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Blue Chip Scam: What to Do When Faced with Financial Fraud Cases in the UAE?

Recently, a number of UAE investors received a shock when the Blue Chip Group, a company they trusted, abruptly stopped returning their investments.

The office where they once went for inquiries is now empty, and the owner and staff are nowhere to be found. With millions of dollars at stake, investors are deeply concerned about recovering their money. Even Bollywood actor Sonu Sood, who had appeared at one of their events, has clarified that he is not involved with the company.

This confusing situation leaves investors feeling helpless. In cases like the one involving the Blue Chip Group, where investors are distressed due to alleged financial misconduct, understanding the legal aspects becomes essential. The UAE has stringent laws to combat financial fraud and protect investors' interests.

Firstly, it's crucial to note that financial activities in the UAE require proper licensing and approval from regulatory authorities such as the Securities and Commodities Authority (SCA).

Any entity engaging in financial activities without such authorization violates UAE laws. In the case of the Blue Chip Group, the absence of licensing raises significant legal concerns and may indicate potential fraudulent practices.

Investors need to document all relevant evidence, including communication with the company, financial transactions and any contractual agreements. This documentation will be vital in supporting their claims and seeking redress through legal channels.

Furthermore, investors should consider alternative dispute resolution mechanisms, such as mediation or arbitration, to resolve conflicts efficiently and cost-effectively. These methods may offer a quicker resolution compared to traditional litigation and can help mitigate the financial and emotional burden on affected investors.

Investors affected by such incidents should promptly seek legal advice to explore their options. They may consider filing complaints with relevant authorities and initiating legal proceedings to recover their investments.

Legal experts can guide investors through the complex process of navigating regulatory frameworks and pursuing civil claims against the responsible parties.

Additionally, laws related to financial fraud in the UAE impose severe penalties on individuals and entities found guilty of fraudulent activities.

These penalties may include hefty fines, imprisonment, and other punitive measures. By holding perpetrators accountable under the law, the UAE aims to deter future instances of financial misconduct and safeguard the integrity of its financial system.

In conclusion, while cases of financial fraud like the one involving the Blue Chip Group are distressing for investors, the UAE's robust legal framework offers avenues for recourse and justice.

By seeking legal guidance and taking proactive steps to assert their rights, investors can navigate these challenging situations and pursue legal action. 

For any enquiries or information, contact ask@tlr.ae or call us on +971 52 644 3004. Follow The Law Reporters on WhatsApp Channels.

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Compensation Options: Salary or Commission? Which Pay Structure Do You Prefer

 

 

In the UAE, job seekers often come across different compensation structures, including salary and commission options.

It is crucial for employees to comprehend the disparities between salary-based and commission-based pay in order to evaluate job offers and negotiate terms effectively.

This article aims to delve into the characteristics of salary and commission-based compensation in the UAE, shedding light on their advantages and disadvantages to assist individuals in making well-informed decisions about their careers.

Salary-Based Compensation

Consistent Income: With a salary-based compensation structure, employees receive a fixed amount of money regularly, usually on a monthly basis.

This predictable income provides stability and security, making it easier for employees to plan and budget for their expenses.

Additional Benefits and Perks: Many salary-based positions offer supplementary benefits and perks, such as health insurance, retirement plans, paid time off, and allowances for housing or transportation.

These additional benefits enhance the overall value of the compensation package.

Limited Incentives: While salary-based compensation provides stability, it may lack the same level of financial incentives and motivation as commission-based pay.

Employees may feel less compelled to surpass performance targets or generate additional revenue for the company.

Fixed Earnings: Employees with salary-based compensation have limited potential for earning additional income beyond their base salary.

Their earnings are solely tied to their fixed salary, irrespective of their individual performance or contributions to the company's success.

Commission-Based Compensation

Performance-Driven Earnings: In a commission-based compensation structure, employees earn a percentage of the sales or revenue they generate for the company.

This performance-driven model incentivizes employees to work harder and achieve results, as their earnings directly correlate with their performance.

Unlimited Earning Potential: Commission-based compensation allows employees to earn income based on their sales or revenue-generating activities, offering the opportunity for unlimited earnings.

Exceptional performance can lead to a significant increase in income through commissions.

Flexibility and Autonomy: Roles based on commission often offer greater flexibility and autonomy, enabling employees to set their own schedules and work independently to achieve sales targets.

This independence can be attractive to individuals who excel in a results-oriented environment.

Income Volatility: While commission-based pay can result in high earnings, it also brings income volatility and uncertainty.

Employees may experience fluctuations in their income on a monthly basis, depending on their sales performance and market conditions.

Choosing the Right Compensation Structure

Consider Personal Preferences: When assessing job offers, take into account your personal preferences, career objectives, and financial requirements.

Some individuals may prefer the security of a salary-based role, while others thrive in the dynamic nature of commission-based positions.

Evaluate Potential Earnings: Evaluate the earning potential of each compensation structure based on your skills, experience, and industry.

Consider the level of risk and uncertainty associated with commission-based pay in comparison to the stability of a salary.

Negotiate Terms: If feasible, negotiate the terms of your compensation package to align with your preferences and priorities.

Explore the possibility of a hybrid compensation structure that combines elements of salary and commission to maximize earning potential while ensuring stability.

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UAE Introduces New 10-year Blue Residency Visa: Eligibility and Application Process

 

The UAE has introduced a new initiative aimed at granting long-term residency to advocates for environmental causes, dubbed the 'Blue Residency.'

This special 10-year visa is designated for individuals who have demonstrated remarkable dedication and contributions toward environmental protection, encompassing sustainability endeavors both within and beyond the UAE.

The Blue Residency will be bestowed upon champions of environmental activism, including members of international corporations, associations, and non-governmental organisations, as well as recipients of global accolades and esteemed activists and researchers in the field of environmental conservation.

For any enquiries or information, contact ask@tlr.ae or call us on +971 52 644 3004Follow The Law Reporters on WhatsApp Channels.

Eligible candidates are encouraged to submit their applications through the Federal Authority for Identity, Citizenship, Customs, and Port Security, while competent authorities also have the option to nominate candidates for this extended residency program.

Highlighting the intertwining of economic and environmental sustainability, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, emphasised during a recent Cabinet meeting the significance of this initiative in fostering sustainable practices.

The initiative is part of a broader set of actions launched to commemorate 2024 as the year of sustainability, following the momentum generated by last year's focus on green themes, which rallied residents to embrace sustainable lifestyles.

Traditionally, the UAE issues residency visas with a two-year validity period. In 2019, the country introduced the Golden Visa programme, offering 10-year residencies to investors, entrepreneurs, scientists, outstanding students and humanitarian leaders.

Building on this, the UAE subsequently unveiled the Green Visa programme in 2022, providing five-year residencies to skilled professionals, freelancers, investors, and entrepreneurs, further enriching its visa offerings.

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UAE Tax Dilemma: Exemption of 'Director's Fees' from Corporate Tax Under Lens

 

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is renowned for its business-friendly environment, characterised by favorable tax policies and incentives aimed at attracting foreign investment and fostering economic growth.

However, recent developments in the realm of taxation have brought to light complexities surrounding the treatment of director's fees and the prospect of corporate taxation.

On May 13, the UAE's Federal Tax Authority issued a pivotal public clarification regarding the Value Added Tax (VAT) implications associated with "performing the function of a director."

Effective from January 1, 2023, services rendered by members of a board of directors are no longer considered a supply of services for VAT purposes.

This groundbreaking update signifies that VAT is not applicable to fees received for directorship services, bringing relief to numerous individuals and senior management personnel across the country.

While this clarification offers clarity on VAT implications, it also raises critical questions for business owners regarding the broader landscape of taxation in the UAE.

One such concern revolves around the distinction between formal directorship roles and informal business ownership.

While the VAT exclusion applies to services performed formally as a director on a board of directors, individuals who withdraw funds from their businesses without constituting a formal board face ambiguity regarding the tax treatment of such transactions.

Furthermore, the recent clarification leaves room for interpretation regarding the treatment of non-resident directors' fees and transitional provisions for services rendered before January 1, 2023.

These uncertainties underscore the need for comprehensive guidance and clarity to ensure compliance and mitigate risks for businesses operating in the UAE.

Moreover, the issue extends beyond VAT implications to encompass corporate taxation, a topic that has garnered increased attention in recent years.

While the UAE does not currently levy corporate income tax at the federal level, discussions surrounding the introduction of corporate taxation in certain Emirates have reignited debates about the taxation of director's fees and corporate earnings.

One of the key challenges lies in harmonising regulations between VAT and corporate tax laws.

While director fees are generally not considered a business activity under corporate tax laws, the VAT amendment suggests otherwise.

This disconnect prompts inquiries about the applicability of corporate tax in the absence of a formal board of directors and the treatment of funds withdrawn as director's fees.

Furthermore, questions arise regarding the distinction between individuals conducting business activities and those providing directorship services.

While the recent guide on taxation of natural persons under the corporate tax law states that director fees will not be considered as a business activity, the implications of this distinction remain unclear, particularly in scenarios where individuals serve both as business owners and directors.

These complexities underscore the need for comprehensive tax planning and advisory services to navigate the evolving tax landscape in the UAE effectively.

Business owners must remain vigilant and seek expert guidance to ensure compliance with regulatory requirements and optimize tax outcomes.

In conclusion, while the UAE's tax policies have historically been favourable for businesses, recent developments surrounding the treatment of director's fees and the prospect of corporate taxation highlight the need for greater clarity and harmonisation within the taxation framework.

By addressing these complexities proactively and seeking expert guidance, businesses can navigate the evolving tax landscape with confidence and ensure long-term sustainability and growth.

For any enquiries or information, contact ask@tlr.ae or call us on +971 52 644 3004Follow The Law Reporters on WhatsApp Channels.

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Bon Tum Mayo and Non-Halal Mars Products Pulled from Shelves Amid Safety Concerns

 

In light of a recent contaminated product incident at Hamburgini restaurant in Riyadh, where one person died and 75 were hospitalised due to food poisoning, Bon Tum mayonnaise has been implicated.

The Saudi Food and Drug Authority's laboratory analysis revealed the presence of Clostridium Botulinum bacteria, the cause of botulism, in a sample of Bon Tum mayonnaise served at the restaurant.

Authorities in Abu Dhabi confirmed on Tuesday that the emirate is free of Bon Tum mayonnaise and have ensured that it does not enter outlets in the city.

The Abu Dhabi Agriculture and Food Safety Authority (ADAFSA) also stated that they are monitoring ports to prevent the entry of Bon Tum products unless they meet safety standards and specifications.

Regarding non-halal Mars products, authorities confirmed on the same day that "no non-halal chocolate Mars bars are sold in Abu Dhabi and Dubai markets."

Dubai Municipality clarified in a social media post that all Mars company products available in the markets adhere to technical regulations and approved legislation for halal products.

Thorough supervision is conducted across the supply chain to ensure compliance with specific standards for all food items.

In a recent social media announcement, ADAFSA reaffirmed its commitment to ensuring the safety of all food products in circulation within the emirate.

Emphasizing its stringent controls throughout the supply chain, ADAFSA aims to provide residents with peace of mind regarding the safety and quality of their food.

ADAFSA's assurance is grounded in a comprehensive framework of technical regulations, systems and legislation that adhere to scientific principles and international standards.

These regulations are continuously reviewed and updated to stay abreast of the latest developments in food safety practices.

ADAFSA's proactive approach underscores its dedication to safeguarding public health and well-being by maintaining rigorous oversight of food production, distribution, and handling processes.

This effort aligns with broader initiatives aimed at enhancing food safety and security across the UAE.

As a key regulatory body, ADAFSA plays a pivotal role in upholding the highest standards of food safety, thereby contributing to the overall health and welfare of the community.

Consumers can have confidence in the safety and quality of food products available in Abu Dhabi markets, given ADAFSA's reassurance and proactive measures.

The authority's commitment to continuous improvement and adherence to international best practices underscores its role as a trusted guardian of public health in the emirate.

Conclusion

The recent concerns regarding product availability in the UAE shed light on the multifaceted factors that influence the products available for purchase in the region.

From legal regulations to cultural sensitivities and consumer preferences, companies operating in the UAE must navigate a complex landscape to ensure compliance, transparency, and consumer trust.

By understanding and addressing these factors, companies can navigate the intricacies of product availability in the UAE and foster positive relationships with consumers in the region.

For any enquiries or information, contact ask@tlr.ae or call us on +971 52 644 3004Follow The Law Reporters on WhatsApp Channels.

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How to Take Action Against a Cheating Business Partner in the UAE?

You poured your heart and soul into a business partnership in the UAE, only to be cheated by your partner. But don’t be disheartened, for you have every right to take action against the partner, and the law is on your side.

This article delves into the nitty-gritty of legal matters and guides you through some clever strategies to deal with this challenging situation. Are you ready to roll up your sleeves and show that cheater who's the boss?

In cases of business fraud or embezzlement, the UAE legal system takes a strong stance to protect the rights of businesses and individuals. Perpetrators of such crimes can face severe penalties, including imprisonment and financial restitution. Victims must gather evidence and seek legal representation to ensure that justice is served.

UAE has a well-established legal system designed to protect individuals and businesses. It's essential to assess the specific circumstances of your situation and consider the potential benefits and drawbacks of each approach.

While pursuing legal action may be necessary in some cases, exploring alternative solutions can offer flexibility and opportunities for resolution outside of the courtroom.

Let's explore the two approaches -- legal action and alternative solutions.

1. Legal Action:

Gathering Evidence: Collect all relevant documents and evidence that demonstrate your partner's dishonest practices or conduct while handling business such as contracts, financial records and communication.

Seeking Legal Counsel: Consult with a lawyer specialising in business law to understand your legal rights and options for pursuing a case against your partner.

Filing a Case: File a formal complaint or lawsuit against your partner, based on strong legal grounds and supported by compelling evidence.

Pursuing Compensation: Seek compensation for any financial losses or damages incurred due to your partner's fraudulent actions through negotiations or court proceedings.

Adhering to Legal Procedures: Follow the prescribed legal procedures and deadlines for presenting evidence and advancing your case

2. Alternative Solutions

Negotiation and Mediation: Attempt to resolve the dispute through negotiation or mediation, involving a neutral third party if necessary, to reach a mutually agreeable solution.

Internal Resolution Mechanisms: Explore internal dispute resolution mechanisms within your business framework such as involving a member of the board of directors or seeking guidance from a business advisor.

Regulatory Reporting: Consider reporting the issue to relevant regulatory authorities or industry watchdogs in the UAE if it involves breaches of official laws or regulations.

Community Support and Reputation Management: Seek support and advice from other business owners or professionals in your industry and consider how to protect your reputation while addressing the situation.

Business Restructuring or Dissolution: Evaluate the feasibility of restructuring your business arrangement or dissolving the partnership if the trust has been irreparably damaged.

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UAE: 50 Fines Imposed on Real Estate Agents, 7 Licenses Suspended for Rule Violations

 

The UAE has taken decisive action against real estate agents, with fines issued and licenses suspended for violations of regulations in Abu Dhabi.

In the capital, several  real estate agents have faced penalties for non-compliance with rules and regulations governing the real estate sector. Authorities revealed that a total of 50 fines were levied against brokers during the initial quarter of this year for various infractions of real estate protocols.

These penalties were incurred for offenses such as engaging in marketing activities for unregistered projects and failing to uphold professional standards within the industry.

Moreover, the Abu Dhabi Real Estate Centre (ADREC) disclosed that seven real estate brokers had been temporarily barred from practicing, with their brokerage offices also being fined Dh30,000 for violations related to professional conduct.

ADREC emphasised its commitment to ensuring that the highest standards are maintained in Abu Dhabi's real estate landscape by prioritising adherence to lawful practices.

This stringent approach by ADREC mirrors recent actions taken by regulatory authorities in Dubai to tighten oversight of property firms and enforce compliance with advertising regulations to promote transparency.

In February, the Real Estate Regulatory Agency (RERA), operating under the Dubai Land Department (DLD), introduced new terms and conditions governing advertisements to address negative practices prevalent in the industry.

As part of this regulatory crackdown, authorities imposed fines of Dh50,000 on 30 real estate companies found to be in breach of the specified terms and conditions governing real estate advertisements. 

For any enquiries or information, contact ask@tlr.ae or call us on +971 52 644 3004. Follow The Law Reporters on WhatsApp Channels.

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Planning to Drive Abroad? Your Guide to International Driving License in the UAE

 

In the UAE, obtaining an International Driving Licence (IDL) is essential for citizens and residents planning to drive abroad. This permit, aligned with a United Nations convention, is a legal requirement and serves various purposes.

It enables drivers to legally operate their vehicles outside the UAE without the need for additional tests or applications. Serving as a translation of the local driving licence, it confirms the validity of the driver's licence in the home country.

Valid for one year, it provides protection in case of accidental vehicle damage or loss of legal identification while abroad. Recognised globally in 10 languages, it facilitates communication with law enforcement and authorities in other countries.

Obtaining an IDL is a straightforward process and can be done through various channels, including the Dubai Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) website, Automobile and Touring Club of the UAE (ATCUAE), Ministry of Interior's MOI UAE app, Emirates Post offices and Dnata office.

Required documents include the IDL form, passport, valid residency and Emirates ID, copy of valid UAE licence and two passport photos. The fees for obtaining an IDL are Dh177, plus Dh20 for Knowledge and Innovation fees.

Online applications are processed within three working days, while over-the-counter applications can be completed within half an hour. Delivery options include normal, same-day, two-hour and international delivery, each incurring additional charges.

Some Key Points to Remember

*Obtain the IDL before travelling.
*The IDL is valid for one year and requires renewal after expiry.
*It is different from the local driving permit in the UAE, which remains necessary for driving within the Emirates.

Additionally, individuals are advised to refer to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation website to verify which countries accept a valid UAE driving licence and consult the ATCUAE website for a list of 174 countries that require an IDP.

For any enquiries or information, contact ask@tlr.ae or call us on +971 52 644 3004. Follow The Law Reporters on WhatsApp Channels.

 

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Dubai Police Launches Six ‘On-the-Go’ Initiative, No Station Visits Require

Dubai Police have launched the 'on-the-go' initiative as part of their efforts to enhance accessibility and convenience to the public. Whether it's a minor car accident or the need to report a crime, this initiative offers swift assistance and services to both residents and visitors.

Partnering with fuel supply companies like ENOC, ADNOC and Emarat, Dubai Police brings these services directly to motorists. They can report minor traffic incidents, hit-and-runs, request police assistance, vehicle repairs, or report lost and found items.
Utilising smart devices and advanced technology, this initiative handles various services and procedures on the streets, eliminating the need for physical visits to police stations, thus making the process more convenient.
Operating across 138 service stations in the emirate, the 'on-the-go' initiative provides a range of services, including vehicle repairs, accident reports, police assistance and lost and found services. Fuel station personnel assist motorists in reporting minor accidents and obtaining accident reports, reducing waiting times and assisting police patrols in maintaining traffic flow.
Motorists can get their vehicles repaired after reporting accidents at select stations, with some eligible for free repairs, such as seniors, people with disabilities and pregnant women. Others can benefit from the service for a fee.
Additionally, motorists can report lost/found items through the Dubai Police Smart app, streamlining the process and reducing time and effort. Residents can also report cybercrimes or suspicious activities through the app, website, or at Smart Police Stations (SPS) for prompt assistance.
The Police Eye service allows residents to report crimes for enhanced public safety and community well-being, available in six languages through the Dubai Police app and website.

