ADGM Hiring Decoded

Your Roadmap to Seamless Recruitment and Compliance with Employment Regulations

Please verify with ADGM directly for the latest updates and policy changes.

ADGM Hiring Decoded

ADGM is an award-winning international financial center that offers a world-class ecosystem for business growth. We're here to support you with hiring, onboarding, and managing your workforce. This guide will provide insights into ADGM's operating rules and processes.

In this article

Pre-requisites to hire in ADGM

This section includes details about Registering a business, Company types, and the Company Establishment Card employees

Steps to hire in the ADGM

This section outlines the general steps to hire employees

Termination of employment

This section includes Notice periods, End of service gratuity, and Canceling work permit & residency visa

Contracts

This section includes Types of contracts, Taxes, Exclusivity, and NDA

Payroll

This section outlines the Payroll Structure, Currency, Wages Protection Scheme, Payroll Cycles, and Working Hours

Benefits

This section includes Health Insurance, Pension, Worker's Compensation and Allowances

Leave

This section provides details on Annual Leave, Maternity & Paternity leave, Sick leave

Visas

This section includes Different visa types, Steps to cancel, apply & renew visas, and Golden Visa

Work Permits

Information on Work Permits and temporary work permits (secondee)

Pre-requisites
Hiring
Termination
Contracts
Payroll
Benefits
Leave
Visas
Permits
Pre-requisites
Hiring
Termination
Contracts
Payroll
Benefits
Leave
Visas
Permits

Pre-requisites to hire in ADGM

Pre-requisites to hire in ADGM

ADGM Free Zone stands for Abu Dhabi Global Market Free Zone. The prerequisites to hire in ADGM Free Zone may vary depending on the specific business activity, legal entity structure, and employment laws and regulations of the UAE. However, some general prerequisites to hire in ADGM Free Zone may include:

Obtaining a business license

To hire employees in ADGM Free Zone, you must first obtain a business license and register with the relevant authorities in ADGM Free Zone, such as the Abu Dhabi Global Market Registration Authority (ADGM RA). The timeline for obtaining a business license can vary depending on the type of business activity and the completeness of the required documentation. It usually takes around two weeks to obtain a business license in ADGM Free Zone if the correct information is submitted.

Obtaining an establishment card

An establishment card is a mandatory requirement for all businesses operating in the UAE, including those in ADGM Free Zone. You must obtain an establishment card from the ADGM RA before you can start hiring employees and issue employment visas or work permits. The timeline for obtaining an establishment card can vary depending on the completeness of the required documentation. It usually takes around one to two weeks to obtain an establishment card in ADGM Free Zone.

Feel free to check the Abu Dhabi Government Services Fee Schedule in the Important Pages section to learn more about the different charges for government services.

Obtaining a residency visa

To employ foreign nationals in ADGM Free Zone, you must obtain a residency visa for them. This requires obtaining a work permit and fulfilling the relevant immigration requirements. The timeline for obtaining a residency visa can vary depending on the completeness of the required documentation and the processing time of the immigration authorities.

Setting up a payroll system

You must set up a payroll system to ensure you can pay your employees their salaries and other benefits on time and in compliance with the relevant laws and regulations. The timeline for setting up a payroll system can vary depending on the complexity of the system and the availability of payroll service providers.

Hiring employees

Once you have completed the above steps, you can hire employees for your business in ADGM Free Zone. The timeline for hiring employees can vary depending on the availability of qualified candidates and the complexity of the recruitment process. The UAE is home to a multitude of talent from rich backgrounds, with a direct step-by-step process to sponsor and onboard employees.

Company Type

The following company types can hire employees in ADGM Free Zone:

Limited Liability Company (LLC): This is a legal entity structure where the liability of the company's shareholders is limited to the amount of their share capital. LLCs can be 100% foreign-owned and require a minimum of two shareholders.

Branch Office: A branch office is an extension of a foreign company's parent entity and allows the parent company to establish a presence in the ADGM Free Zone. Branch offices in the ADGM can hire employees under the ADGM visa quota.

Branch Office: A branch office is an extension of a foreign company's parent entity and allows the parent company to establish a presence in the ADGM Free Zone. Branch offices in the ADGM can hire employees under the ADGM visa quota.

Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV): An SPV is a legal entity structure that is created for a specific purpose or project, such as real estate development or infrastructure projects. SPVs can hire employees in ADGM Free Zone.

