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How to hire employees under Dubai mainland license

There are two main jurisdictions under which a company can operate in Dubai: the mainland, and the various free economic zones. There are many benefits to opening a business in mainland Dubai, and to do so you must first apply for a license with the Dubai Department of Economic Development (DED). Before you can start taking advantage of the opportunities mainland Dubai has to offer, it is important to familiarise yourself with key regulations before you set up your company.

Here we focus on the steps a business owner needs to take to hire employees under a mainland license. The government has established certain protections for businesses and employees operating in mainland Dubai, including the UAE’s labour laws, which have been put in place to establish a comprehensive framework for employment within the country.

Pay: As a business owner, you are required by law to pay your employees on time. In order to hire staff, your company will join the Wages Protection System (WPS), designed by the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation. This involves creating a WPS account with the Ministry to manage, document, and complete your payroll on time.

9-5: In the private sector labour regulations stipulate an eight-hour work day, no more than six days of the week, and not to exceed 48 hours over a work week. If traditional working hours don’t suit your business operations you can speak to business consultants in Dubai to learn about more flexible options. And remember: during Ramadan the workday must be reduced by two hours for all employees.



Hiring UAE nationals.

When hiring UAE citizens, a business must abide by additional regulations, which include:

  • If the UAE national you are hiring was previously unemployed, you’re required to notify the Ministry of this, in writing, within 15 days of hiring.
  • UAE nationals are entitled to 30 days prior notice of termination.

There are further regulations for UAE nationals who are performing their national service.

Hiring foreign nationals

When hiring foreign nationals, a business must ensure that:

  • Prospective staff posses valid work permits, issued by the Ministry.
  • The employment offer letter is submitted to the Ministry and includes both parties’ signatures, after which the employee’s permit application can begin.
  • The number of foreign national staff has been approved by the Ministry. Determining factors include the kind of company, its location, and the nature of operations.

Thinking about setting up a business in mainland Dubai? Our experts at Decisive Zone can help. Contact us now to book an appointment.

About the author:
Jovana Petrovic | Marketing Manager

Jovana Petrovic | Marketing Manager

Jovana is the energy kick of the team, leading the marketing team with creativity and unique drive. She re-imagines the ordinary and transforms them into new ways of reaching audiences.
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