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Abu Dhabi Judiciary Settles 61.3 Per Cent of Family Disputes Amicably in 2023

As part of its efforts to establish a culture of tolerance and encourage the amicable settlement of disputes to ensure the preservation of family cohesion and stability, the Abu Dhabi Judicial Department (ADJD) was able to resolve approximately 61.3 per cent of family disputes presented to family guidance committees during the past year 2023, which amounted to 15,667 family disputes, while referring 5,969 cases to the competent courts.

Counselor Yousef Saeed Al Abri, Undersecretary of the Abu Dhabi Judicial Department emphasised the department's eagerness to spread the culture of alternative solutions as part of its efforts to apply best practices and cutting-edge techniques that meet the highest quality standards, to achieve reconciliation and amicable settlements for family disputes as well as civil, commercial, and real estate disputes, in compliance with the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Vice President of the United Arab Emirates, Deputy Prime Minister, Chairman of the Presidential Court, and Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Judicial Department directives by stepping up efforts to promote family stability, cohesion, and community cohesion.

Counselor Yousef Al-Abri noted that the Abu Dhabi Judicial Department will keep carrying out its initiatives to create a culture of alternative dispute resolution, come to reconciliation agreements, and settle disputes by mutual consent without reference to the competent courts.

This helps to propagate the values of tolerance and coexistence in a setting where harmony, understanding and reconciliation are the norm, upholding the rule of law and achieving justice to support the Emirate of Abu Dhabi's competitive position.

Furthermore, the department's numerous awareness campaigns and initiatives have contributed to the high rates of amicable settlements. One such campaign, "Reconciliation is Good," ran 47 family awareness workshops last year, benefiting roughly 4,000 people.

Its goal was to raise family awareness in light of the rapidly changing times through the use of cutting-edge techniques to deliver awareness messages and the implementation of interactive training sessions that included multimedia and interactive exercises to teach couples how to resolve conflicts and overcome obstacles that could cause their marriages, and eventually their families, to fall apart.

The Judicial Department's family mentors are essential to improving successful attempts to get married couples to settle their differences amicably and come to a mutually agreeable agreement.

They accomplish this by providing both parties with intensive sessions with specialised social, psychological and legal mentors, conducting research and discussing issues from multiple angles, and offering the necessary recommendations within treatment plans that account for the ways in which the family is changing.

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Mastering UAE's Domestic Workers Law: Guidelines for Sponsoring Domestic Workers

The UAE has taken significant steps to ensure fair treatment for domestic workers by enacting Federal Decree-Law No. 9/2022 Concerning Domestic Workers and Cabinet Resolution No. 106 of 2022.

The law, effective from December 5, 2022, outlines employer duties such as providing suitable housing and covering medical expenses.

For instance, if sponsors are hiring domestic workers from India then the sponsors must register with the Government of India's E-Migrant Web Portal and visit IVS Global Services for document attestation.

They must also submit various documents, including passports, Emirates IDs, and marriage certificates. After obtaining entry permits, sponsors must sign employment contracts with the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratization (MOHRE) and ensure medical fitness and insurance for workers.

If sponsors are hiring domestic workers from other countries, they must follow similar procedures. This could involve registering with the respective government's migrant portal and visiting authorized services for document authentication, as exemplified by the above process in India.

Federal Decree-Law No. 9/2022 Concerning Domestic Workers and Cabinet Resolution No. 106 of 2022 aim to regulate employment relationships and establish a structured framework governing the recruitment and employment of domestic workers in the UAE.

What is the Law for Domestic Workers in the UAE?

The UAE Domestic Labour Law, as outlined by the Official Portal of the UAE Government, emphasises the principle of informed consent. This ensures that workers are fully aware of the terms of their contract, nature of work, workplace conditions, remuneration, and daily and weekly rest periods, as set out by executive regulations.

Who Can Sponsor Domestic Workers in the UAE?

To sponsor a maid visa in Dubai, the sponsoring individual must have a minimum earning of Dh6000 or Dh5000 with accommodation benefits. Additionally, the applicant must possess a UAE residency visa to sponsor a housemaid in Dubai.

Licensing Requirements and Obligations

Article 4 outlines licensing requirements for Domestic Workers Recruitment Offices, stressing the need for approval from the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE). Recruitment of workers under 18 is prohibited, and specific acts during recruitment are forbidden.

Articles 6 and 7 mandate a formal contract approved by MoHRE, covering worker requirements, rights, financial obligations and recruitment process details.

Recruitment offices must inform workers about job specifics, refrain from charging commissions, conduct pre-employment medical exams and provide suitable accommodation.

Employment Conditions, Leaves and Remuneration

Federal Decree-Law No. 9 of 2022 and Cabinet Resolution 106 of 2022 ensure domestic workers receive a paid day off each week and a minimum daily rest period of 12 hours, including 8 hours of continuous sleep.

Article 10 entitles domestic workers to at least 30 days of annual leave, with public holidays included. Employers must cover round-trip airfare if a worker spends annual leave in their home country.

Sick leave provisions include a maximum of 30 days per year, with the first 15 days fully paid.

Sick Leave and Other Obligations

Domestic workers may take up to 30 days of sick leave per year, with the first 15 days fully paid. Remuneration is not payable for illnesses resulting from misconduct.

Article 17 addresses remuneration suspension during preventive detention, and both employers and workers have obligations to notify the Ministry regarding absences and departures.

Obligations of Employer and Domestic Worker

Employers must pay agreed remuneration, cover medical treatment or health insurance and provide necessary accommodations, meals and clothing. Domestic workers must perform tasks diligently, follow instructions and respect societal customs.

Contract termination can occur due to various reasons, with employers obligated to settle financial entitlements within 10 days of contract expiration.

Rescission of Contract

Either party may rescind the employment contract for specified breaches. Employers terminating contracts without reasons must provide a return ticket and settle outstanding entitlements.

Domestic workers ending contracts post-probation incur obligations based on recruitment method.

End-of-Service Gratuity and Dispute Resolution

Article 22 allows the Council of Ministers to approve end-of-service gratuity systems and Article 23 outlines dispute resolution mechanisms, emphasising amicable settlements through the Ministry or court referral.

Inspection and Penalties

Ministry employees monitor and inspect various aspects related to domestic workers, with administrative penalties for violations outlined.

UAE courts have jurisdiction over disputes, with penalties ranging from fines to imprisonment for violations.

The Domestic Workers Law in the UAE establishes a comprehensive framework to protect the rights and responsibilities of employers and domestic workers. Understanding this law is crucial for all parties involved in domestic employment relationships in the UAE.

For any enquiries or information, contact ask@tlr.ae or call us on +971 52 644 3004Follow The Law Reporters on WhatsApp Channels.

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RTA Introduces a Seamless Service:  Learn How to Remove Vehicles from Salik Accounts

 

Dubai's Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has introduced a seamless service for removing vehicles from Salik accounts, aimed at simplifying administrative processes and enhancing the user experience for motorists.

This comprehensive guide provides step-by-step instructions on how to remove vehicles from Salik accounts, including eligibility criteria, required documents, service fees, processing methods and average waiting times.

Eligibility and Required Documents

  • All owners of Salik accounts are eligible to apply for this service. Depending on whether the vehicle ownership has changed, the required documents vary:For individuals: A valid Emirates ID is required if the ownership of the vehicle has not changed. This can be processed through Customer Happiness Centres and Salik Service Counters.
  • For companies: A valid Emirates ID of the applicant is needed if the ownership of the vehicle has not changed. Additionally, a letterhead with the company stamp and a list of Salik tags and plate numbers to be removed must be provided.
  • In the case of selling the vehicle, the applicant's valid Emirates ID is necessary.

Service Fees and Processing Time

 The service is provided free of charge. The processing time varies depending on the method chosen:

  • Website and Smart Application: 5 minutes
  • Customer Happiness Centres and Salik Customer Service Counters: 10 minutes
  •  Call Centre: 5 minutes

Process and Methods

Several convenient methods are available for removing vehicles from Salik accounts:
Through the Website and Smart Application:

  • Log in with your username and password.
  •  Select the "vehicles" section.
  • Choose the service of removing a vehicle.

Through the Dubai Now App:

  • Log in to the Dubai Now App and select Salik Accounts.
  • Choose the "manage vehicle" section and select the service of removing a vehicle.

Through Customer Happiness Centres and Salik Customer Service Counters:

  •  Fill in the vehicle removal form.
  • The vehicle is then removed from the customer's account.

Through Salik Customer Service Representative:

  •  Contact the call centre and request the service of removing a vehicle.

Through Salik Self Service on Salik Call Centre:

  • Log in to the account and select the service of removing a vehicle.

Average Waiting Time and Validity

  •  Website and Smart Application: www.salik.ae or Salik App
  •  Customer Happiness Centres and Salik Customer Service Counters: 10 minutes
  • Call Centre: Instantly
  •  This service has no validity period.

Dubai's new service for removing vehicles from Salik accounts marks another step forward in the city's commitment to innovation and efficiency.

By simplifying administrative processes and leveraging technology, the RTA aims to enhance the overall user experience for motorists, ensuring a smoother journey on Dubai's roads.

For any enquiries or information, contact ask@tlr.ae or call us on +971 52 644 3004Follow The Law Reporters on WhatsApp Channels.

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Roaming Fujairah Wild Cat Finally Captured by Special Team; Owner Pays Penalty

Authorities in Fujairah have apprehended a wild cat that was sighted roaming freely in a residential area adjacent to the mountains.
Following the circulation of
viral footage of the cat on Monday, specialised teams from the Fujairah Environment Authority swiftly acted to pinpoint the whereabouts of the wild feline.

According to Aseela Moalla, Director of the Fujairah Environment Agency, a UAE citizen was identified as the owner of the animal.

The citizen cooperated with authorities by surrendering the wild cat and acknowledging their unawareness regarding the legality of owning such a creature.

Moalla stated that three individuals were involved in the capture of the non-aggressive wild cat, which was found in the vicinity where the video was recorded.

A substantial fine has been imposed on the owner, although the exact amount remains undisclosed. According to UAE law, the penalty for possessing a dangerous animal without registration starts at Dh10,000 and can escalate to Dh500,000.

The caracal has been transferred to a zoo where it will receive suitable care and habitat.

Moalla emphasised that caracals are classified under the red category of the CITES agreement and are protected by local and federal laws, prohibiting their ownership or trade. CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) is an international agreement between governments. Its aim is to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten the survival of the species

These medium-sized wild cats are native to the Hajar mountain range, capable of leaping up to 10 feet to catch their prey, and hold significance in the country's ecosystem.

Encountering a wild cat is rare in the UAE. However, if residents do come across one, authorities advise remaining calm and avoiding any actions that may provoke the animal. Unthreatened, the animal is unlikely to attack or cause harm.

Initial reports suggested the wild animal spotted in Fujairah was a lynx. However, the authority clarified that it was a caracal—a creature often mistaken for a lynx. Unlike the furrier lynx, the caracal has distinct features. Despite its nickname 'desert lynx', it is not a member of the lynx family.

The authority urges the public to register any dangerous animals they own promptly and to report environmental concerns, including land and marine animal sightings, via the toll-free number 800368.

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UAE Bankruptcy Law: Company Managers Accountable for Risky Decisions

The UAE's new Bankruptcy Law, effective May 1, 2024, signifies a significant shift in the regulatory landscape, bringing heightened scrutiny to high-risk decisions within companies. Unlike previous regulations where the primary burden fell on company directors, the new law extends potential liability to include senior management figures.

The expansion of liability under the new law encompasses de facto managers and individuals responsible for actual company management. This inclusivity extends to controlling shareholders and is welcomed within the legal community.

Key Points for Creditors

Under the new law, a 'two-year limitation period' from the bankruptcy declaration date allows for liability proceedings against individuals, including board members and senior management. However, these officials may be exempt if they can demonstrate adherence to standard measures or documented objections to pertinent actions.

Previous liabilities under the old law included financial accountability for actions taken up to two years before bankruptcy proceedings. These actions encompassed uncalculated business risks, undervalued transactions, and partiality towards certain creditors to the detriment of others. Exemption from responsibility is possible if individuals prove mitigation efforts or lack of involvement in said actions.

A Standout Reform

The new Bankruptcy Law stands out as a pivotal reform in the UAE's business sector, alongside other initiatives such as 100 per cent foreign ownership, intellectual property rights amendments and arbitration enhancements. Noteworthy is the law's provision for a clear legal roadmap for businesses and stakeholders navigating bankruptcy proceedings.

Determining Liability Payouts

The law stipulates that liability payouts against company directors or de facto managers should correspond to their degree of fault. This nuanced approach considers the impact of management decisions on the company's financial health, encouraging more responsible business practices.

Directors' liability may be triggered by actions such as settling one creditor's debt to the detriment of others or if it's proven that company assets are insufficient to cover at least 20 per cent of debts due to negligent management.

A Shift in Initiation Proceedings

A significant departure from previous requirements is the optional nature of initiating bankruptcy proceedings by the debtor. With increased liability concerns, boards of directors or managers may hesitate to file proceedings independently. The implications of this change await observation, with trends expected to crystallize over time.

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UAE Passport, ID Issuance and Renewal Services Reduced to One Step

The Federal Authority for Identity, Citizenship, Customs, and Port Security (ICP) announced on Wednesday that it has revamped the passport issuance process for Emiratis, as well as streamlined Emirates ID and residency permit procedures for expatriates.

Previously, these services necessitated four steps, but now they've been condensed into a single step, enhancing efficiency and convenience for customers. The initiative aligns with the UAE’s Zero Government Bureaucracy programme.

To simplify applications, several fields have been removed from service requests. In passport services, four out of ten fields have been eliminated, while for ID card and residence permit services, six fields have been removed. The customer's last registered address is now displayed, and remaining fields are automatically filled based on one-time data requests.

Attachments previously required have also been reduced. The personal photo attachment is no longer necessary for passport services, and for ID card and residence permit services, all three main attachments -- passport, summary of registration for citizens, and personal photo -- have been eliminated.

Data and photos are now retrieved from systems, with the option for customers to change photos if desired. Additionally, the need for a passport loss circular document has been replaced by an electronic circular, and health insurance documents for residents are retrieved through institutional linkage.

Furthermore, ICP has introduced smart payment channels like Apple Pay and Google Pay, simplifying payments and reducing data entry fields and steps, ultimately saving customers time.

“The aspirations and needs of customers are our top priority,” said Major General Suhail Saeed Al Khaili, ICP director-general. The new procedure has significantly improved service efficiency and customer satisfaction, he added.

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Employer's Dilemma: Legal Pitfalls and Best Practices in Providing Employee Loans

In the UAE, providing employee loans can pose legal challenges for employers. The legal framework governing employment relationships and financial transactions in the UAE is highly specific, with regulations that govern such interactions.

One primary concern is compliance with labour laws and financial regulations. Article 458 of Federal Law Decree No. (31) of 2021 stipulates that dealing in usury interest between natural persons is a criminal offense.

This law imposes penalties, including imprisonment for a minimum of one year and a fine not less than Dh50,000, on individuals engaged in usurious transactions, whether explicit or implicit. The law defines latent interest to encompass any commission or benefit stipulated by a creditor without corresponding legal justification or service. Utilising a debtor's vulnerability or necessity is considered an aggravating circumstance under this provision.

However, transactions between companies and natural persons fall outside the scope of this law. If a company extends a loan to an employee, it can pursue repayment with interest and seek legal recourse if necessary. Conversely, if an individual (such as an employer) personally provides the loan, claiming the original amount without interest may be more advisable. Employers can use various means to substantiate the loan, including bank transfers, in the absence of a formal loan agreement.

Additionally, under Article 43 of the labour law, employers are entitled to claim compensation for a three-month notice period if an employee fails to adhere to it. This provision mandates payment of a notice period allowance, equivalent to the worker's wage for the full notice period or its remaining duration, regardless of whether the absence of notification results in damages.

Another primary concern for employers in the UAE when considering loaning money to employees is ensuring compliance with labour laws and financial regulations. Here are some key points to consider:

Labour Law Compliance: Transactions must adhere to UAE labour laws, which dictate the terms of employment contracts, including financial arrangements.
Interest-Free Loans: Loans should typically be interest-free in line with Islamic principles.
Clear Terms and Documentation:Establishing clear terms and documenting loan agreements is crucial to prevent disputes.
Non-Discrimination: Loans must be offered on a non-discriminatory basis, avoiding favoritism.
Conflicts of Interest: Employers should avoid conflicts of interest, especially if the employee holds a position of authority.
Legal Advice: Seeking legal counsel helps ensure compliance with laws and regulations, navigating complexities effectively.

If an employer faces a legal dilemma related to a loan provided to an employee in the UAE, it's important to address the issue promptly and transparently. Depending on the nature of the dilemma, seeking guidance from legal experts or authorities may be necessary to resolve the situation effectively and minimise potential legal risks.

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Tiger Rumour on the Prowl: UAE Law Strictly Prohibits Keeping of Exotic Animals

Is there a tiger on the prowl in Sharjah? The Environment and Protected Areas Authority in the emirate says no. The authority swiftly refuted rumors circulating about a big cat wandering the emirate, urging the public to rely solely on credible sources for information.

UAE's Stance on Exotic Pets

The UAE strictly prohibits the keeping of exotic animals like lions as pets. The Ministry of Climate Change and Environment has reinforced federal laws to prevent individuals from owning, trading, or breeding dangerous wild animals. Previously considered a status symbol, owning big cats now carries hefty penalties, including fines and imprisonment.

New Legislation to Ensure Public Safety

Recent legislation aims to address the risks posed by roaming exotic animals. It bans the ownership and trade of all dangerous animals, wild or domesticated, except in authorised facilities such as zoos, wildlife parks, and research centres. Those found violating these laws face severe penalties, including imprisonment and substantial fines.

Impact on Pet Owners

The regulations extend to traditional pet owners, particularly dog owners, who must obtain permits and keep their dogs leashed in public. Failure to comply may result in significant fines. While dogs, cats, parrots and small mammals are permitted as pets, exotic animals are strictly prohibited. Certain dog breeds are also barred from entry into the country.

Compliance with Health and Maintenance Rules

Individuals bringing pets into the UAE must adhere to stringent health and maintenance regulations. Pets must be registered, vaccinated, and microchipped, and owners are responsible for cleaning up after them and preventing harm to others or property. Failure to comply may lead to fines and legal repercussions.

Penalties for Non-Compliance

Anyone caught taking exotic animals out in public faces imprisonment and fines. The penalties for such actions are severe, with fines reaching up to Dh500,000. Additionally, individuals using wild animals to intimidate or cause fear in others face even harsher penalties, with fines potentially increasing to Dh700,000. Similarly, dog owners failing to leash their pets or vaccinate them against diseases may be fined up to Dh100,000.