Steps to hire in the ADGM

Steps to hire in the ADGM

This section outlines the general steps to hire employees.

Hiring in the ADGM-free zone involves several steps and can vary depending on the specific requirements of the company and the position being filled.

Here is a general timeline and steps to follow:

1. Apply for a Commercial License:
The first step is to register the company and obtain the commercial license. Post that, the company will have to set up a physical office within the ADGM free zone, appoint directors and shareholders for the company, and open a bank account for the company.


2. Issue an Offer Letter:
Once you have found the candidate you wish to hire in the ADGM, you can make them a formal offer. The offer letter should specify the terms and conditions of their employment.


3. Apply for a Visa
Once the offer letter is accepted by the candidate, the company can start the application process for sponsoring the employee. The company will have to apply for a residence visa & Emirates ID for the employee which is valid for 1 to 2 years. The company will have to pay the different fees associated with the sponsorship process. This process can take anywhere between 5 to 10 business days.
You can refer to the Fee Schedule to learn the different prices for government services.


4. Draft Employee Contract(s)
After the visa is approved, the company must draft an employment contract for the employee. This should include all relevant information such as salary, benefits, job duties, and any other necessary details.


5. Submit Documents
The next step is for the company to submit all required documents to the ADGM authorities for review. This can take up to 2 business days.


6. Collect Visa and Emirates ID
Once the visa is approved, the employee will receive their visa online. Previously it used to be stamped on the passport, but now it is available digitally. The employee will also have to submit their biometrics if this is the first time they are applying for an Emirates ID card. Once the Emirates ID is ready, a notification of the post office location from where the ID can be collected will be sent.


7. Register for Social Security
If the candidate hired is a UAE or GCC National, the employer will need to register them for social insurance with the Abu Dhabi Retirement Pensions and Benefits Fund (ADRPBF) to comply with UAE labor laws.

Termination of employment

Termination of employment

This section includes notice periods, end of service gratuity, and canceling work permits & residency visas. Terminating an employee in the ADGM free zone must be done in accordance with UAE labor laws and the terms and conditions of the employment contract.

Here are the general steps for terminating someone working in ADGM:

Review the Employment Contract

The first step is to review the employment contract to understand the terms and conditions of employment, including the notice period, the grounds for termination, and the compensation payable upon termination.

Provide Notice of Termination

If the employment contract specifies a notice period for termination, you must provide written notice to the employee, stating the reason for termination and the date on which the employment will end. The notice period can range from one month to three months, depending on the length of service of the employee and the terms of the contract.

Conduct a Termination Meeting

Arrange a meeting with the employee to discuss the reasons for termination, the notice period, and any other relevant issues, such as outstanding pay or benefits.

Process Final Payments and Benefits

Before the employment ends, you must process final payments and benefits, including any outstanding salary, accrued leave, and end-of-service gratuity (ESG) payable under UAE labor law. The ESG is calculated based on the length of service and the employee's final basic salary.

Calculating End of Service Gratuity (ESG)

  • For the first 5 years of service, 21 days of basic wage for each year is considered.
  • Beyond 5 years, 30 days of basic wage is considered for every additional year.

Cancel Work Permit and Residency Visa

If the employee is a non-UAE national, you must cancel their work permit and residency visa with the ADGM registration authority and the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) in Abu Dhabi. Please ensure you cancel the dependents on the visa first and then the employee.

Issue a Service Certificate

Issue a service certificate to the employee, which confirms their period of employment, job title, and duties. This can be used as a reference for future employment.It is important to follow the proper procedures for terminating an employee to avoid any legal disputes or penalties. Seek legal advice or consult with the ADGM registration authority for specific requirements and regulations for termination in ADGM.

Types of contracts

Termination of employment

This section includes notice periods, end of service gratuity, and canceling work permits & residency visas. Terminating an employee in the ADGM free zone must be done in accordance with UAE labor laws and the terms and conditions of the employment contract.

Here are the general steps for terminating someone working in ADGM:

Types and Templates

Employers in ADGM free zone can offer different types of employment contracts depending on their business needs and the nature of the job. Here are the most common types of employment contracts offered in ADGM:

Limited-Term Contract: This type of contract is for a fixed term, which can range from a few months to a maximum of four years. The contract specifies the start and end dates of employment, and the terms and conditions of employment, such as salary, benefits, and leave entitlements.

