attract talented professionals and has made business set up in Dubai more affordable for individuals who can now work as freelancers. A freelance permit can be procured from a Freezone while Dubai Economic Department (DED) issues a professional license. The process and timeline to obtain a freelance or professional license may vary one jurisdiction to another.
The general set of documents required are CV, passport, and visa copy (if applicable), business plan, and a bank reference letter. In case the individual holds a UAE residence permit, a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the employer or sponsor (parents or spouse) needs to be submitted along with the application. While procuring a freelance visa, UAE embassy attested education certificate from country of issuance would be required for certain professionals.
Who is eligible for Freelance License?
Freelance permit can be procured by anyone who would like to work independently and express their creative talents in the UAE. The freelance permit is ideal for individuals who are sponsored by their spouse or parents and only require a permit to operate as a freelancer. However, for those who do not hold a visa, an establishment card needs to be obtained through the government services department of the freezone following which they may apply for a three year renewable residence permit which allows them to live and work in the UAE.
A freelance license would be issued for one year under the individual’s birth name as opposed to a brand name and needs to be renewed annually.
What are the activities allowed on Freelance Permit and Visa?
Freelance permits are generally available for a variety of professions related to media, education, and technology. The freelancers have the independence to take up opportunities that are temporary or contract jobs, full time or part-time or on a consultative basis in fields such as IT, creative writing, theater, arts, marketing, graphic design, education advisory, etc. Freelancers can also work as an independent contractor for companies and avail access to the business center operated or approved by the licensing authority. Presently, large number of businesses are engaging freelancers on one-off projects, contract-based work, outsourcing and even obtaining assistance with extra workload during peak seasons, due to flexibility and freedom to hire industry-specific experts.
What are the benefits for the Freelancers?
Sponsor dependents: Once the freelancer’s residence visa has been secured, an application can be submitted to sponsor spouse, children or parents and even domestic staff such as a housekeeper or driver, provided they meet the immigration requirements.
Read blog: Sponsoring Dependent Residence Visa
No office space required: The affordability of having a freelance license means having the independence and flexibility to work from anywhere be it a flexi desk, smart office or from one’s own home. With co-working spaces and the non-requirement of a physical premises makes the business set up cost and operating cost much lower.
Bank account set up: The freelancers would be able to open a bank account once the freelance permit is approved. However the cheque book would be issued in the name of the individual.
No requirement to submit audit report: Freelancers in UAE are not always required to do an annual audit or submit official accounts to the authorities; however it is always advisable to keep books of accounts and follow VAT regulations as applicable.
Build future business: The Freelance Permit is aimed at promoting freelancers to expand their network, gain more acceptance and establish their own company in the future. Freelancing can be viewed as an initial step to set-up and expand their business prior to which the freelance business license can be upgraded to a company license enabling the business to expand and hire multiple resources.
Freedom of work: It allows individuals to discover creativity as it offers better work-life balance than being in full time employment. Additionally independence, flexibility, ability to independently control own work time and space, freedom and manage own free time, and autonomy over career are some of the key advantages of a Freelance permit.
How can BM Strategies assist?
Given the dynamic nature of the immigration environment, we at BM Strategies guide our clients on the best and most efficient options in developing, implementing, and managing compliant UAE immigration programs. Please reach out to us for more information on firstname.lastname@example.org
Our services include:
- Employment Residence Visas
- Dependent Residence Visas
- Emirates Id Cards
- Corporate Documents Procurement/Renewal
- Expiry Tracking and Renewal
- De-registrations and Amendments
- GCC Pension Registry Management
- Document Procurement and Attestation Services
- PRO Services
- Benchmarking and Consultations
- Compliance Management
- Strategic Planning and Support
Note: The information provided here are only for the purpose of providing an overview regarding the UAE freelance permit and processes. The immigration regulations are subject to change from time to time from one jurisdiction to another. Hence the information provided hereby should not be considered an opinion or advice from BM Strategies but only a practical guide for general information.
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Posted on 10-Oct-2020.