The most recent incident of a wild animal roaming loose in the UAE occurred in 2021, causing panic among residents of Dubai. It's also worth noting that according to UAE law, individuals spreading fake news could face hefty penalties, ranging from fines of Dh100,000 to Dh200,000 and imprisonment for one to two years.

Regarding the legality of keeping lions as pets in the UAE, it is strictly prohibited. UAE law explicitly prohibits the ownership of exotic animals like lions as pets. Anyone found violating this law may face legal consequences, including fines and imprisonment.

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Dubai Police Detain 967 Beggars, Street vendors, Illegal workers since Ramadan

Since initiating its "Anti-begging" campaign during Ramadan, Dubai Police has detained 396 beggars, 292 street vendors, and 279 undocumented workers. According to the police, 99 per cent of the arrested beggars perceive begging as a 'profession'.

Brigadier Ali Salem Al Shamsi, Director of the Suspects and Criminal Phenomena Department in the General Department of Criminal Investigation, emphasised the police's commitment to educating the community about the hazards of begging. He highlighted increased vigilance during Ramadan and holidays due to beggars' attempts to elicit sympathy during these periods.

Al Shamsi pointed out that these offenders are commonly found in residential and commercial areas, places of worship, and that street vendors employ various tactics to garner sympathy. He warned against purchasing items from street vendors, citing potential threats to community safety, particularly with regards to food and goods of dubious origins and quality.

The presence of beggars, street vendors, and undocumented workers poses security risks and tarnishes the state's reputation, Al Shamsi added, noting their potential links to serious crimes such as theft, pickpocketing, and the exploitation of vulnerable individuals.

Begging is prohibited under Federal Law No. 9 of 2018 on Combating Begging, Al Shamsi reiterated. Recently, Dubai Police apprehended two women with significant sums of cash obtained solely through begging.

In the past four years, Dubai Police have detained 1,701 beggars, with nearly 500 arrests in 2023 alone, indicating the escalating nature of the issue.

Begging is punishable by a fine of Dh5,000 and three months' imprisonment in the UAE. Those involved in organised begging or recruiting individuals from abroad face stiffer penalties of a six-month jail term and a Dh100,000 fine. Unauthorised fundraising carries fines of up to Dh500,000.

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Dubai Unveils Plans for World's Largest ' Airport of the Future' at a Cost of Dh128 Billion

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, reviewed the strategic plan of the Dubai Aviation Engineering Projects and approved designs for the new passenger terminal at Al Maktoum International Airport, which will be the largest in the world when fully operational.

Set to be built at a cost of Dh128 billion, the new terminal will ultimately enable the airport to handle a passenger capacity of 260 million annually.

The approval came during His Highness Sheikh Mohammed’s visit to the Dubai Aviation Engineering Projects, accompanied by His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Executive Council, and His Highness Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, First Deputy Ruler of Dubai, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance.

New Passenger Terminal

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed said: “Today, we approved the designs for the new passenger terminal at Al Maktoum International Airport, and commencing construction of the building at a cost of Dh128 billion as part of Dubai Aviation Corporation's strategy.

“Al Maktoum International Airport will enjoy the world's largest capacity, reaching up to 260 million passengers. It will be five times the size of the current Dubai International Airport, and all operations at Dubai International Airport will be transferred to it in the coming years. The airport will accommodate 400 aircraft gates and feature five parallel runways. New aviation technologies will be employed for the first time in the aviation sector,” he said.

“As we build an entire city around the airport in Dubai South, demand for housing for a million people will follow. It will host the world's leading companies in the logistics and air transport sectors,” His Highness added. “We are building a new project for future generations, ensuring continuous and stable development for our children and their children in turn. Dubai will be the world's airport, its port, its urban hub, and its new global centre.”

Also accompanying Sheikh Mohammed during his visit were Sheikh Ahmed bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Second Deputy Ruler of Dubai; Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Aviation City Corporation, Chairman of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority and Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Airline and Group; and Mohammad bin Abdullah Al Gergawi, Minister of Cabinet Affairs and Chairman of the Dubai Executive Office.

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed reviewed the master plan for the ‘Airport of the Future’, which, upon full development, will emerge as the world’s largest airport, covering an expansive area of 70 square kilometres. The airport will have an ultimate capacity exceeding 260 million passengers and 12 million tonnes of cargo per annum.

During the event, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed was briefed on the key design features and strategic implementation plan for the airport.

Commenting on the occasion, Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed stated, “With the continuous support and blessings of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed and in keeping with his vision for the Aviation industry in Dubai, we announce the commencement of the design and construction process for the new airport at Jebel Ali.

It is expected that the first phase of the project will be ready within a period of 10 years, with a capacity to accommodate 150 million passengers annually.”

Leap into the Future

Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed emphasised: “The new airport, which will ultimately be over five times the size of Dubai International, will prepare the ground for the next 40 years of anticipated growth in Dubai’s aviation sector. It will respond to the Hub Airline ambitious plans in terms of fleet acquisition and passenger growth. The airport will provide cutting-edge technologies, passenger facilities with unmatched level of service, and state-of-the-art aviation support facilities.

“Al Maktoum International (AMI) is planned in such a way as to represent a leap into the future. It will comprise of five parallel runways with a quadruple independent operation, west and east processing terminals, four satellite concourses with over 400 aircraft contact stands, uninterrupted automated people mover system for passengers, and an integrated landside transport hub for roads, Metro, and city air transport.

While embracing sustainability, Al Maktoum International will strongly contribute to mitigate environmental emissions, aligning with the UAE’s vision for a sustainably built environment. Its integrated approach is targeted to leverage local resources and climatic conditions achieving exemplary efficiency targets and sustainability goals. AMI aims to achieve a LEED Gold Certification.”

Khalifa Al Zaffin, Executive Chairman of Dubai Aviation City Corporation, highlighted the economic benefits of the project. “The development of this new airport will be an integral part of Dubai’s economy and major contributor to the Dubai Economic Agenda (D33). It will generate estimated workforce and residential requirement for over a million people living and working in Dubai South (the aerotropolis), which has been under development and operation since 2007,” he said.

Suzanne Al Anani, CEO of Dubai Aviation Engineering Projects, said, “Dubai spearheads again. With the determination to maintain its leading role in the aviation sector globally, this airport development will represent a completely new approach to the concept of airports.

The exponential acceleration of technologies and the abundance of knowledge in innovation will make us reinvent the passenger journey and experience.

“Connectivity and accessibility are also prioritised in coordination with our strategic partners, ensuring efficient public transportation links and a reduced reliance on private transport, which supports the reduction of the project’s carbon footprint.”

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Unlock Opportunities in Dubai: Learn How to Secure a Golden Visa as a Student

Are you a recent graduate seeking to pave your own path in the UAE? The Golden Visa, an esteemed long-term residence permit, offers a gateway to a 5 or 10-year stay in the country, contingent on your academic prowess.

Outstanding students or recent graduates can seize this chance to apply for the Golden Visa.

Eligibility

University graduates

*Aspiring applicants must initiate their Golden Visa application within the same emirate where their current visa was issued.
* University Graduates: Exceptional graduates from UAE-based universities.
* Outstanding Graduates of Foreign Universities: Remarkable students studying abroad.

High School Students: Eligible for a 5-year Golden Visa.
The duration of the Golden Visa is initially 5 years but may be extended for students enrolled in majors or colleges necessitating a study period exceeding 5 years.

University Classification

Prospective applicants can ascertain their university's classification via the university's website or by contacting their administrative department.
The university's classification profoundly impacts the documentation requirements. He emphasized that applications through Amer are contingent upon the educational institution's governing authority.

How to Apply?

To expedite the process, students are advised to first secure ICP nomination approval before visiting an Amer centre. Obtaining UAE ICP nomination approval prior to visiting Amer or utilising the GDRFA platform can streamline and expedite the application process.

While a GPA (grade point average) threshold of 3.8 is typically required, certain universities in the UAE are exempt from this benchmark, allowing graduates with a GPA of 3.5 to apply for the Golden Visa if they secure a nomination from ICP.

How to Begin?

To initiate your Golden Visa application in Dubai, visit icp.com. Follow these steps:

  • Scroll to the left side menu and click on “Golden Visa” under Services.
  • Click on “Start Service” under “High School Students/College Students.”
  • Navigate to “Visa – Golden Residence – Nomination Request for Golden Residence – New Request” and click on “Start Service.”
  • Complete the application form, attach the necessary documents, and pay the application fees.
  • Upon receiving ICP approval for the nomination request, head to your nearest Amer service center with the required documents. Alternatively, you can apply through the GDRFA website, smart application, or Customer Happiness Centres.

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Understanding UAE Overstay Penalties: Essential Financial Costs You Need to Consider

Should you find yourself unable to depart the UAE before your visa expires – be it a visit, tourist, or residence visa – it's crucial to familiarise yourself with the overstay fines you'll be required to settle. While the fines are set at Dh50 per day as a standard, there are supplementary fees that merit attention.

Here’s the breakdown of the standard charges you should consider:

  •  Overstay fine: Dh50 per day
  •  E-services fee: Dh28 + Dh1.40 VAT
  •  ICP fees: Dh122
  •  Electronic payment fees: Dh2.62 + Dh1.53 VAT
  •  Smart services fee (for online payment): Dh100

However, if your file includes other infractions, such as an absconding case, you'll also need to settle the costs associated with rectifying those violations. The expenses could escalate significantly if, for instance, you've engaged a travel agent for visa processing and subsequently overstayed.

This would result in an absconding case being lodged. Initially, you'd need to clear the fee linked to the absconding case before your file can be resolved within the system.

Fees Settlement

Individuals departing the country can remit the fines through various channels:

  •  Amer centre or registered typing centres.
  •  Online, via the Federal Authority for Identity, Citizenship, Customs and Port Security (ICP).
  •  Through the travel agent who facilitated your visa application.
  •  At the immigration department, at the airport, upon your departure from the country.

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UAE Announces Dh2 Billion Fund to Help Residents Repair Rain-damaged Homes

The UAE has announced a Dh2 billion fund to assist citizens in repairing homes damaged during last week's unprecedented rainfall and ensuing floods. A ministerial committee has been established to evaluate damages and allocate compensation.

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, described the recent rainfall as unprecedented. The country's emergency response centres received over 200,000 distress calls from residents, underscoring the extensive damage to residential properties.

On Tuesday, April 16, the UAE experienced a year's worth of rain in a single day. Within 24 hours, the country received 6.04 billion cubic meters of rainwater, nearly matching its annual total of 6.7 billion cubic meters. This led to flooding in numerous communities and homes, resulting in flight cancellations, disruptions in public transport, and motorists stranded on waterlogged roads.

"The severity of this weather situation was unparalleled. However, we are a nation that learns from every experience and progresses," stated Sheikh Mohammed during a Cabinet meeting in Abu Dhabi.

Over 17,000 security and emergency personnel responded to the aftermath of the rains, with thousands of volunteers assisting in rescue operations, traffic management, and delivering essentials to those unable to leave their homes.

Reflecting on the positive aspects of the record-breaking rainfall, the Vice-President noted: "Our dams are full, our valleys are flowing, and our groundwater reserves have increased. We have gained valuable insights into managing severe rains and have enhanced our preparedness for the future."

His Highness Sheikh Mohamed emphasised the UAE government's commitment to the safety and security of citizens and residents following the rains. He instructed authorities to evaluate the country's infrastructure and mitigate flood-related damage.

Tragically, at least four individuals lost their lives during the floods. One Emirati was swept away in a valley, while two Filipinos suffocated in their vehicle during the flood, and another person passed away in an accident

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Recent Floods May Result in Higher Vehicle, Property Insurance Rates: S&P Report

Rains and floods in the UAE could result in higher vehicle and property insurance rates, as indicated by a recent report.

Last week's unprecedented rainfall, which exceeded a year's worth in a single day on April 16, marked the heaviest recorded since climate data began in 1949.

Several motorists were compelled to abandon their vehicles on flooded streets, and rainwater seeped into residents' homes, causing damage.

The report from S&P Global Ratings, an independent credit risk research provider, highlighted that many motor insurers in the UAE have already raised rates by up to 50 per cent for certain coverage over the past year due to increased claims frequency and costs.

Given the recent floods, another round of rate increases is anticipated, particularly for comprehensive motor policies.

"We also anticipate potential rate increases for insuring commercial and residential property risks as local insurers and international reinsurers reassess their pricing following a rise in the frequency and severity of rainstorms in the UAE and neighboring countries," stated the report.

The agency also projected a surge in insurance claims. According to media reports, local insurers are preparing for what they anticipate will be the highest-ever number of claims, with some reporting a 400 per cent increase compared to previous peaks.

A "significant" number of cars damaged during last week's rains may only have third-party insurance and therefore may not be covered for natural disasters like flooding, warned S&P.

"Flooding damage is typically covered under comprehensive motor policies, but this coverage may apply only under specific circumstances, such as when a vehicle is parked and not in motion, further limiting insurers' liability," the report explained.

The company expects that claims related to motor and property damage will constitute the majority of losses for local insurers.

While insurance companies often transfer large, high-value commercial risks to international reinsurers, risks related to motor business are typically retained by local insurers.

Despite the anticipated high number of motor claims, the industry is expected to manage the total amount of insured losses.

Although it is still too early to assess the full financial impact of this natural disaster on the UAE's insurance sector, S&P Global Ratings believes that most insurers in the region benefit from robust capital and liquidity buffers, enabling them to absorb related claims.

However, insurance companies with weaker capitalisation could face challenges, potentially leading to delays in claim payments.

There are currently about 60 licensed insurers in the UAE, according to the agency. The accumulation of claims from the same storm could trigger reinsurance policies, depending on the reinsurance coverage companies have in place, which would cap the liability of those insurers at a set amount.

Damage to property has been substantial based on initial estimates. The company noted that many larger, high-value commercial risks are typically transferred to international reinsurers, meaning that local insurers retain only minimal or no risk in such cases.

In response to the storm impact, the government, private businesses, retailers and property developers have offered various free services to residents in the most affected communities, including maintenance, cleaning, and pest control.

"Some property developers in Dubai have announced plans to cover repair costs for residential buildings. This, combined with the relatively low number of home content insurance policies, could further limit exposure for local insurers," commented the rating agency.

The company anticipates that insurers will receive numerous claims related to infrastructure damage, such as shopping malls.

However, the impact on local insurers is expected to be limited, as these risks are typically ceded to reinsurers due to low local insurers' retention levels.

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Dubai Won’t Impose Overstay Fine on Visitors Whose Flights Were Cancelled due to Rains

Residents and visitors stranded in Dubai due to flight cancellations caused by heavy rainfall will not be subject to overstay fines, according to recent announcements by Dubai authorities.

Typically, overstaying in the UAE beyond the visa grace period incurs a daily fine of 50 dirhams.

Key Details of the Announcement

Policy Change: Individuals affected by flight disruptions directly related to recent rainfall will be exempt from fines for overstaying their visas.
Eligibility: This waiver applies to travelers whose return or onward journeys were impacted by weather-related interruptions at Dubai airports.
Procedure: Affected persons seeking exemption from fines should provide confirmation of their cancelled flight.
Duration of Waiver: The waiver is expected to cover the entire period affected by the rains, although the specific timeframe has not been defined.
Purpose: This decision aims to alleviate the burden on travellers experiencing hardships due to natural weather disruptions, reducing additional stress and financial pressure.

Dubai's initiative to waive visa overstay fines during this exceptional weather event aligns with broader efforts to effectively manage the impact of rare severe weather and uphold Dubai's reputation as a welcoming destination for tourists.

For assistance and further information, affected individuals are encouraged to contact relevant immigration officials and their airline providers.

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Decoding Dubai's Alcohol Laws: Public Consumption and Intoxication Prohibited

In Dubai, the rules and regulations governing alcohol consumption are primarily based on Islamic law (Sharia) and are enforced through various pieces of legislation and regulations.

Here's a detailed explanation of the alcohol rules in Dubai along with the applicable legislation.

Legal Drinking Age

The legal drinking age in Dubai is 21 years. Although not explicitly stated in any single law, this age requirement is generally understood and enforced based on Islamic principles and societal norms.

Additionally, the Dubai Alcohol Law indirectly reinforces the minimum drinking age by requiring individuals to be of legal age to obtain a personal alcohol licence.

Licensing Requirements

Personal Alcohol Licence: Non-Muslim residents must obtain a personal alcohol licence issued by the Dubai Police to purchase and consume alcohol for personal use.
Venue Licences: Establishments serving alcohol, such as hotels, restaurants, bars and clubs, must obtain licences from the Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM).

The primary legislation governing alcohol licensing in Dubai is the Dubai Alcohol Law (Law No. 16 of 1972), which sets out the requirements and procedures for obtaining alcohol licenses for individuals and establishments.

Alcohol Purchase and Consumption

Licensed Venues: Alcohol can only be purchased and consumed in licensed venues authorised by the DTCM.
Retailers: Only licensed retailers, such as liquor stores or designated sections within supermarkets, can sell alcohol to individuals with a valid personal alcohol licence.

The Dubai Alcohol Law governs the sale and consumption of alcohol, specifying that it should only occur in licensed establishments or by licensed individuals for personal use.

Public Consumption and Intoxication

Public Consumption: Drinking alcohol in public places, other than licensed venues, is strictly prohibited.
Public Intoxication: Public intoxication or disorderly behaviour due to alcohol consumption is also prohibited and can result in fines, imprisonment, or deportation for expatriates.

These prohibitions are primarily based on Islamic principles and societal norms, with enforcement carried out through various laws and regulations, including the Dubai Alcohol Law and other legislation related to public order and decency.

Drinking and Driving

Driving Under the Influence (DUI): Driving under the influence of alcohol is a serious offense in Dubai and is subject to severe penalties, including fines, imprisonment, license suspension or revocation, and deportation for expatriates.

The UAE Federal Traffic Law (Federal Law No. 21 of 1995) and its amendments govern traffic offenses, including DUI, with penalties specified for violators.

Penalties for Violations

Fines: Violations of alcohol-related laws can result in fines imposed by the relevant authorities, ranging from moderate to substantial amounts.
Imprisonment: In addition to fines, individuals found guilty of violating alcohol-related laws may face imprisonment, especially in cases involving DUI or public intoxication.
Deportation: Expatriates who violate alcohol-related laws may face deportation in addition to other penalties.
Penalties for alcohol-related violations are outlined in various laws and regulations, including the Dubai Alcohol Law, Federal Traffic Law and other relevant legislation.

Legal Representation

Individuals facing charges or legal issues related to alcohol consumption should seek legal representation from experienced lawyers familiar with Dubai's laws and regulations.

In summary, the regulations concerning alcohol in Dubai are rooted in Islamic principles. Adherence to these regulations is crucial to prevent legal repercussions, and individuals should consult legal counsel if confronted with charges or legal matters regarding alcohol consumption.

Legal experts can provide guidance, representation in court proceedings, and assistance in navigating the legal system to ensure the best possible outcome for their clients.