Unlimited-Term Contract: An unlimited-term contract has no fixed end date and continues until the employer or employee terminates the contract. This type of contract is suitable for permanent positions or long-term employment.

Part-Time Contract: This type of contract is for employees who work less than the standard full-time working hours. The terms and conditions of employment, such as salary, benefits, and leave entitlements, are prorated based on the hours worked.

Project-Based Contract: This type of contract is for employees who are hired for a specific project or a defined period of time. The contract specifies the project scope, duration, and deliverables, and the terms and conditions of employment, such as salary, benefits, and leave entitlements.

Freelance Contract: A freelance contract is for individuals who work on a self-employed basis and provide services to the employer on a project or assignment basis. The contract specifies the scope of work, fees, and other terms and conditions of engagement.

Taxes

The ADGM free zone does not impose corporate or personal income tax on its registered companies or individuals. This means that companies and employees operating within the ADGM free zone are exempted from paying income tax on their earnings. This tax exemption is one of the main incentives that attract businesses to set up in ADGM.

However, it is important to note that taxes may be applicable in other jurisdictions outside of ADGM. For instance, if a company registered in ADGM has operations outside of the free zone, it may be subject to taxes in the jurisdiction where it is conducting business. Similarly, employees who are tax residents of other countries may be subject to taxes on their earnings in those jurisdictions.

Exclusivity

Exclusivity clauses in employment contracts are common in the ADGM free zone. An exclusivity clause is a provision in an employment contract that prohibits an employee from working for a competitor or starting a competing business during the term of the contract and for a certain period of time after the employment ends.

Employers in ADGM may include exclusivity clauses in their employment contracts to protect their business interests, trade secrets, and confidential information. Exclusivity clauses can help to prevent employees from sharing sensitive information with competitors or using the employer's resources to start a competing business.

However, it is important for employers to ensure that the exclusivity clauses are reasonable and proportionate to the business needs. An overly broad or restrictive exclusivity clause may be deemed as a restraint of trade and may be unenforceable. In addition, exclusivity clauses should be clearly defined and communicated to the employee before the contract is signed. Employees should carefully review the exclusivity clauses in their employment contracts and seek legal advice if they have concerns. They should also ensure that they understand the scope and duration of the exclusivity clause and its potential impact on their future employment opportunities.

Non-Disclosure Agreements

Non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) are common in the ADGM free zone contracts. NDAs are contractual agreements between two or more parties that aim to protect confidential information from being disclosed to third parties.

NDAs can help businesses to safeguard their intellectual property, trade secrets, and confidential information from being misused, stolen or shared with unauthorized parties. Employers in ADGM may require their employees to sign NDAs as a condition of employment, especially when handling sensitive information or working on projects that involve proprietary technology, confidential data or valuable trade secrets. The NDA may include provisions that prohibit the employee from sharing, using or disclosing confidential information during and after the term of employment.

It is important for employers to ensure that the NDA is clearly defined, specific, and reasonable. Employers should also ensure that the NDA is communicated to the employee before they sign the contract and that the employee understands the scope and implications of the agreement. Employers should also ensure that the NDA complies with the UAE labor laws and the ADGM regulations.

How to manage payroll in ADGM?

How to manage payroll in ADGM?

This section outlines the Payroll Structure, Currency, Wages Protection Scheme, Payroll Cycles, and Working Hours.

There are a number of different regulations that govern the payroll process in the ADGM. It is important to check that you comply with all of the necessary requirements — or use a solution that helps you to do so.

Here is a general overview:

Structure of Payroll in the ADGM

The structure of payroll in the ADGM free zone may vary depending on the specific company and its policies. However, in general, the following components may be included in the payroll structure:

  • Basic salary: This is the amount paid to an employee for their regular working hours.
  • Allowances: This may include housing, transportation, or other allowances, which are paid in addition to the basic salary.
  • Overtime pay: If an employee works beyond their regular working hours, they may be eligible for overtime pay.
  • Bonuses: This may include performance-based bonuses or other types of bonuses, which are paid to employees as a reward for their work.
  • Deductions: This may include taxes, social security contributions, or other deductions required by law.

Currency

The ADGM free zone is located in the United Arab Emirates, and the official currency of the UAE is the UAE dirham (AED). Therefore, employees working in the ADGM free zone are typically paid in UAE dirhams.