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Federal Tax Authority Releases Taxpayer Charter Outlining Key Rights and Obligations

In support of its commitment to transparency and clarity within the UAE tax system, the Federal Tax Authority (FTA) has issued the Taxpayer Charter, an official document that defines key rights and obligations for taxpayers in the country.

The Charter is integral to the Authority’s efforts to educate taxpayers about their rights and obligations, promoting self-compliance with tax regulations.
Khalid Ali Al Bustani, FTA Director-General, stated: “The Federal Tax Authority is dedicated to fulfilling its role in upholding transparency and clarity standards across the UAE tax system, ensuring effective implementation of tax laws and regulations. A cornerstone of this role is raising awareness among taxpayers and stakeholders about their rights and obligations.”

“The introduction of the Taxpayer Charter is a significant step towards achieving this objective, outlining taxpayers' key obligations for compliance with tax laws and educating them about their rights,” Al Bustani added, noting that “the Charter enhances transparency and improves service quality in line with the UAE Government’s directives to promote operational excellence.”

The Taxpayer Charter delineates rights for taxpayers, ensuring fair, professional, and respectful treatment by the FTA and its staff; consistent application of tax legislation; privacy and confidentiality; and consideration of individual circumstances when dealing with the Authority.

Additionally, taxpayers have the right to expect responsiveness from the FTA to their requests, obtain accurate information to meet obligations, be represented by a listed Tax Agent or legal representative, appeal FTA decisions and submit complaints about services.

Taxpayers are obliged to fully comply with applicable tax obligations, provide complete and accurate information within specified timeframes, cooperate with and respect the FTA and its staff and assist in deterring tax evasion.

The Taxpayer Charter is part of the FTA’s broader efforts to raise awareness about all aspects of the UAE tax system, including awareness campaigns, workshops and resources such as manuals, guidelines and Public Clarifications published on the FTA’s official website.

This initiative aims to empower taxpayers with knowledge and ensure transparency, efficiency, and excellence in tax operations across the UAE.

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Binance Gets Full Dubai Licence: What it Means for UAE Cryptocurrency Sector?

Binance FZE, the Dubai arm of world’s largest digital assets exchange Binance, has received its full permit to operate in Dubai following Changpeng Zhao, known as CZ, giving up voting control on the entity.

Bloomberg reported that the licence had been granted and the entity now had its full virtual assets service provider (VASP) licence. The regulator’s website still shows Binance FZE holding a minimum viable product (MVP) operational licence, but that is expected to be updated following the imminent official announcement from Binance.

Bloomberg cited a Bloomberg television interview with Binance CEO Richard Teng confirming that the licence had been received.

What it Means

The VASP licence will allow Binance to provide virtual asset-related services to a broader range of customers. The company previously operated in Dubai under an operational MVP licence, having received that certification in July of last year.

The MVP licence allows firms to provide virtual asset exchange and broker-dealer services to “qualified and institutional investors.” The UAE’s Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority(VARA) classifies a qualified investor as an individual or entity with Dh500,000 ($136,000) in cash and relevant knowledge of virtual assets.

Institutional investors include entities that are regulated by a “competent financial services regulator,” other virtual asset service providers and governments with pertinent knowledge of virtual assets, according to the authority’s website.

With the VASP licence, Binance said it will be able to extend its services to “retail investors,” defined by VARA as entities that are neither qualified nor institutional investors.

Binance will therefore be able to now provide services to individual investors in Dubai who do not meet the aforementioned criteria.

VARA’s website noted on Thursday that Binance is “authorised to serve institutional investors, qualified investors and retail investors.”

Binance joins a growing list of firms to have a VASP licence in Dubai. Bahrain-based competitor CoinMENA received the licence for broker-dealer services last November, while Crypto.com’s licence was finalised earlier this month. Other firms, such as BitOasis, are still working under the operation MVP licence.

Part of UAE’s Diversification Plans

The UAE wants to attract cryptocurrency firms as part of its economic diversification plans and has had some success in this endeavor. VARA awarded 19 VASP licences all in all in 2023, weathering both the cryptocurrency bubble and fallout from FTX’s collapse the year prior.
Competition from other states seeking to be crypto hubs, such as Bermuda, and stricter global regulations could pose challenges for the UAE in the future, according to experts in the field.
Binance has faced significant challenges recently. In November, company founder and former CEO Changpeng Zhao pleaded guilty in a US federal court to breaking anti-money laundering laws. A February sentencing hearing was delayed until later this month.
The UAE’s efforts to combat money laundering have likewise been scrutinised. The country was added to the Financial Action Task Force’s “grey list” of countries not sufficiently fighting money laundering in 2022, but was removed in February.

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Protecting Against Disasters: What You Need to Know About Calamity Insurance in the UAE

In a world where unforeseen disasters can strike at any moment, the importance of insurance cannot be overstated. In the United Arab Emirates (UAE), residents have access to a wide range of insurance products designed to mitigate the financial impact of calamities.

One such product gaining attention is calamity insurance, offering protection against natural disasters, accidents and other unexpected events.

Understanding Calamity Insurance

Calamity insurance, also known as catastrophe insurance, provides coverage against a broad spectrum of calamities, including natural disasters such as earthquakes, floods, storms, as well as man-made disasters like fires and explosions.

This type of insurance aims to protect individuals, businesses and properties from financial losses resulting from unforeseen events beyond their control.

Legal Implications

In the UAE, the regulatory framework for insurance is governed by the Insurance Authority (IA), which oversees the licensing, regulation, and supervision of insurance companies operating in the country.

Insurance companies offering calamity insurance must comply with the regulations set forth by the IA to ensure transparency, fairness, and consumer protection.
According to legal experts, while calamity insurance is not mandatory in the UAE, it is highly recommended, especially for property owners and businesses. The UAE experiences a variety of natural and man-made disasters, making adequate insurance coverage essential for safeguarding against financial losses.

"Calamity insurance provides peace of mind to individuals and businesses facing the unpredictable nature of disasters. It is crucial to carefully review policy terms, coverage limits, and exclusions to ensure adequate protection." said Snehal Singh, Insurance Lawyer at NYK Law Firm, one of the top legal consultants in Dubai.

"Given the increasing frequency and severity of natural disasters globally, calamity insurance is becoming increasingly relevant in the UAE. Proper risk assessment and mitigation strategies are essential for selecting the right insurance coverage." said Vaisak Unnikrishnan, Senior Associate at NYK Law Firm.

Key Considerations for Calamity Insurance

Coverage Options: Calamity insurance policies may vary in coverage options, including property damage, business interruption, liability coverage and additional living expenses. Policyholders should carefully evaluate their needs and select coverage accordingly.

Policy Exclusions: It is essential to review policy exclusions to understand what events are not covered by the insurance policy. Common exclusions may include acts of war, terrorism and intentional acts.

Deductibles and Limits: Policyholders should be aware of deductibles and coverage limits specified in their insurance policies. Understanding these factors can help manage expectations regarding the extent of coverage provided.

Claims Process: Familiarising oneself with the claims process is crucial for expedited claim settlements in the event of a calamity. Policyholders should know whom to contact and what documentation is required to file a claim.

Calamity insurance serves as a vital safety net for individuals and businesses in the UAE, offering financial protection against unforeseen disasters. As the threat of calamities looms large, residents are encouraged to assess their insurance needs, seek guidance from insurance experts, and invest in comprehensive coverage to mitigate risks effectively.

By understanding the legal implications and key considerations associated with calamity insurance, individuals and businesses can navigate the complexities of insurance with confidence and resilience in the face of adversity.

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Navigating the Deluge: How Motorists Can Manage Rain-Related Insurance Claims?

As heavy rains persist in the UAE, motorists are increasingly turning to their insurance providers for assistance with damages incurred during the deluge.

However, not all rain-related insurance claims are approved, as several factors could lead to rejection. In this article, we delve into the intricacies of rain-related insurance claims in the UAE and explore the reasons why some claims may face rejection.

Lack of Comprehensive Coverage

One of the primary reasons for rejected rain-related insurance claims is the absence of comprehensive coverage. Many motorists opt for basic insurance policies that may not include coverage for damages caused by natural disasters such as floods or storms.

Consequently, claims for damages incurred during heavy rains may be rejected if the policy does not explicitly cover such events.

Failure to Follow Proper Procedures

Insurance companies in the UAE have specific procedures that policyholders must follow when filing a claim. Failure to adhere to these procedures, such as not reporting the incident promptly or providing incomplete documentation, can result in claim rejection.

Motorists are advised to familiarise themselves with their insurance policy's claims process and ensure compliance to avoid potential rejections.

Pre-existing Damage or Wear and Tear

Insurance companies may reject rain-related claims if the damages incurred are deemed to result from pre-existing damage or wear and tear. For example, if a vehicle's roof leaks during heavy rains due to poor maintenance or aging, the insurance company may argue that the damage was not caused solely by the rain and therefore reject the claim.

Exclusion of Acts of God

Some insurance policies may include exclusions for "acts of God," which typically encompass natural disasters such as floods, storms, or earthquakes. If the policy explicitly excludes coverage for damages caused by such events, rain-related claims may be rejected on this basis.

Inaccurate or Misleading Information

Providing inaccurate or misleading information when filing a rain-related insurance claim can also lead to rejection. Motorists are advised to provide truthful and accurate details regarding the circumstances of the incident and the extent of the damages to ensure the validity of their claim.

While rain-related insurance claims can offer much-needed financial assistance to motorists dealing with damages incurred during heavy rains, it is essential to understand the factors that could lead to claim rejection.

By ensuring comprehensive coverage, following proper procedures, addressing pre-existing damage and providing accurate information, motorists can increase the likelihood of their rain-related insurance claims being approved.

As heavy rains continue to impact the UAE, motorists are encouraged to review their insurance policies and take proactive measures to protect themselves against potential claim rejections.

(The writer is a legal associate at NYK Law Firm, one of the top legal consultants in Dubai)

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Dubai Labour Court's Landmark Verdict Exposes Employer Malpractice

In a significant development in the realm of employee rights, the Dubai Labour Court recently delivered a groundbreaking verdict against malpractices by a UAE Real Estate Company. The ruling sets a crucial precedent aimed at curbing the exploitation of employees within the real estate sector.

The case centered on the employment dispute between an Employee and two affiliated Real Estate Brokerage Companies, highlighting the all-too-common issue of employers withholding rightful commissions from their employees. The Hon’ble Labour Court of Dubai's decision not only affirmed the employee's rights but also underscored the importance of upholding the UAE Labour Law.

Background

The Employee was issued an offer letter from Company A, which is a Real Estate Brokerage Company. Company A delayed the execution of the MOHRE Employment Contract for almost 3 months citing reasons that Company B, shall be acquiring Company A very soon. It was represented that Company B shall perform all MOHRE-related compliance to avoid duplicity and to cut expenses.

Both companies agreed to provide a 5% commission on deals closed by the employee. However, just before settling the commission, Company B terminated the employee without notice, denying any affiliation with Company A.

This move, three months post-MOHRE Contract execution, rendered the employee ineligible for entitlements under UAE Labour Law.

During the employee's tenure with both companies, they successfully closed several real estate deals, entitling them to AED 96,000 in total, including end-of-service benefits and accrued commissions.

Legal Proceedings

Represented by NYK Law Firm, the Employee contested the denial of entitlements, citing common employer tactics of transferring employment between affiliated companies to evade payment obligations.

The Hon’ble Court appointed a Management and Accounting Expert to investigate, confirming the validity and continuity of the employment relationship and endorsing the employee's entitlements from the date of joining till termination.

Ruling

In a landmark judgment, the Hon’ble Court ordered both companies to settle the full claim amount, encompassing commissions and employment entitlements, underscoring the legal responsibility of employers to honour their commitments to employees.

Conclusion

This ruling serves as a wake-up call for employers engaging in similar misconduct, underscoring the urgent need for greater scrutiny and enforcement by employers.

It highlights the vulnerable position of employees and reaffirms the judiciary's commitment to upholding labour rights and holding unscrupulous employers accountable for their actions.

In essence, the Dubai Labour Court's verdict stands as a beacon of hope for employees, signalling a shift towards greater transparency and fairness in the workplace, while simultaneously exposing and condemning the malafide intentions of certain employers.

(The writer is a legal associate at NYK Law Firm, one of the top legal consultants in Dubai)

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Golden Rulebook: Navigating the Legal Landscape of Gold Imports from Dubai to India

India, with its rich history of gold, views the precious metal as a cornerstone of financial security. According to the World Gold Council, the demand for gold in the Indian jewellery market soared during the second quarter of 2023.

Dubai, renowned for its vibrant gold souks, sets its gold prices based on international standards, ensuring consistent pricing across all outlets. With prices fluctuating, gold buyers in Dubai often capitalise on downward trends, securing gold at favourable rates.

The UAE government initially introduced a five per cent Value Added Tax (VAT) on gold and other precious metals. However, due to decreased demand and a significant drop in gold, platinum and silver sales, the tax implementation was rolled back.

This article seeks to cover all the frequently asked questions (FAQs) about bringing gold from Dubai to India.

 Is Gold Cheaper in Dubai than in India?

 One of the reasons Indians visit Dubai to buy gold is the significant price difference compared to India. Gold has traditionally been pricier in India due to factors like import charges and taxes. However, recent trends have seen a narrowing gap between gold prices in Dubai and India.

Despite this, Dubai typically offers lower gold prices than most Indian locations. The absence of Goods and Services Tax (GST) on gold in Dubai keeps prices more competitive compared to India, where a three per cent GST is applied to gold jewellery and bullion. Additionally, lower manufacturing costs at Dubai jewellery stores contribute to the price advantage. On average, 24K gold in Dubai is 5-7 per cent cheaper than in major Indian cities.

 What are the Customs Duty Charges on Gold?

Customs duty charges on gold are import taxes imposed by the Indian government on gold brought into the country by individuals. These charges play a crucial role in regulating and monitoring the entry of this valuable metal into the nation.

When bringing gold into India, it's essential to understand the customs tax rates set by the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC). These rates vary based on the duration of stay abroad for Indian passport holders and individuals of Indian descent.

 How much Gold is Allowed from Dubai to India?

Male travellers are permitted to carry up to 20 grammes of gold (with a maximum value of INR50,000), while female travellers can carry up to 40 grammes (with a maximum value of INR100,000). Exceeding these limits necessitates payment of customs duty on gold.

 How is Custom Duty on Gold Applied in India?

The calculation of customs duty on gold imported into India varies based on the type and quantity of gold items. The process typically involves estimating the gold's value, applying the relevant duty rate and adding taxes on the duty amount.

Gold items such as bars, coins and jewellery are valued based on current global gold prices for 24K purity on the day of import. Customs duty rates range from 0-10 per cent based on the assessed value of the gold item.

Custom Duty Charges on Gold Bars

Gold bars weighing less than One kilogramme per passenger are subject to a 10 per cent customs charge. Gold bars weighing less than 20 grammes incur no customs duty, while those weighing 20-100 grammes are charged a three per cent customs fee.

Custom Duty Charges on Other Forms (Coins, Ornaments)

Gold coins weighing less than 100 grammes per passenger have a 10 per cent customs charge, with no duty for coins weighing less than 20 grammes. A 10 per cent customs charge is also applied to gold jewellery and ornaments exceeding 20 grammes and valued over INR50,000.

Who Sets the Limit on the Amount of Gold that can be Brought from Dubai to India?

The limits on the amount of gold that can be brought from Dubai to India are set by the Indian government, specifically the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) and the Customs Department. These limits may be subject to change, so it’s advisable to check with the relevant authorities or official sources for the most up-to-date information.

Are Children Levied a Tax for Gold Jewellery in India?

No, children under 15 years have higher limits of up to 40 grammes attracting no duty, and up to 200 grammes attracting only 3-10 per cent duty based on quantity.

Additional Details

The Indian Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs imposes restrictions on gold imports from Dubai to India. Tourists are drawn to Dubai's gold market for its quality and competitive prices, notably at the Deira Gold Souk. Over time, India has implemented stringent customs duties affecting gold imports from Dubai and other UAE cities.

Essential Things to Know About Carrying Gold from Dubai to India

Compared to India, Dubai offers lower gold prices, but travellers must be mindful of regulations when bringing gold back home:

  • Present all purchase evidence and relevant documents to airport officials to avoid complications.
  • Pay customs duty in convertible foreign currency if gold exceeds the set limit.
  • Ensure gold bars have proper inscriptions, including serial numbers and weight details.
  • Bring gold items as checked baggage or import them as unaccompanied baggage at least 15 days before arrival. Failure to comply with regulations may result in confiscation or legal repercussions.

In conclusion, it is important to understand the permissible limits and tax implications when bringing gold from Dubai to India. With this knowledge, travellers can plan their purchases and enjoy the festivities with newfound treasures from Dubai's gold market.

(The writer is a legal associate at NYK Law Firm, one of the top legal consultants in Dubai)

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Exploring UAE Courts: Diverse Range of Legal Mechanisms for Effective Dispute Resolution

The judicial system in the United Arab Emirates operates at two levels: federal and local. Each Emirate manages its own courts and judicial departments at the local level, while the federal level oversees courts and departments across the UAE.

Jurisdiction Law of the UAE

Jurisdiction in the United Arab Emirates follows a civil law system, with statutes serving as the primary legal foundation. Under Article 20 of Federal Law No. 11/1992 on the Civil Procedures Code (CPC), UAE Courts have the authority to adjudicate claims involving both UAE citizens and foreign residents within the country.

Court System

The court system comprises three main levels:

  • Court of First Instance (at both federal and local levels) where cases are initially heard.
  • Court of Appeal (at both federal and local levels) where individuals dissatisfied with decisions from the Court of First Instance can appeal.
  • Federal Supreme Court (at the federal level) holds the highest authority in the UAE's judiciary.
  • The Court of Cassation (at the local level of Emirates with autonomous judicial departments) serves as the highest court within each Emirate. Decisions from the Court of First Instance can be appealed to the Court of Appeal, and subsequently to the Cassation Court or the Federal Supreme Court under limited grounds.

According to Article 104 of the UAE Constitution, local judiciary bodies in each Emirate have jurisdiction over matters not assigned to the federal judiciary. Emirates like Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Ras Al-Khaimah have their own local court systems, while Sharjah, Fujairah, Ajman and Umm Al Quwain are part of the federal court system.

Specialised Courts

Specialised Courts include:

  • Labour Courts: Handle work-related disputes.
  • Family Courts: Deal with family matters.
  • Commercial Courts: Address business disagreements.
  • Criminal Courts: Handle criminal cases.
  • Sharia Courts: Adjudicate matters related to personal status based on Islamic law.
  • Judicial Circuits
    The court system is further organised into judicial circuits based on specialisation and jurisdiction. Each level of court comprises circuits handling various case types, including personal status, civil, criminal, commercial, labour and real estate matters. These circuits are presided over by a president and supported by judges and administrative personnel.
  • Minor Circuits: Consisting of a single judge, minor circuits adjudicate civil, commercial and labour cases with values not exceeding Dh500,000. They also handle certain personal status matters and claims related to wages and salaries.
  • Major Circuits: Comprising three judges, major circuits have jurisdiction over a broader range of cases, including civil, commercial and labour disputes not falling within the purview of minor circuits. They also handle administrative, real estate, bankruptcy and preventive composition lawsuits.

Common Law Courts

  • Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) Courts: Established in 2006, the DIFC Courts operate as an independent English-language common law judiciary. Their jurisdiction extends to civil and commercial disputes at a national, regional, and global level.
  • Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) Courts: Established by Abu Dhabi Law No (4) of 2013, the ADGM Courts adopt common law principles, making ADGM the first jurisdiction in the Middle East to do so.

Alternative Dispute Resolution Mechanisms

  • Arbitration: Various arbitration centers provide dispute resolution services.
  • Mediation: Mediation services are available for employment disputes and other civil matters.

UAE Court Language

Effective January 2nd, 2023, UAE mainland courts have officially recognised English as a second language, in addition to Arabic, in judicial proceedings outlined in Federal Decree-Law No. 42 of 2022, also known as The New Civil Procedures Law.

Overall, the UAE offers a diverse range of legal mechanisms to address disputes effectively, with both traditional court proceedings and alternative dispute resolution methods playing vital roles in the country's legal landscape. The UAE judicial system aims to efficiently resolve matters while ensuring practical justice for its people

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Dubai Police Apprehended 494 Individuals for Phone Scam Targeting Banking Customers

Dubai Police have apprehended 494 individuals involved in 406 phone fraud cases targeting bank customers over the past year.

The fraudsters employed various methods including phone calls, emails, SMS, and social media links to deceive victims and gain access to their savings and bank accounts. Significant amounts of money, along with mobile phones, laptops, and SIM cards used in these scams, have been seized by the police.

Brigadier Harib Al Shamsi, acting director of the General Department for Criminal Investigation, cautioned residents against disclosing their banking details or credit card information to anyone claiming to be from a financial institution. Fraudsters often threaten victims by claiming that their bank accounts will be frozen unless they update their details.

“Banks never request information updates over the phone. Customers should update their details directly through the banks' branches, official customer service representatives, or authenticated banking applications,” emphasised the officer.

Residents who have fallen victim to these scams are urged to report them to the police immediately.

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Public Prosecution Shares Penalities of Trading Illegal Fireworks Ahead of Ramadan

The Public Prosecution's Criminal Information Centre (Waey) recently posted a video on its social media platforms outlining the penalty for illegally trading fireworks.

According to Article 54 of Federal Decree Law No. 17 of 2019 on Weapons, Ammunition, Explosives, Military Material, and Hazardous Substances, individuals involved in trading, importing, exporting, manufacturing, or possessing fireworks without a licence are subject to severe penalties.

These penalties include imprisonment for a minimum of one year and a fine of at least Dh100,000, or either of them.

Explosives, as defined in Article 1 of the law, encompass chemical compounds or mixtures that react under certain conditions, generating pressure, heat, and speed capable of causing damage to the surrounding area. This definition explicitly includes fireworks.

Furthermore, Article 3 of the law prohibits the possession, acquisition, carrying, import, export, trade, manufacture, transportation, or disposal of any weapon, ammunition, explosives, military material, or hazardous substances without obtaining the requisite licence or permit from the authorised authorities.

The Public Prosecution shared the information through a video to foster a legal culture within the community and enhance awareness regarding the latest legislation in the country.

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Parents Express Discontent as Dubai Permits Private Schools to Hike Fees by 5.2 Per Cent

School fees increasing by 5.2 per cent in Dubai, at a time when people are yet to recover from the negative economic impact of Covid-19, has shocked parents. 

Due to the decrease in income and job losses, many expat families were forced to send their children back to their home countries in search of affordable education. For those expats who survived the economic backlash, the new fee hike will jeopardise their family budgets further.

Private schools in Dubai have been granted permission to increase their fees by up to 5.2 per cent, with adjustments based on their performance in the latest annual inspections conducted by the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA).

Notably, schools that received lower ratings will not be eligible for fee increases. The Education Cost Index (ECI) for the 2024-25 academic year has been set at 2.6 per cent by the KHDA, serving as the basis for schools to revise their fees. The rate of increase is directly linked to the inspection rating of each institution, with any fee adjustments requiring approval from the KHDA. 

"The decision of KHDA to allow schools in Dubai to increase the fee up to 5.2 per cent has literally irked the parents at a time when the living costs in Dubai are already on a high pace. This will be a boon to school managements and will set a precedent to make unjustifiable increases every year," said Preethi Ranjit, an erstwhile teacher and a parent of a grade 11 student.

Preethi Ranjit

"If this increase is allowed each year it will seriously affect the family budgets of many of us. Already RERA index on rents has been affecting the accommodation expenses. Now KHDA's ECI index will throw another hurdle in front of the parents. The fee increase, irrespective of high fee or low fee schools, is happening when salaries of the parents remain the same," she said.

"School fee is the biggest nightmare for an expat family. A family with two or three children are compelled to spend the majority of its income on children's education. This rude shock comes at a time when we are yet to recover from the negative economic impact occurred due to Covid-19," said Azi, who works as a manager in a real estate company, whose children are studying in Grade 11 and KG 1.

Azi

"The fee hike has even put the annual vacation travel plans of many of us in jeopardy, especially for those families in which only one of the parents is working," said Rojin Pynummood, who works as a sales manager in a private company.

Rojin Pynummood

"Parallel to the increase in school fee, the transportation fee charged by the schools has also shown an upward trend. People can manage these extra expenses only if the salaries are also enhanced proportionally," he pointed out.

Here's How the Calculations Break Down:

  • Schools improving their rating from 'Weak' to 'Acceptable' or from 'Acceptable' to 'Good' can raise fees by up to double the ECI, totaling 5.2 per cent.
  • Schools advancing from 'Good' to 'Very Good' are entitled to an increase of up to 1.75 times the ECI, equating to a maximum of 4.55 percent.
  • Schools upgrading from 'Very Good' to 'Outstanding' can increase fees by up to 1.5 times the ECI, reaching a maximum of 3.9 per cent.
  • Schools maintaining their current inspection rating are permitted a fee increase of up to 2.6 per cent, corresponding to the ECI.

Education Cost Index

The Education Cost Index, formulated in collaboration with the Digital Dubai Authority, is derived from the annual audited financial statements of private schools in Dubai. It reflects the operational costs of school management.

This marks the second consecutive year in which schools are allowed to adjust fees, following a freeze spanning three years (2020-21, 2021-22, and 2022-23) due to the Covid-19 pandemic. In the preceding academic year (2023-24), schools could raise fees by up to six per cent.

Shamma Al Mansouri, Director of Permits at KHDA, emphasised: “Aligning fee adjustments with schools' inspection ratings underscores the quality of education while enhancing sector competitiveness.”

She further highlighted the transparent and scientifically-driven methodology employed in monitoring and analyzing financial statements to ensure continuous improvement and sustainability within the private school sector.

During the previous academic year, over three-quarters (77 per cent) of students were enrolled in schools rated 'Good' or higher. Enrollment in Dubai private schools has surged by 12 per cent since the previous academic year, with more than 365,000 students attending 220 institutions offering 17 different curriculums.

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New York Federal Court Rejects Authors' Bid to Block OpenAI Cases from NYT, Others

A group of writers suing OpenAI for copyright infringement in California failed to convince a New York federal court to halt related cases brought in Manhattan by the New York Times, the Authors Guild and others.

US District Judge Sidney Stein stated that the writers, including Michael Chabon, Ta-Nehisi Coates and comedian Sarah Silverman, did not have a strong enough interest in the New York cases to justify letting them intervene.

The writers had sought to convince the New York court to dismiss the cases against OpenAI and Microsoft, OpenAI's largest financial backer, or move them to California. The California court rejected a related request last month.

"It's unconventional to proceed with the same claims in different places but certainly something we are equipped to handle," the writers' attorney Joseph Saveri said in a statement on Monday.
Representatives for OpenAI did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Spokespeople for Microsoft, the New York Times and the Authors Guild declined to comment.

Several groups of copyright owners have sued major tech companies over the alleged misuse of their work to train generative artificial-intelligence systems. The authors in the California case sued OpenAI last summer, accusing it of using their books without permission to train the AI model underlying its popular chatbot ChatGPT.

The Authors Guild filed a similar lawsuit in New York in September on behalf of other writers including John Grisham and George RR Martin. That lawsuit was followed by additional complaints from nonfiction authors and the Times.

The California authors told Stein that allowing the "copycat" cases to continue would lead to inconsistent rulings and waste resources. But Stein on Monday said that the California and New York cases had "substantial differences."

"More importantly, for the claims that do overlap, the California Plaintiffs have no legally cognizable interest in avoiding rulings that apply to entirely different plaintiffs in a different district," Stein said.

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All Single-use Bags Will be Prohibited Across Retail Outlets in Dubai From June 1

Dubai is set to implement a city-wide ban on single-use bags, including both plastic and paper varieties, effective from June 1, 2024. Earlier this year, businesses were mandated to charge a 25-fil fee for single-use plastic bags. However, from June 1, all single-use bags will be prohibited across retail outlets in Dubai, with no requirement for stores to provide free alternatives.

The ban covers bags used for carrying goods, and consumers are encouraged to bring their own reusable carriers. In an awareness guide released by the Dubai Municipality, it was emphasised that even biodegradable bags are included in the ban.

Exemptions to the policy include bags for bread, online product packaging, trash bin liners, wrapping for various food items, laundry, electronics, garbage and grains.

Non-compliance with the ban will result in a financial penalty of Dh200, which will double for repeat offenses, with a maximum fine of Dh2,000. Shoppers are urged to report non-compliant stores to the Dubai Department of Economy and Tourism.

The Dubai Municipality has published an online awareness guide in both Arabic and English, addressing common questions and providing information on sustainable alternatives to plastics. It aims to educate individuals, businesses, and institutions on adopting sustainable practices.

Mohammed Alrayees, head of Waste Strategy and Projects Department at Dubai Municipality, expressed support for sustainable practices across all sectors, emphasising the importance of the comprehensive guide in promoting environmentally friendly habits.

The initiative underscores Dubai's commitment to environmental conservation and its contribution to global efforts to reduce plastic pollution. It highlights the significance of public awareness and active participation in achieving sustainability goals.

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What are Financial Free Zones and How Do They Operate in the UAE?

Financial Free Zones are designated areas within the UAE where specific laws and regulations apply, aimed at fostering financial activities and attracting investments. These zones operate independently from the rest of the country and are governed by their own set of rules.

A Closer Look at Article 121 of the Constitution

In the UAE, Article 121 of the Constitution empowers the Federation to establish financial free zones, exempting them from certain Federal laws. This led to the creation of legislative measures like Federal Law No. 8 of 2004, enabling the establishment of zones such as the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC).

These zones operate under distinct regulatory frameworks, exempt from Federal civil and commercial laws but subject to Federal criminal laws. Additional regulations, like Cabinet Resolution No. 28 of 2007 and Federal Decree No. 35 of 2004, further clarify the implementation and boundaries of these zones.

Key to the DIFC's regulation is DIFC Law No. 1 of 2004, granting authority to the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) for rule-making and enforcement.

Article 121 of the UAE Constitution grants the Federation the authority to establish Financial Free Zones and exclude them from certain Federal laws. This provision forms the legal basis for the creation and operation of Financial Free Zones in the Emirates.

Federal Law No. 8 of 2004

Federal Law No. 8 of 2004, also known as the "Financial Free Zone Law," allows for the creation of Financial Free Zones in any Emirate of the UAE through a Federal Decree. It exempts these zones and financial activities within them from Federal civil and commercial laws.

Cabinet Resolution No. 28 of 2007

Cabinet Resolution No. 28 of 2007 provides further details on the implementation of the Financial Free Zone Law, ensuring clarity and consistency in its application.

Federal Decree No. 35 of 2004

Federal Decree No. 35 of 2004 established the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) as a Financial Free Zone in Dubai, defining its legal status and geographic boundaries.

Dubai Law No. 9 of 2004

Dubai Law No. 9 of 2004 acknowledges the creation of the DIFC, recognising its financial and administrative independence and establishing its central bodies, including the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA).

DIFC Law No. 1 of 2004

DIFC Law No. 1 of 2004, also known as the "Regulatory Law 2004," grants extensive powers to the DFSA, empowering it to regulate and supervise financial activities within the DIFC.

Key objectives of Financial Free Zones

Financial Free Zones aim to promote financial innovation, attract foreign investment, and contribute to the overall economic growth and development of the UAE by providing a conducive environment for conducting financial activities.

(Thw writer is a legal asssociate at Dubai based NYK Law Firm)

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Sharjah Rejects False Allegations Regarding Call to Prayer Modifications

Authorities in Sharjah have denied circulating rumours suggesting modifications to the azan (call to prayer), emphasising the need for accuracy and credibility while sharing information.

The Sharjah Government Media Office released a statement, urging individuals to prioritise fact-checking and avoid spreading unsubstantiated claims. People are asked to verify the sources before sharing any information, with the authorities affirming that the recent allegations on the changes to the call to prayer in Sharjah as entirely untrue and contradictory to the emirate's religious values.

UAE enforces stringent laws against the propagation of rumours and false news, with penalties including a minimum of one year in jail and fines of Dh100,000.
Spreading rumours, particularly on social media, is strictly prohibited under UAE's cybercrime laws. Those who violate the law can face severe penalties, including imprisonment and hefty fines.

As outlined in a previous report, Article 29 of Federal Law Number 5 of 2012 delineates punishments for spreading rumours with malicious intent, while Article 9 addresses the misuse of IP addresses.

The rapid dissemination of news through social media often disregards its credibility, leading to the propagation of false information and fabricated stories. The UAE recognises this challenge and has taken proactive measures to combat it.

The enactment of Federal Decree-Law No. 34/2021 and Federal Decree-Law No. 31/2021 underscores the government's commitment to combat rumours and cybercrimes.

Article 43 of the Cyber Law stipulates penalties for individuals who utilise information networks or technology to disseminate false events or insults, ranging from detention to fines of up to Dh500,000.

Article 52 of Federal Decree-Law No. 34/2021 targets the dissemination of false information that disrupts public peace or threatens public interest. Offenders face detention and fines starting from Dh100,000, with more severe penalties for cases involving epidemics, crises, or emergencies.

The Media Office statement shows Sharjah's government's unwavering dedication to religious principles, considering them paramount and non-negotiable as the authorities spoke about the significance of fostering respect, peaceful coexistence, and tolerance toward diverse faiths and sects within society.

(The writer is a legal associate at Dubai-based NYK Law Firm)

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UAE May Grant 10-Year Golden Business Licences in Bid to Boost Investment

The United Arab Emirates is considering granting long-term golden visas for businesses as it steps up efforts to attract investments and bolster growth.

The proposal to introduce 10-year golden and five-year silver licences for trade was discussed at the government’s Economic Integration Committee. It aims to increase government revenue, ensure business continuity and promote economic growth.

The UAE, of which Abu Dhabi and Dubai are part, already provides golden visas to foreigners. Expatriate residents make up more than 80 per cent of the UAE population.

The Economic Integration Committee held its second meeting of 2024 on Wednesday under chairmanship of Abdullah Bin Touq Al Marri, Minister of Economy.

The meeting was attended by Dr Thani Bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade, as well as representatives from local economic development departments in all UAE emirates.

The committee has proposed new trade licence regulations in the UAE, which include a silver licence for trade with a validity period of five years and a golden licence for trade with a validity period of 10 years.

These licences will be available at competitive prices. The proposal aims to increase government revenues, ensure business continuity and promote economic growth in the country.

The committee also reviewed the progress made in implementing the outcomes of the first meeting for 2024, which was held in February.
Abdullah bin Touq stated that the UAE has adopted flexible and competitive economic policies and legislation under the guidance of the prudent leadership.

This has created a competitive climate for conducting and establishing business and economic activities in the country's markets. Additionally, it has provided various opportunities and enablers for businessmen, investors, entrepreneurs and venture capitalists from around the world.

This contributed to increasing the number of companies in the country to over 788,000 by the end of 2023. This growth has also led to an increase in foreign direct investment flows to the country's markets, enhancing the growth and sustainability of the national economy.

“The Economic Integration Committee has significantly improved the UAE business environment by developing an economic legislative structure that adheres to international best practices.

Our proposed policies and recommendations are designed to accelerate business growth and enhance the country's attractiveness to investors. Furthermore, we maintain an integrated database of companies operating in the country's markets using modern technologies,” bin Touq added.

The Committee was also briefed on the successful efforts to strengthen control over building material prices and address any unjustified increases. This follows the Cabinet's directive to postpone the application of Decision No. (138) of 2023, which concerns the weights and dimensions of heavy vehicles and the administrative penalties for violating them.

These measures effectively prevent monopolistic practices and ensure stable and balanced prices for consumers.

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202 Beggars Arrested by Dubai Police are Mostly Visit Visa Holders

Dubai Police have arrested 202 beggars in the first two weeks of Ramadan as part of their anti-begging campaign during the Holy Month of Ramadan. Brig Ali Salem Al Shamsi, director of Suspects and Criminal Phenomena Department at the Dubai Police, said that most of the violators came on a visit visa to make quick money by taking advantage of people’s generosity.

According to the Dubai Police, offenders will be subject to a minimum fine of Dh5,000 and up to three months in prison. Those who organise begging activities and bring individuals from abroad to engage in begging shall be punished with imprisonment of no less than six months and a fine of not less than Dh100,000.

Al Shamsi strongly advised the public not to interact with alleged beggars out of pity. He encouraged them to report any illegal activities or begging by calling 901 or using the 'Police Eye' service on Dubai Police smart app.

He underscored that donations must be made to registered and legitimate charitable organisations to ensure that their contributions will rightfully reach the needy and not dubious individuals or groups.

Dubai authorities are taking stern action to address the issue of begging in the emirate with the aim of raising awareness on the importance of preserving the civilised image of the emirate. As part of this move, the Dubai Police General Command is currently conducting its annual “Fight Begging” campaign, which will continue throughout the Holy Month of Ramadan.

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Salaries are Projected to Outpace Cost of Living in 2024: UAE Job Market Report

Salaries are projected to increase faster than the inflation rate hike in the UAE this year on the back of increased demand for talent and growth in the overall economy.

According to global human capital consultancy Mercer, the average salary in the UAE is expected to increase four per cent this year as compared to a 2.3 per cent rise in inflation.

The Mercer Middle East Total Remuneration Survey for 2024 revealed employees working in energy companies will see a slightly higher salary increase of 4.3 per cent this year and staff in consumer goods firms will on average see a 4.1 per cent hike.

Life sciences and high-tech companies plan to hike salaries by around four per cent. In 2023, average salaries increased by 4.1 per cent across all industries in the UAE.

Andrew El Zein, principal for Careers in Mena region, said although there is stability, growth and excitement in the UAE job market, one of the big issues is the cost of living, mainly due to the rise in rents in the past couple of years.

“Rents have increased drastically, and Rera (Real Estate Regulatory Authority) recently recalibrated its rent calculator. That has shown an increase in the rent that landlords can charge. So that is definitely going to be a concern and going to feel on the employees’ pocket,” he said.

Rents in the UAE have been consistently on the rise after the pandemic due to the increased flow of foreign workers into the country. Despite the rising costs, El Zein said, the UAE has a lot of potential and opportunities, especially in terms of in-demand jobs and hot skills.

“The UAE is very attractive for people who want to work here as there are many local and multinational firms in the market. Companies in the UAE are facing increased competition within the country and from other countries in the region, trying to attract and poach the talent,” he said.

To retain talent, he said there is a lot of work and queries regarding different types of long-term and short-term incentives and other forms of retention plans to retain critical talent.

Regarding Emiratisation, he added that there is a huge competition between private sector organisations to attract this workforce. “There is still a large untapped workforce in the Emirati women segment.”

The Mercer Middle East Total Remuneration Survey for 2024 revealed that 16.3 per cent of UAE firms plan to increase their headcounts while 7.8 per cent intend to cut workforce this year.

Around 75.9 per cent of companies in the Emirates neither plan to add or reduce their workforce. The study, which covered the Middle East region, found that the entire GCC region will see salaries outpacing inflation this year while the wider region is struggling to keep pace with the oil-rich Gulf states.

In addition, 3.8 per cent of firms in the UAE expect an increase in turnover rate for 2024 and 11.4 per cent see a decrease.

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UAE Investment Abroad Surges; Combined Value of Assets Reach $2.5 Trillion

UAE investments abroad are thriving amidst global economic fluctuations. According to Jamal Bin Saif Al Jarwan, Secretary-General of the UAE International Investors Council (UAEIIC), the nation is diversifying its investment portfolio to safeguard future generations with lucrative and sustainable projects, showcasing robust economic stewardship and a dedication to growth and collaboration.

"The UAE has solidified its standing in the global economy. The combined value of UAE assets overseas, encompassing both public and private sectors, has reached $2.5 trillion as of early 2024. This positions the UAE as a leader in the Arab region and West Asia, ranking 15th globally and second worldwide in identifying new investment opportunities," Al Jarwan said.

Speaking to the Emirates News Agency (WAM), Al Jarwan outlined that the United States leads the pack, attracting $65 billion in bonds and $50 billion in direct investments. Egypt closely follows with $65 billion, while the United Kingdom and India each draw $40 billion in direct investments. Morocco sees $30 billion, with Europe emerging as a promising future destination due to its currency stability.

"Currently, our operations span across 90 countries. I anticipate our focus to remain on countries such as India, Indonesia, ASEAN nations, Egypt, Morocco, Central Asian countries, Britain, France, Germany, the United States, Canada, and select Eastern European countries, notably Serbia, Greece, and Turkey," Al Jarwan noted.

Discussing ownership and capital distribution, the UAEIIC Secretary-General elucidated that Emirati investments globally are primarily divided among sovereign wealth funds, comprising 72 per cent, with the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA) playing a pivotal role, alongside entities like Mubadala Investment Company, Investment Corporation of Dubai, Emirates Investment Authority and Abu Dhabi Developmental Holding Company PJSC or ADQ.

He highlighted that the UAE boasts seven sovereign wealth funds with assets surpassing two trillion dollars, followed by government-owned and quasi-governmental corporations at 18 per cent, UAE banks at 2.5 per cent, and family-owned and private enterprises at 7.5 per cent.

Al Jarwan pointed out significant recent deals, including the acquisition of UniVar Solutions, headquartered in the UAE, by American asset management company Apollo Global Management and Abu Dhabi Investment Authority for US$8.2 billion.

He also cited the Canadian Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec's acquisition of a 22 per cent stake in DP World, including Jebel Ali Free Zone and National Industries Park, and Jebel Ali Port for US$5 billion.

Among notable transactions is the acquisition by the "e&" group and its subsidiary "Atlas 2022 Holdings" of a 9.8 per cent stake in the British Vodafone group for $4.4 billion, and ADNOC's acquisition of 24.9 per cent of the Austrian oil and gas company "OMV AG" from a local sovereign wealth fund affiliated with Mubadala for $4.1 billion. Al Jarwan added, "A significant deal worth $35 billion, Ras El-Hekma, underscores the growing trend of cross-border deals."

He disclosed that UAE investments totaled $1.9 billion from 1991 to 2000, escalating to $53.6 billion from 2001 to 2010. This resulted in a cumulative balance of Emirati investments abroad reaching $240 billion by the end of 2022, compared to $215 billion in 2021.

Regarding annual flows, he clarified that UAE's investment flow abroad surged in 2022, reaching $24.833 billion, a 10 per cent increase from 2021's $22.546 billion.

Additionally, the UAE ascended to the 15th position globally in investment flows to world countries in 2022, compared to the 20th spot in 2021, as per a report by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

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Understanding the Intricacies of Memorandum of Defense in UAE Court Proceedings

Under the legal system of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), litigation s conducted in accordance with the guidelines outlined in Federal Law No. 11 of 1992 on Civil Procedure, commonly referred to as the Civil Procedure Law, and Cabinet Decision No. 57 of 2018.

The submission of a Memorandum of Defense by the defendant in response to a plaintiff's claim is a crucial step in this process. This article explains the importance of the Memorandum of Defense and its procedural intricacies within UAE courts.

Legal Framework

Federal Law No. 11 of 1992 on Civil Procedure and Cabinet Decision No. 57 of 2018 establish the foundation for judicial procedures in the UAE. These regulations delineate procedures for filing claims, presenting defences, issuing verdicts and initiating appeals within the UAE judicial system.

All judicial proceedings, including document submissions, are conducted exclusively in Arabic. Non-Arabic documents must undergo translation and legalisation before submission to the court.

Initiation of Proceedings

Civil litigation in the UAE commences with the plaintiff filing a claim with the Court of First Instance. Pursuant to Article 16 of the Cabinet Decision, this entails submitting a comprehensive Statement of Claim containing pertinent legal information. Additionally, in accordance with Article 20 of the Cabinet Decision, the Statement of Claim must be accompanied by supporting documentation, such as expert reports.

Notification and Assistance

Upon registration of the Statement of Claim, the defendant is notified through various channels delineated in Article 6 of the Cabinet Decision. Should traditional notification methods prove ineffective, alternative options include publication in designated newspapers, personal service and modern technological means.

Submission of Memorandum of Defence

Following notification, the defendant must promptly furnish a Memorandum of Defense outlining the defense against the plaintiff's claim. This memorandum may include relevant supporting documentation. Seeking legal counsel at this juncture is advisable, necessitating the granting of power of attorney to the counsel.

Pleading and Adjudication

Subsequently, both parties engage in public pleadings in accordance with Article 38 of the Cabinet Decision. In commercial cases, the defendant's defense typically relies on documentary evidence after the plaintiff presents its case. Thereafter, the court deliberates and issues a decision encompassing all pertinent information, as mandated by Articles 50 and 51 of the Cabinet Decision.

Appeals and Execution

As per Article 159 of the Civil Procedure Law, parties have the option to either execute the judgment or file an appeal within 30 days of its issuance, unless otherwise specified by statute.

Understanding the Memorandum of Defense and its role in the UAE judicial system is essential for both plaintiffs and defendants involved in legal disputes. Compliance with procedural requirements and securing legal representation significantly influences the outcome of litigation, underscoring the importance of adherence to established legal frameworks within the UAE jurisdiction.

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Wildlife Trafficking is Criminal Offense in the UAE: Legal Ramifications, Punishments

In recent years, the illegal trade of wildlife has emerged as a pressing global issue, threatening the survival of countless species and undermining conservation efforts worldwide.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE), known for its bustling trade hubs and international airports, has not been immune to this illicit trade. A recent incident at Dubai Airport highlights the severity of wildlife trafficking offenses and the legal consequences that perpetrators may face.

This article explores the incident and delves into the legal framework surrounding wildlife trafficking in the UAE.

In a recent case at Dubai Airport, authorities apprehended an individual attempting to smuggle a live snake and a monkey's hand in their luggage. This brazen attempt to traffic wildlife through a major international transport hub underscores the persistent challenges faced by authorities in combating this illegal trade.

The incident serves as a stark reminder of the importance of vigilance and enforcement efforts to curb wildlife trafficking activities.

Legal Ramifications

Wildlife trafficking in the UAE is a criminal offense punishable under various federal and local laws. The UAE is a signatory to international conventions and agreements aimed at combating wildlife trafficking, including the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

As such, the UAE has implemented stringent measures to regulate and control the import, export, and transit of wildlife and their derivatives.

Punishments for Wildlife Trafficking

Individuals caught engaging in wildlife trafficking in the UAE may face severe legal consequences, including imprisonment and substantial fines. The severity of the punishment depends on factors such as the type and quantity of wildlife involved, the intent of the offender, and the circumstances surrounding the offense.

Offenders may also face confiscation of the trafficked wildlife and forfeiture of any proceeds derived from the illegal trade.

Legal Framework

The UAE has enacted several federal laws and regulations to combat wildlife trafficking and protect endangered species. The Federal Law No. 11 of 2002 Concerning Regulating the Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora and its Implementing Regulations set forth the legal framework for controlling the import, export, and re-export of wildlife and their products. Additionally, individual emirates may have their own laws and regulations governing wildlife conservation and protection.

Enforcement Efforts

Authorities in the UAE are actively engaged in efforts to detect, deter, and prosecute wildlife trafficking activities. This includes enhanced surveillance and monitoring at ports of entry, collaboration with international law enforcement agencies and public awareness campaigns to educate the public about the consequences of wildlife trafficking.

The recent incident at Dubai Airport underscores the importance of these enforcement efforts in combating this illicit trade. Wildlife trafficking poses a significant threat to biodiversity and ecosystem health, and its impacts extend far beyond the borders of any single country.

In the UAE, the illegal trade of wildlife is met with stringent legal measures and severe punishments to deter offenders and protect endangered species.
By enforcing existing laws, enhancing international cooperation, and raising public awareness, authorities in the UAE can continue to combat wildlife trafficking and safeguard the natural heritage of the region for future generations.

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Extra Ramadan Work Hours Could Mean Overtime Pay for Employees in the UAE

Many employees in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) may have questions about their entitlement to overtime pay during the Holy Month of Ramadan. Knowing your rights as an employee is vital, particularly during this period of fasting and prayer.

As per Federal Decree-Law No. 33 of 2021 on the Regulation of Employment Relations and Cabinet Resolution No. 1 of 2022 on the Implementation of Federal Decree-Law No. 33 of 2021 Regarding the Regulation of Employment Relations, specific provisions apply to overtime and reduced working hours during Ramadan.

An employee in the UAE is entitled to two hours of reduced working hours during the month of Ramadan, as stipulated by Article 17(4) of the Employment Law in conjunction with Article 15(2) of Cabinet Resolution No. 1 of 2022. This regulation states that “the regular working hours shall be reduced by two hours during the Holy Month of Ramadan.”

Furthermore, an employee may be entitled to overtime payment if the employer requires them to work additional hours beyond the stipulated Ramadan working hours.

According to Article 19 of the Employment Law:

  • The employer may employ the employee for additional working hours, not exceeding two hours a day, subject to specific procedures and conditions outlined in the Executive Regulations of this Decree-Law. However, the total working hours should not exceed 144 hours in three weeks.
  • Overtime work beyond regular hours entitles the employee to their basic salary plus a supplement of at least 25 per cent of that salary.
  •  For overtime between 10 pm and 4 am, the employee should receive their basic salary plus a supplement of at least 50 per cent of that salary, except for shift employees.
  • Employees required to working on their rest days are entitled to compensation, either with a substitute rest day or with a supplement of at least 50 per cent of their salary.
  • Certain categories, such as those in supervisory positions with employer-like powers, may be exempted from maximum working hour regulations.
    Based on these legal provisions, an employee may be eligible for overtime pay if they work beyond the specified Ramadan working hours. However, the decision to assign overtime work remains at the discretion of the employer. Understanding your rights and communicating with your employer can help ensure that you receive fair compensation for your hard work during the Holy Month of Ramadan.

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Landlords Can’t Kick Out Tenants Without Valid Reason; Notice is Must

 Renting a property provides individuals with a place to call home. When you rent a place to live in the UAE,  you have rights and responsibilities. The law protects tenants and landlords alike. However, tenants might worry about being kicked out suddenly.

This article explains the rules for  eviction in the UAE  and what rights tenants have. The relationship between landlords and tenants in the UAE is mainly regulated by Federal Law No. 26 of 2007, also known as the UAE Tenancy Law .

This law sets out the rights and duties of both parties and provides guidelines for various rental matters, including evictions.  Each emirate may also have its own rules that work together with the federal law.

According to the UAE Tenancy Law, landlords must follow specific procedures when evicting tenants. These typically involve giving tenants a written notice of eviction, stating the reasons clearly.

Valid reasons for eviction might include not paying rent, breaking lease terms, or the landlord wanting to use the property for themselves or their family. Landlords usually have to give tenants a notice period before starting eviction proceedings. The length of this period might vary depending on the reason for eviction and the terms of the lease.

Generally, tenants should get at least 30 days' notice if they're being evicted because of rent arrears or lease violations. But longer notice might be needed for other reasons, like ending the lease agreement.

Tenant Rights

Right to Notification: Tenants have the right to written notice from their landlords before being evicted. The notice should explain why they're being evicted and how much notice they'll get.
Right to Challenge: If tenants think the eviction is unfair or illegal, they can challenge it legally. This might mean getting legal advice, complaining to the right authorities, or disputing the eviction in court.
Right to Redress: In some cases, tenants might be entitled to compensation or help finding a new place if they're evicted unfairly or without proper notice. Landlords who don't follow eviction procedures might face penalties under the UAE Rent Law.

In short, landlords in the UAE can't usually evict tenants without warning or a good reason. The laws around eviction are there to protect tenants and make sure they're treated fairly.

Tenants should know their rights and what to do if they're facing an unjust or illegal eviction. Getting legal advice can help tenants avoid evictions without notice and stand up for their rights.

(The writer is a legal associate at Dubai-based NYK Law Firm)

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ADREC Settlement Dispute Centre Mediates 1,090 Real Estate Disputes in 2023

The Real Estate Dispute Settlement Centre, part of the Abu Dhabi Real Estate Centre (ADREC) under the Department of Municipalities and Transport (DMT), has achieved a remarkable milestone in resolving real estate disputes throughout 2023.

The centre resolved 3,876 out of 4,079 disputes recorded in 2023, achieving a high completion rate of 95 per cent. This accomplishment was reached after real estate mediators conducted 10,376 sessions throughout the year.

The total value of the settled cases amounted to Dh1,985,550,315, representing a significant milestone in the centre's performance and its vital role in enhancing the stability of the real estate sector in Abu Dhabi.

Out of the 3,876 resolved real estate disputes, 28 per cent were resolved through amicable means. This reflects a dedication to resolving real estate disputes amicably, utilising the latest mediation and reconciliation techniques.

It is also a testament to the centre's ongoing commitment to enhancing the dispute resolution process in the real estate sector, thereby contributing to the sector's growth in the emirate.

"The achievements of the Real Estate Dispute Settlement Centre in 2023 are a clear indication of our commitment to excellence and our dedication to upholding the highest standards of justice and fairness in the real estate sector.

With a focus on amicable settlements, the centre has played a pivotal role in maintaining the integrity and stability of the real estate market in Abu Dhabi," Said Rashed Al Omaira, Acting Director General at ADREC.

“The centre remains dedicated to enhancing its services, adopting innovative approaches to dispute resolution, and contributing to the growth and stability of Abu Dhabi's real estate market,” he noted.

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Commercial Disputes: Litigation is Crucial Step While Arbitration can be Alternative

In the United Arab Emirates (UAE), resolving commercial disputes typically involves either litigation or arbitration. Although arbitration is increasingly favoured for its efficiency, litigation remains the primary method for resolving disputes in the UAE

An examination of the essential aspects of commercial litigation in the United Arab Emirates encompasses procedural protocols, evidentiary considerations, and judicial decision-making.

Commercial litigation spans a broad spectrum of conflicts, ranging from corporate disputes and company liquidations to bankruptcy proceedings, insolvency matters pertaining to partnerships, trade disputes, and debt recovery cases

Litigation

Resolving commercial disputes in the UAE requires navigating a legal system influenced by Shariah and civil law, including litigation.

Parties in dispute can opt for litigation, presenting their case before the courts, particularly the Court of First Instance in the respective emirate.

The UAE follows a civil law system, where cases are adjudicated based on their merits and facts. Court proceedings are conducted in Arabic, necessitating the involvement of a UAE National lawyer. All court submissions must be translated into Arabic, accompanied by legal attestations if required.

Court System Overview

Emirates except Abu Dhabi and Ras Al Khaimah (RAK) are integrated into the Federal Judicial system. These emirates follow a standard structure, consisting of:

  • Court of First Instance
  • Court of Appeal
  • Court of Cassation (RAK, however, lacks a Court of Cassation, with all appeals directed to the Supreme Court of Abu Dhabi).

The UAE operates under a civil law system, with distinct legal structures in free zones like the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) and Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM).

These zones, governed by English or common law, feature specialised commercial courts conducting proceedings in English. Conversely, onshore UAE courts operate in Arabic, requiring all submissions to adhere to Arabic regulations.

Limitation Period

Commercial disputes are bound by limitation periods dictating the timeframe for filing lawsuits. Federal Law No. 5 of 1985 (Civil Code) generally sets a 15-year limitation, subject to statutory adjustments depending on the claim nature.

Different Stages Followed by UAE Courts

Stage I: Registration of Case: Proceedings commence with the submission of a pleading/plaint accompanied by court fees, varying from 3-6 per cent with a maximum cap of Dh40,000. Upon registration, the court issues a summons to the defendant along with a hearing date.

Stage II: Service of Summons: Summons are served to the defendant via courier, email, or a court officer. If the defendant fails to acknowledge receipt, the court may adjourn the matter for another hearing.

Service can also be made through affixing the summons on the defendant’s property or publication in local newspapers. For defendants residing abroad, a summons is served through diplomatic channels or electronic means.

Stage III: Hearing: Once the defendant responds, the court schedules a hearing for the claimant's reply. Further hearings occur until both parties submit memorandums and supporting documents. Failure of the defendant to attend may result in an ex-parte judgment. Additionally, the court may appoint a third-party expert for technical matters.

Commercial Litigation Steps

Governed by Federal Law No. 11 of 1992 (Civil Procedures Law), commercial litigation in the UAE follows a structured process:
Filing a Case: Plaintiffs initiate proceedings in the court of first instance by submitting a detailed statement of claim, notifying defendants who must respond with a memorandum of defense.

Hearing of the Case: Pleadings are public, with the plaintiff presenting their case followed by the defendant's defense and evidence submission.
Expert Report: Courts may appoint experts, registered in the Ministry of Justice, to offer opinions. Expert reports are shared with parties, though non-binding  and may deviate from court judgments.
Judgment: The court issues a judgment outlining the case's basis, including court details, case type, and judges' names.
Enforcement: Following judgment receipt, the prevailing party files an execution application. Courts may seize assets, impose bankruptcy, or issue arrest warrants or travel bans against debtors.
Appeal: Parties may appeal judgments, except when explicitly or implicitly accepted. Appeals are filed within set timeframes, with subsequent appeals to higher courts based on specific grounds.

To effectively deal with commercial disputes in the UAE, it is important to have a good grasp of legal frameworks and procedural intricacies.

While arbitration can be an alternative, litigation is still a crucial step. People involved in commercial disputes within the jurisdiction should have a good understanding of the nuances of the UAE's legal system and the steps involved in commercial litigation to achieve the best possible outcome.

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Are You Eyeing a UAE Golden Visa? Here’s All You Need to Know

 The UAE has introduced its Golden Visa programme, presenting an exclusive pathway to long-term residency for individuals across various categories.
This prestigious visa scheme, accompanied by stringent laws and regulations, has attracted widespread attention among foreign talents and investors looking to establish themselves in the UAE.

The Golden Visa is a long-term residence permit that allows foreign talents to reside, work, or study in the UAE while enjoying a range of exclusive benefits. These benefits include entry visas, renewable residence permits valid for five or 10 years, the ability to sponsor family members, and more.

Golden Visa Requirements

Investors in Public Investments: Investors must demonstrate a deposit of Dh2 million in an accredited investment fund or own a commercial or industrial licence with a minimum capital of Dh2 million. Additionally, they must pay the government no less than Dh250,000 annually and provide proof of medical insurance.

Real Estate Investors: Applicants must own properties worth at least Dh2 million or purchase properties with loans from specific local banks.

Entrepreneurs: Entrepreneurs must own an economic project of a technical or future nature based on risk and innovation, with a project value of not less than Dh500,000. They also need approval letters from an auditor, authorities in the emirate, and an accredited business incubator in the UAE.

Outstanding Specialised Talents: This category includes doctors, scientists, creatives, inventors, executives, athletes, and specialists in engineering and science. Specific requirements vary for each profession and may include approval letters from relevant authorities, university degrees, work contracts and recommendations.

Outstanding Students: High school and university students meeting specific criteria, including academic excellence and recommendations from educational institutions, are eligible for the Golden Visa.

Pioneers of Humanitarian Work: Individuals who have contributed significantly to humanitarian efforts, including frontline heroes during crises such as the Covid-19 pandemic, may qualify for the Golden Visa.

'One Touch' Golden Visa Service in the UAE

The 'One Touch' Golden Visa service is a comprehensive solution designed to simplify the application and renewal procedures for a Golden residence visa, easing the burden on applicants in terms of time and energy.

This service will assist applicants in submitting their visa applications, acquiring additional visas, regularising their status, obtaining residency and identity documents and completing all renewal processes seamlessly in a single step.

To avail of this service, applicants can apply through the ICP website or the ICP App, accessible on Google Play and the App Store.

Recent Updates to the UAE Golden Visa in 2024

Elimination of Minimum Down Payment: The previous requirement of a minimum Dh1 million ($272,000) down payment for property investments has been removed, making it more accessible for investors to qualify for the Golden Visa.

Updated Qualification Standards: Investors can now qualify for the Golden Visa by owning a property valued at Dh2 million ($545,000) or higher, regardless of the down payment or the property’s status.

Diverse Property Options: The revised regulations allow investors to choose properties valued at Dh2 million ($545,000) or more, expanding the options for long-term residency in the UAE.

Eligibility Criteria for Real Estate Investors

To qualify for the UAE Golden Visa under the updated regulations, real estate investors must fulfil the following conditions:

Confirmation of Property Ownership: Provide a letter from the land department of the respective emirate confirming ownership of properties valued at no less than Dh2 million ($545,000).

Loan Procurement: Alternatively, investors can acquire a property through a loan from specific local banks approved by the competent local entity.

Benefits of Obtaining a Golden Visa in the UAE

  • Unrestricted living, working and study opportunities in the UAE.
  • Ability to sponsor dependents and travel freely to and from the UAE.
  • Ownership of property and establishment of businesses.
  • Access to world-class healthcare, education and a high standard of living.

Recent Legal Developments

In a recent update, the UAE announced significant changes to its Golden Visa programme, expanding eligibility criteria to include additional categories of individuals. Notably, select retirees aged 55 and above can now apply for long-term residency under the Golden Visa scheme.

This legal development reflects the UAE's ongoing efforts to attract diverse talent and investment, further solidifying its position as a global hub for innovation, entrepreneurship, and cultural exchange.

Conclusion

The Golden Visa programme in the UAE provides a pathway to long-term residency for select individuals, with strict laws, rules, and regulations governing its acquisition and maintenance.

Recent legal developments, including expanded eligibility criteria, underscore the UAE's commitment to fostering a vibrant and inclusive community of residents and investors.

As the UAE continues to evolve as a global destination for talent and innovation, the Golden Visa remains a coveted opportunity for those seeking to establish roots in this dynamic and diverse country.

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Stop Worrying About Having No Kids; UAE Has a Robust System for Adoption

In a world where love knows no boundaries and family extends far beyond bloodlines, there exists a journey of compassion, resilience, and the transformative power of unconditional love that brings together the lives of strangers, binding them in a tapestry of shared experiences and profound connection.

This is the core concept and spirit of adoption and fostering rules in the UAE, which stands as a beacon of commitment to the well-being and future of every child within its borders. Its legal framework stands as a testament to the unwavering dedication to ensuring every child's journey is guided by love, security, and the promise of a brighter tomorrow.

Within this framework, Wadeema's Law, widely recognised for safeguarding children's rights, serves as a cornerstone. The law guarantees the fundamental right to alternative care for children deprived of their natural families, whether through foster families or public/private social welfare institutions.

This legislation reflects the UAE's commitment to providing a nurturing environment for every child, irrespective of their circumstances.

Who Can Adopt a Child?

The UAE's legal framework also addresses the responsibilities of foster parents in caring for children of unknown parentage. Provisions are in place for establishing childcare homes and identifying eligible foster families capable of providing comprehensive care encompassing health, entertainment, psychological, social, and educational needs.

The Ministry of Community Development (MoCD) oversees these efforts, ensuring suitable foster families for children in need. Criteria for prospective foster parents include being Muslim, Emirati citizens, residing in the UAE, being at least 25 years old without a criminal record involving moral turpitude, being free from infectious diseases or psychological disorders, and having the financial means to support their family and the foster child.

Moreover, foster parents must commit to providing proper treatment, upbringing, and care for the child's health and well-being.Inclusivity is also emphasised in fostering regulations, extending eligibility to single women, including divorced and widowed women, provided they meet specific criteria.

Applicants must provide essential documents, including an Emirates ID card, passport copy, family book copy, salary certificate, certificate of good conduct, and proof of home ownership. Various authorities across different emirates in the UAE facilitate childcare homes.

Additionally, the UAE implements child-sponsoring programs to support orphans, both domestically and internationally, through initiatives operated by entities like the Emirates Red Crescent Authority and Zakat Fund.

Recent amendments to Federal Law No. 28 of the 2005 UAE Personal Status Code and Decree-Law No. 52/2023 introduce significant changes aimed at enhancing the welfare and protection of fostered children. These amendments modify the roles, responsibilities, and rights of foster parents, particularly concerning educational tutorship, guardianship, and documentation.

Revisions to Article 148 grant the fostering mother educational tutorship over the fostered child in the child's best interest, with dispute resolution mechanisms in place to ensure timely resolution while prioritising the child's well-being.

Article 157 addresses custody of the fostered child's passport and evidential documents, emphasizing the child's autonomy upon reaching adulthood and empowering the woman fosterer to maintain essential documents.

Changes to Article 250 specify conditions under which wills may be made to heirs, ensuring flexibility and adherence to the best interests of all parties involved.
The recent amendments to Federal Law No. 28 of 2005 UAE Personal Status Code, introduced through Decree-Law No. 52/2023, signify the UAE's continuous commitment to enhancing the legal framework surrounding fostering and adoption.

By addressing crucial aspects such as educational tutorship, custody of documents and testamentary matters, these amendments strive to ensure the holistic well-being and protection of fostered children while upholding the principles of justice and guardianship within the UAE's legal system.

(The writer is a legal associate at Dubai-based NYK Law Firm)

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Abu Dhabi Launches WhatsApp Reporting for Abuse of Children of Determination

The Zayed Higher Organisation for People of Determination (ZHO) has introduced official channels for reporting cases of abuse involving children of determination in Abu Dhabi.

In celebration of Emirati Children's Day, ZHO unveiled a community-driven initiative by establishing official channels for reporting cases linked to child protection within the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.

This initiative is designed to address suspected instances of abuse that individuals with determination might encounter. It includes an email address (pod.cp@zho.gov.ae), a hotline, and a WhatsApp service for reporting (0542003366).

Additionally, there is a dedicated section on the organisation's internal website specifically for employees regarding individuals with disabilities associated with the institution. The aim is to ensure the creation of a supportive environment conducive to the healthy and sustainable development of children.

The initiative reinforces the role of the Zayed Higher Organisation for People of Determination in safeguarding and promoting the well-being of children with disabilities, thereby endorsing the approach of prudent leadership and diligent efforts to prioritise the best interests of the child above all other considerations.

The service encompasses preventive measures aimed at establishing a safe environment free from all forms of physical, psychological and sexual abuse, exploitation and discrimination.

This is achieved by implementing reporting channels for suspected cases of abuse, monitoring and providing protection and enhancing the necessary capacities to address cases of child abuse among individuals with disabilities in collaboration with other relevant entities, within the framework of shared social responsibility.

As part of the initiative's implementation, the ZHO has trained 23 of its staff to become certified judicial officers specialising in child protection within the institution. A new job title, Child Protection Specialist, has been introduced and designated for this purpose.

Abdullah Abdul Aali Al Hameedan, Secretary-General of the Zayed Higher Organisation for People of Determination, expressed his delight in launching this initiative on Emirati Children's Day under the slogan “The Right to Protection.”

He underscored the country's efforts to uphold children's rights, stating, "The UAE has prioritised childcare and attention since the establishment of the Union, with clear provisions in the constitution affirming that society includes the nurturing of motherhood and childhood, and that the family constitutes the nucleus of society."

Fatima Al Hashemi, a Child Protection Specialist at the ZHO, remarked: "The initiative focuses on the rights of children with disabilities and aims to ensure the implementation of mechanisms and measures to safeguard children within the institution, providing a secure environment to shield them from anything that jeopardises their physical or psychological well-being, and empowering children with their rights, particularly the right to protection.

“This entails adopting a reporting system for suspected cases of abuse of any kind or violations of their rights within the institution's facilities, during transportation on buses, and during external activities organised by the institution.

The initiative also seeks to provide protection, social and psychological support and follow-up care for children and individuals with disabilities in cases of abuse."

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Exam Cheating Scandal: Students, Staff may Face Tough Action

Several cases of cheating have been uncovered among students during the end-of-semester exams. These incidents were reported by a leading school organisation in the UAE on Thursday.

They said that strict actions will be taken, including giving zero marks to students caught cheating. Moreover, any staff members involved will be reported to the public prosecution, in line with Federal Decree Law No. (33) of 2023, which aims to prevent fraud and maintain integrity in the examination process, school authorities confirmed.

Hefty Fines

Examinations, be they class tests, board exams, or university assessments, inevitably induce stress. However, before succumbing to temptation, reconsider your actions; Federal Decree Law No. (33) of 2023, the law introduced last year to counter cheating in examinations, imposes fines of up to Dh200,000 for offenders.

The penalty is imposed on anyone other than a student who commits any of three acts before, during, or after the exams. These offences include printing, publishing, promoting, transmitting, or leaking exam-related information, altering answers or grades and impersonating a student during the exam.

“Maintaining academic integrity is paramount in any educational institution, and the recent federal law addressing cheating in examinations underscores this commitment. Upholding high standards of honesty and integrity not only ensures a fair academic environment but also cultivates ethical values in students,” said Sunil Ambalavelil, Principal Partner of Dubai-based NYK Law Firm, while talking to The Law Reporters.

The law extends liability to those who participate or contribute as original perpetrators or partners in the commission of these acts, subjecting them to the same penalties.

Additionally, if convicted, individuals may be required to perform community service for a maximum of six months, either in addition to or instead of the monetary fine.

If students are caught cheating, disciplinary procedures will be initiated following the conduct rules and regulations set forth by the Ministry of Education, educational authorities in each emirate and individual educational institutions.

The law provides a comprehensive definition of cheating, encompassing actions such as obtaining or attempting to obtain, giving, or leaking exam-related information through illegal means.

This includes unauthorised access to electronic examination systems, falsification of results, or the use of any prohibited information technology or other illegal means within examination premises.

“It's imperative that schools emphasise the importance of academic integrity through training, clear guidelines and compassionate discipline. While education is about nurturing growth, there must be firm consequences for misconduct to uphold the integrity of the system," said Sunil.

Additionally, these regulations apply to governmental and private educational institutions, including schools, universities and colleges, ensuring uniformity in enforcement across the education sector.

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Dutch Footballer Arrested in Dubai for Involvement in Cocaine Smuggling Case

Dutch football star Quincy Promes, who was convicted in absentia last month by an Amsterdam court of involvement in cocaine smuggling and sentenced to six years in prison, has reportedly been arrested by authorities in Dubai at the request of Dutch prosecutors who will seek his extradition.

Prosecutors did not confirm Promes' name but said in a statement that a 32-year-old man who lives in Moscow was arrested in Dubai, Associated Press reported.
Promes, 32, lives in the Russian capital, where he plays for Spartak Moscow. Dutch prosecutors rarely release the names of suspects in criminal cases.

"The arrest was made based on a Red Notice issued by the Netherlands. The Netherlands will request the extradition of the man," the Amsterdam Public Prosecution office said.

A Red Notice is a global request, based on an arrest warrant or court order, for law enforcement authorities to locate and provisionally arrest a person pending extradition, surrender, or similar legal action, prosecutors said.

"The arrested man was reportedly staying in luxury in Dubai according to various media reports. However, he has been taken into custody thanks to the efforts of the authorities in both countries," they added.

"At this time, it is not possible to provide additional information to avoid disruption of the ongoing investigation." Spartak recently played friendly matches in the United Arab Emirates. Promes hasn't appeared in recent games.

Promes, who scored seven goals in 50 international matches for the Netherlands before legal issues derailed his international career, was convicted last month of complicity in cocaine smuggling and sentenced in his absence to six years in prison.

Amsterdam District Court ruled that Promes was involved in the import and export of hundreds of kilogrammes of cocaine in 2020. It was not his first conviction. Last year, Promes was found guilty of stabbing his cousin in the leg and was sentenced to 18 months in prison.

Promes, a former player for Ajax and Sevilla, lives in Moscow and did not appear at his trial in the Dutch capital. His lawyers told judges he denied the allegations.

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UAE's New Private Teacher Work Permit Lets You Work from Your Home Country

Are you interested in offering private tuition classes in the UAE but unsure about the legal process? Here's everything you need to know about the new 'Private Teacher Work Permit' introduced by the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE) and the Ministry of Education.

According to Dr Muhammad bin Ibrahim Al Mualla, Undersecretary for Academic Affairs of the Ministry of Education, the new system provides "flexible options for students and parents while maintaining discipline, quality and efficiency in the educational process".

"The introduction of a permit for individuals qualified to provide private lessons will help curb illegal and unregulated practices when recruiting private teachers, which risk affecting the learning process as a whole," he added.

The legal framework regulates private lessons at the national level, protects the rights of private teachers and "ensures that students receive supplemental education that meets their learning style and needs."

Khalil Al Khoori, Undersecretary for Human Resources Affairs at MoHRE, urged those seeking private lessons to engage professionals authorised to offer these services and to fulfil their financial obligations as agreed between the two parties.

Who Can Offer Private Tuition?

  • Registered teachers in government or private schools.
  • Employees in government and private sectors.
  • Unemployed individuals.

 Can Licensed Tutors Work from their Home Countries?

Yes, provided that they have a valid residency.

Does the Licence Cover Both Online and In-person Tutoring?

Yes, a single licence covers both.

How Long Does it Take for the Permit to be Issued?

According to the ministry, it takes one to five working days.

What are the Required Documents?

Depending on your category, the required documents vary:

Student Category (University/School Student)

  •    Certificate of study continuity or university enrollment.
  •    Last academic certificate.
  •    Guardian's No Objection Certificate (NOC).
  •   Certificate of good conduct.
  •    Medical fitness certificate.
  •   Valid identification documents.
  •   Clear personal photo with a white background.

 Unemployed Category

  •   Latest academic degree.
  •   Certificate of good conduct.
  •   Valid identification documents.
  •   Medical fitness certificate.
  •   Experience certificate (if any).
  •   Clear personal photo with a white background.

 Workers in Different Sectors

  •   Latest academic degree.
  •   Certificate of good conduct.
  •   Employer's No Objection Certificate (NOC).
  •   Medical fitness certificate.
  •   Experience certificate (if any).
  •   Valid identification documents.
  •   Clear personal photo with a white background.

Teachers Registered in Public or Private Schools

  •   Certificate of good conduct.
  •   Employer's No Objection Certificate (NOC).
  •   Medical fitness certificate.
  •   Experience certificate (if any).
  •   Valid identification documents.
  •   Clear personal photo with a white background.

 How to Apply for the Permit

  • Visit the MOHRE webpage and enter your Emirates ID number to receive an OTP.
  • Choose the relevant category and upload the required documents.
  • Download, sign, and upload the 'Code of Conduct' document.
  • Submit the application.

The permit processing takes five working days. For assistance, contact MoHRE through their support website or call 600 590000.

Permit Validity
The permit is valid for two years and can be renewed.

Fees
The application is free of cost.

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Central Bank Launches Sanadak Ombudsman Unit in Bid to Protect Consumer Rights

The UAE's commitment to consumer rights takes a significant stride forward with the official launch of 'Sanadak,' a dedicated unit within the Central Bank to address issues in the financial services and insurance sectors.

Replacing the functions previously handled by the Central Bank's Consumer Protection Department and the Insurance Dispute Resolution Committee, Sanadak serves as an ombudsman unit, allowing consumers to file complaints and receive prompt resolutions from financial service providers.

By providing an alternative to local courts and judicial authorities, Sanadak aims to enhance consumer confidence, fostering collaboration with financial institutions and licensed insurance companies.

What is Sanadak?

"Sanadak is dedicated to efficiently resolving financial and insurance complaints, safeguarding consumer rights, and enhancing satisfaction," stated Fatma Al Jabri, Chairperson of Sanadak.

Consumers can submit complaints through Sanadak's website, mobile app, or via the Contact Centre, ensuring accessibility for all, including people of determination and the elderly.

As the first ombudsman unit of its kind in the UAE and the MENA region, Sanadak streamlines the process for raising complaints related to financial institutions and insurance companies, aiming to simplify procedures for consumers.

With a focus on safeguarding consumer rights and resolving disputes, Sanadak's establishment marks a significant advancement in consumer protection within the UAE.

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Don’t Wait Any Longer: Now, Work and Residency Permit in Just 5 Days

Dubai has introduced the ‘Work Bundle’ platform, significantly reducing the processing time for acquiring work permits and residency visas, from 30 days to just five days.

This integrated system streamlines procedures across various government entities, including the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE), Federal Authority for Identity, Citizenship, Customs and Ports Security (ICP), Dubai Health Authority (DHA), Department of Economy and Tourism  and the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA).

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, noted that the Work Bundle platform aims to simplify and expedite residency and work permit procedures, ultimately reclaiming 62 million working days previously spent on renewal processes.

What Services are Included?

The platform facilitates employment services, including tasks such as renewal, cancellation, medical examination, and fingerprinting.
Initially, this platform is accessible through the 'Invest in Dubai' website and mobile app during its first phase. Subsequently, it will be progressively integrated into various other government digital platforms and the 'Work in UAE' website.

The platform, currently launched in Dubai, will be expanded across other emirates shortly. This initiative aligns with the UAE's broader digital transformation goals, aiming to enhance business efficiency and streamline procedures for both public and private sectors.
 

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UAE Multiple Entry Visa a Game-Changer; How to Apply for One?

 

Securing a multiple entry visa for the UAE opens doors to seamless travel for various groups, from business executives networking at conferences to families enjoying leisurely reunions. This visa option has become a game-changer, offering significant time and cost savings for frequent visitors.

By providing a long-term solution, this visa eliminates the hassle of repetitive application processes, empowering travellers to plan their trips with ease.
Understanding the application process and the required documents is essential to ensure a smooth and hassle-free experience. Let's delve into the details.

Where to Apply for Multiple Entry Visas

UAE Embassy or Consulate: Applicants can submit their visa applications directly to the nearest UAE embassy or consulate in their home country.

Authorised Visa Agents: Many countries have authorised visa agents or service providers who assist with visa applications on behalf of travellers. These agents can streamline the process and provide guidance on documentation.

Online Visa Services: Some individuals may be eligible to apply for UAE visas through online platforms provided by authorised agencies or government portals.

Documents Required for Multiple Entry Visas

Passport:A valid passport with a minimum validity of six months from the date of entry into the UAE.

Visa Application Form: Completed visa application form, usually downloadable from the official website of the UAE embassy or consulate.

Passport-size Photographs: Recent passport-size photographs with a white background, adhering to specified dimensions.

Proof of Travel: Itinerary or proof of travel arrangements, including confirmed flight tickets and hotel reservations for the duration of the stay in the UAE.

Proof of Accommodation: Details of accommodation during the visit, such as hotel bookings or a letter of invitation from a host residing in the UAE.

Financial Documents: Bank statements or proof of sufficient funds to cover expenses during the stay in the UAE.

Visa Fee:Payment of the visa fee as per prevailing rates, which may vary depending on the applicant's nationality and the type of visa applied for.

Additional Documents: Depending on the purpose of the visit, additional documents such as invitation letters, business contacts, or family relations may be required.

Tips for a Successful Application

Verify Requirements: Before applying for a multiple entry visa, carefully review the specific requirements outlined by the UAE embassy or consulate in your jurisdiction.

Complete Application Form Accurately: Ensure all fields in the visa application form are filled out accurately and legibly to avoid delays or rejection.

Submit Required Documents: Compile all necessary documents as per the checklist provided by the visa authorities and submit them along with the visa application.

Follow Guidelines: Adhere to guidelines regarding photograph specifications, visa fee payment methods, and processing timelines specified by the UAE visa authorities.

Seek Assistance if Needed: If you encounter any difficulties or have questions about the application process, don't hesitate to seek assistance from authorised visa agents or embassy/consulate officials.

Securing a multiple entry visa for the UAE is a straightforward process when applicants understand the application requirements and submit the necessary documents accurately and on time. By following the guidelines provided by the UAE visa authorities and seeking assistance if needed, travellers can obtain their visas efficiently and embark on their journeys to the UAE with confidence.

(The writer is a legal associate at Dubai-based NYK Law Firm)

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Signed 'All Dues Paid' Form But Received Nothing? File a Case Against the Company

 

Have you or anyone you know signed a form declaring all dues paid by the company but still haven't received end-of-service benefits? You can still claim your dues with the assistance of the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE).

"If an employee signs a document stating 'all dues paid' and does not receive their end-of-service gratuity, overtime, or benefits, they can approach the ministry and file a case," says Mary Rintu Raju, Legal Associate at Dubai-based NYK Law Firm.

"In such a scenario, the courts will demand documentary evidence from the company to prove that the entitlements were paid. If the company fails to produce such evidence, it is presumed that the employee's signature was obtained for work permit cancellation, while entitlement transfer remains pending," she added.

What are the Employee's Rights in UAE?

Employees have the right to file a case against the company to claim their rightful amount. The ministry will initiate an investigation in such instances.

When asked about the legal procedure an employee should follow, she said: “The employee should ensure that the correct calculation is given to the court when registering a case, along with the circumstances under which the signature and cancellation were processed. If the company states that the settlement was already paid, the employee should request the court to demand proof from the company. Such cases are very common before the Labour Court.”

The ministry will examine evidence to determine whether the company has indeed disbursed the stipulated amount to the employee, reviewing bank statements and other necessary documentation. If the company fails to fulfill the employee's entitlements, the ministry will make a verdict accordingly, unaffected by the employee's signature on the document.

In accordance with recent amendments to a federal law governing employment relations, MoHRE now has the authority to issue a final verdict on disputes valued at less than Dh50,000, provided both parties have not reached a mutual agreement.

 Any conflicts between a domestic worker and their employer must be directed to MoHRE for resolution. The ministry is obliged to take all necessary measures to facilitate an amicable settlement. If no resolution is reached within two weeks of filing a complaint, the matter must then be referred to a competent court.

Employees have one year from the last communication with the employer regarding the dispute to file a case. MoHRE may order the employer to provide the worker's wages for up to two months if wages are withheld due to the dispute.

What are the Procedures to File a Complaint with MoHRE?

1. Employees can file the complaint in person, online, or via the call centre at 60056566.

2 .Upon receiving the complaint, MoHRE reviews the case and seeks an amicable solution. If no solution is reached:

  • Disputes valued at more than Dh50,000 are referred to court.
  • Disputes valued at less than Dh50,000 are resolved by MoHRE.

3. MoHRE's judgment is final, but execution may be suspended if an appeal is filed.

4. Unsatisfied parties may file a lawsuit before the Court of Appeals within 15 days to appeal the judgment.

5. The Court of Appeals schedules a hearing within three working days and issues a final verdict within 15 working days.

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Scamsters on the Prowl Again, This Time Posing as UAE Central Bank

 

A fraudulent scheme has emerged once again on various social networking platforms in the UAE, tricking residents into revealing personal information and banking details to scammers.

Several residents told The Law Reporters they have recently received dubious messages on their WhatsApp accounts, sparking worries regarding their legitimacy.

A similar scam had emerged last year, stirring panic among the public. The concerning development prompted the Central Bank of the UAE (CBUAE) to issue a warning, urging residents to refrain from engaging with deceptive emails and notices.

A resident of the UAE has confirmed receiving a WhatsApp message claimed to be from Ministry of Finance UAE and Ministry of Interior. The message included a PDF document stating that immediate action must be taken to prevent the freezing of the recipient's bank account. The resident noted that the fraudsters employed logos and stamps resembling those of the ministries to enhance authenticity. Nevertheless, upon closer scrutiny, it became apparent that the message was fake.

The messages read: “Sorry for the inconvenience, but we need your immediate attention. Due to security reasons, your bank account (ATM, Debit, Credit Cards) is set to be frozen temporarily.”

The CBUAE clarified on its website last year that it is not a retail bank and does not engage in transactions or hold funds for the public. It emphasised that any claims of funds held at CBUAE or investment opportunities purportedly from the institution are likely fraudulent. Scammers often exploit the CBUAE's name, logo, and employee identities without authorization.

How to Identify a Scam?

To help individuals identify such scams, the CBUAE as provided some key points:

  • CBUAE never communicates via public email accounts like Gmail, Hotmail or Yahoo, nor through social media platforms such as Facebook or Twitter.
  • Official emails from CBUAE always originate from addresses ending in @cbuae.gov.ae, with no variations.
  • Victims of fraud are encouraged to report incidents to local law enforcement and inform CBUAE of any misuse of its name, logo, or employee identities.

Individuals can confidentially report incidents or seek assistance by emailing information.security@cbuae.gov.ae or sending a written letter to Head -- CBUAE Information Security, PO Box 854, Abu Dhabi, UAE.

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Intellectual Property Crimes Lucrative Enterprise than Drug Trafficking

 In a startling revelation, experts have disclosed that criminal syndicates are reaping higher profits from intellectual property (IP) crimes compared to traditional illegal activities like drug trafficking. This revelation, unveiled during a recent conference, sheds light on the growing trend of intellectual property theft and its detrimental impact on global economies.

The conference, held last week in Dubai, brought together law enforcement officials, legal experts, and industry professionals to discuss the rising threat posed by intellectual property crime. The discussions underscored the need for collaborative efforts to combat this burgeoning illicit trade and safeguard intellectual property rights

According to the findings presented at the conference, criminal organisations have shifted their focus from conventional illicit activities to intellectual property infringement due to its lucrative nature and lower risk of detection. The profitability of IP crimes, coupled with advancements in technology, has facilitated the proliferation of counterfeit goods, digital piracy, and other forms of intellectual property theft on a global scale.

Counterfeit products, including fake luxury goods, electronics, pharmaceuticals and automotive parts, flood the market, deceiving consumers and undermining the reputation of legitimate brands. Digital piracy, encompassing the unauthorised distribution of copyrighted content such as movies, music, software and video games, continues to thrive in the online domain, depriving creators of their rightful earnings.

The financial ramifications of intellectual property crime extend beyond lost revenues for businesses. It erodes consumer trust, compromises product safety and quality standards and poses significant risks to public health and safety. Moreover, intellectual property theft stifles innovation and creativity, discouraging investment in research and development and impeding economic growth.

To address the growing threat of intellectual property crime, experts emphasise the importance of robust enforcement mechanisms, stringent penalties for offenders and enhanced cooperation among law enforcement agencies, governments and industry stakeholders. Proactive measures such as increased surveillance, intelligence sharing, and public awareness campaigns are crucial in combating IP infringement and protecting intellectual property rights.

Furthermore, the conference highlighted the role of technology in both facilitating intellectual property crime and enhancing enforcement efforts. Leveraging technological tools such as artificial intelligence, blockchain and digital forensics can aid in detecting and preventing IP violations, tracking illicit activities, and prosecuting perpetrators more effectively.

In conclusion, the revelation that intellectual property crime has surpassed the drug trade in terms of profitability underscores the urgent need for concerted action to combat this evolving threat. By strengthening enforcement mechanisms, fostering collaboration, and leveraging technology, stakeholders can mitigate the impact of IP crime and safeguard the integrity of global markets.

As the battle against intellectual property crime intensifies, vigilance, innovation, and cooperation remain paramount in preserving the integrity of intellectual property rights and promoting a culture of respect for creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurship.

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UAE removed from Financial Action Task Force 'Grey List'

The UAE has been officially removed from the Financial Action Task Force's (FATF) ‘grey list’. The Paris-based watchdog’s decision comes as a testament to the nation's unwavering commitment to combatting money laundering and terrorism financing.

The UAE's journey towards this achievement has been marked by rigorous reforms and comprehensive reviews. Placed on the FATF's heightened monitoring list in 2022, the country embarked on a transformative path to address key concerns outlined by the FATF.

Following a thorough on-the-ground evaluation, the FATF recognised the UAE's substantial progress, leading to its removal from the grey list. This development places the UAE among esteemed company, alongside other jurisdictions such as Barbados, Gibraltar, and Uganda, which have also demonstrated commendable strides in enhancing their anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing frameworks.

The decision elicited praise from key figures within the UAE government, including Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Chairman of the Higher Committee Overseeing the National Strategy on Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism. Sheikh Abdullah attributed this success to the concerted efforts of various ministries, the federal government, and local entities, highlighting the collective commitment to upholding global standards and fortifying the UAE's position as a leading economic and investment hub.

Abdulla bin Touq, Minister of Economy, echoed these sentiments, emphasising the pivotal role of a robust national system in bolstering the UAE's stature as a global trade and investment destination.

Beyond governmental accolades, the announcement garnered widespread acclaim from entities such as the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development and Abu Dhabi Global Market, underscoring the broader recognition of the UAE's achievements in bolstering financial integrity and transparency.

The FATF's acknowledgment of the UAE's progress underscores the nation's steadfast resolve to adhere to international standards and collaborate closely with regulatory bodies. Moving forward, the UAE remains committed to sustaining its momentum, further strengthening its anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing regimes, and fostering greater international cooperation in the global fight against financial crime.

This landmark achievement not only reflects the UAE's dedication to fostering a secure and transparent financial environment but also positions the nation as a beacon of excellence in the global effort to safeguard financial systems against illicit activities.

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Can't Afford Your Flat? Don't Sweat! Some UAE Banks Offer to Pay Rent in Advance

Rental expenses constitute a significant portion of the monthly outlay of most residents in the UAE, often ranking as the primary expenditure in their budgets, whether monthly or annually.

Over the past three years, rental prices in the UAE have steadily increased, driven by a substantial influx of foreign workers and the robust expansion of the economy. According to reports, in the final quarter of 2023, average apartment rents in Abu Dhabi saw a 2.0 per cent year-on-year rise, while villa rents increased by 0.8 per cent per cent. Similar upward trends were observed in Dubai and the Northern Emirates during 2023.

Dubai alone recorded 205,346 new rental contracts and 293,624 renewals, indicating the enduring demand in the rental market. Projections indicate that rental rates will continue to climb in 2024, albeit at a slightly slower pace.

To address the challenges posed by escalating rents, several local banks offer a 'rent in advance’ service to alleviate the financial strain on their customers.

Which are the Banks Offering this Facility?

Dubai Islamic Bank: The largest Shariah-compliant lender in the UAE, offering the 'rent in advance’ facility through Al Islamic Finance.

HSBC Bank: Provides customers with the option to pay rent in advance through a ‘Rent Loan,’ with an annual percentage rate starting from 7.24%. This rate is available to Premier customers employed by an HSBC-listed company, who transfer their salaries to HSBC.

Ajman Bank: Offers rent payment through its Shariah-compliant personal finance scheme, ‘Service Ijarah,’ allowing customers to use the service for a predetermined period in exchange for agreed-upon rent.

First Abu Dhabi Bank:Allows tenants to manage rent payments with the bank’s credit card, offering interest-free easy payment options for rent and property fees.

Al Hilal Bank: Assists tenants facing financial difficulties with rent payment through the ‘Rent Finance’ scheme, offering payment tenure of up to one year with competitive rates. Requirements include a minimum salary of Dh5,000, a valid passport and visa, and a six-month bank statement, among others.

For any enquiries or information, contact ask@tlr.ae or call us on +971 52 644 3004Follow The Law Reporters on WhatsApp Channels.

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UAE’s Affluent Business Owners on Global Expansion Spree

According to a recent survey conducted by HSBC, multimillionaire business owners in the UAE are planning to expand internationally over the next few years and are increasingly looking at Europe, Asia and the Americas for growth.

HSBC's Global Entrepreneurial Wealth Report 2023 found that 55 per cent of them are considering Europe, while 42 per cent have their sights set on the Middle East and 23 per cent are intrigued by opportunities in Asia.

The survey, which gathered responses from close to 1,000 entrepreneurs across nine markets including the UAE, US, UK, India, Hong Kong and mainland China, highlights that UAE entrepreneurs, possessing fortunes of at least $2 million, have a penchant for expanding abroad due to factors such as access to direct investments, real estate prospects and operational efficiencies.

Richard Van Der Meer, Head of Commercial Banking, UAE, HSBC Middle East, remarked: "Corporates and family conglomerates in the UAE are increasingly expanding internationally. They often start by expanding within the region, with Saudi Arabia being a key growth market, but are now also looking towards Asia, Europe, and the Americas."

Farzad Billimoria, Head of Global Private Banking, UAE, HSBC Middle East, emphasized: "It is no surprise that entrepreneurs and family business owners based in the UAE have a global outlook. The country’s strategic location, pro-entrepreneurial policies, advanced infrastructure, and market access encourage global outreach and expansion."

While the desire to expand globally is apparent, a significant portion of UAE's affluent business owners (56 per cent) are also inclined towards philanthropic endeavours or sustainable investing. However, it is noted that almost one-third of them have not yet broached the topic of succession planning with their families, with a small fraction (13 per cent) indicating no intention of initiating such discussions.

For any enquiries or information, contact ask@tlr.ae or call us on +971 52 644 3004Follow The Law Reporters on WhatsApp Channels.

 

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UAE Defers Law Regulating Heavy Vehicle Dimensions

The UAE Cabinet has postponed the enactment of regulations governing the sizes and weights of heavy vehicles in the nation.

The Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure has been tasked with conducting a thorough study on the rationale behind the decision, while the Ministry of Economy has been directed to collaborate with all economic stakeholders to prevent any unwarranted escalation in prices.

Earlier this year, limits on the maximum weight and dimensions of heavy vehicles traveling on federal roads had been introduced, with violators facing fines of up to Dh15,000.
In September 2023, the Cabinet had sanctioned a federal law to regulate the weights and dimensions of heavy vehicles, including a provision barring heavy vehicles exceeding a maximum total weight of 65 tonnes from using the roads.

Cabinet Resolution No. 138 of 2023 was issued to enforce Federal Decree No. 12 of 2023.
Initially planned for implementation in the first quarter of 2024, the resolution would be enacted following the installation of 24 smart electronic gates in coordination with relevant authorities, as disclosed by Suhail Mohamed Al Mazrouei, Minister of Energy and Infrastructure, during a press conference in Abu Dhabi on September 13, 2023.

The resolution forms part of the UAE's ongoing initiatives to bolster road safety, reduce traffic accidents, and support the infrastructure and transport sectors, thereby extending the road service life and diminishing the carbon footprint of land transport.

Last year, it was reported that the resolution's provisions apply to heavy vehicles utilising UAE roads, including those licensed from other countries and permitted entry into the UAE, except vehicles owned by security, military, police, and civil defense authorities.

In the latest announcement on Sunday, the commencement date of the resolution's implementation was not specified.

As per earlier reports, under the resolution, the maximum permissible gross weights for heavy vehicles vary based on the number of axles. Vehicles with two axles must not exceed a gross weight of 21 tonnes, while those with three axles, four axles, five axles, and six axles must adhere to maximum weights of 34 tonnes, 45 tonnes, 56 tonnes, and 65 tonnes respectively.

Regarding violations and fines, the resolution stipulates fines ranging from Dh400 to Dh600 per tonne for exceeding the maximum gross weight, with penalties escalating for higher deviations. The resolution also clarifies the imposition of fines, impounding penalties, and conditions for release of impounded vehicles.

For any enquiries or information, contact ask@tlr.ae or call us on +971 52 644 3004Follow The Law Reporters on WhatsApp Channels.

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