The UAE Labor Law requires that employees be paid in the local currency, unless otherwise agreed by the employer and employee in writing. Employers in the ADGM free zone should ensure that they comply with this requirement and provide employees with their salary in AED, unless a different currency has been agreed upon in writing.

It is also worth noting that there are no restrictions on the amount of foreign currency that can be transferred out of the UAE. However, employers should ensure that they comply with any relevant tax or foreign exchange regulations when paying employees in a foreign currency.

Wages Protection Scheme (WPS)

The Wages Protection System (WPS) is a system introduced by the UAE Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MOHRE) to ensure that employees in the private sector are paid their salaries on time and in full.

In the event that an employer fails to pay an employee's salary on time or in full, the employee can file a complaint with the MOHRE, which will then investigate the matter and take appropriate action to ensure that the employee receives their salary. Currently, companies registered in Mainland, JAFZA (Jebel Ali Free Zone) & DMCC free zone are required to follow the WPS protocol.

Cycles

The payroll cycles in the ADGM free zone are determined by the employer and can vary depending on the company's policies and the terms of the employment contract. Typically, employers in the ADGM free zone pay their employees on a monthly basis, although some may choose to pay their employees on a bi-weekly or semi-monthly basis.

The UAE Labor Law requires that all employees be paid at least once per month, and the payment must include the employee's basic salary plus any allowances or other entitlements. Employers must also provide employees with a detailed pay statement that shows the amount of salary paid and any deductions made. It is important for employers in the ADGM free zone to ensure that they comply with the UAE Labor Law and any other relevant regulations when determining their payroll cycles and making salary payments to their employees. This includes ensuring that employees are paid on time and in full and that they receive a detailed pay statement that accurately reflects their salary and entitlements.

Working Hours

The working hours in the ADGM free zone are generally set by the employer and may vary depending on the company's policies and the terms of the employment contract. However, the UAE Labor Law sets a maximum limit of 48 hours of work per week, or 8 hours per day for a period of 6 days per week.

Employers in the ADGM free zone must ensure that they comply with the UAE Labor Law when setting working hours for their employees. This includes providing employees with at least one day off per week, and ensuring that any overtime work is compensated in accordance with the law.

It is also worth noting that during the holy month of Ramadan, working hours for Muslim employees who observe the fast are reduced by two hours per day.

Employee benefits in ADGM

How to manage payroll in ADGM?

This section includes Health Insurance, Pension, Worker's Compensation and AllowancesEmployers in the ADGM free zone are required to comply with the UAE labor laws and regulations. This includes providing their employees with a minimum set of benefits that are outlined by the UAE labor law. Additionally, employers may offer additional benefits to attract and retain talented employees.

Here’s an overview of the benefits in the ADGM:

The minimum benefits required by UAE labor law include:

Health insurance: Employers are required to provide their employees with health insurance coverage, which should meet the minimum requirements set by the Dubai Health Authority.

End of service gratuity: Employees who complete one year of continuous service with their employer are entitled to a gratuity payment upon termination of employment. The amount of the gratuity is calculated based on the employee's length of service and final salary.

Employers may also offer additional benefits to their employees. These may include:

Retirement benefits: Employers may offer retirement plans, such as a pension scheme or a provident fund, to their employees.

Education assistance: Employers may offer education assistance to employees who are pursuing further education or training.

Employee discounts: Employers may offer discounts on their products or services to their employees.

Wellness programs: Employers may offer wellness programs, such as gym memberships or health coaching, to promote employee health and well-being.

Flights back home: There is no legal obligation to provide employees with an annual flight to their home country, however, it is common market practice to do so.

Pensions for GCC Nationals

GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) nationals working in the ADGM free zone are entitled to pension benefits, subject to certain conditions. The pension system in the UAE is regulated by the General Pension and Social Security Authority (GPSSA), which is responsible for managing pension contributions and payments.

Under the GPSSA regulations, employers are required to contribute a certain percentage of their GCC national employees' salaries to the pension system. The percentage varies based on the employee's age and length of service, but it generally ranges from 5% to 18% of the employee's basic salary. The employer is responsible for deducting the employee's portion of the contribution from their salary and adding it to the employer's contribution.

Employees who are GCC nationals and are enrolled in the GPSSA pension system are entitled to pension benefits upon reaching retirement age, which is currently set at 60 years. The pension benefit is calculated based on the employee's length of service and the average of their final three years of salary. The minimum pension benefit is 60% of the average of the final three years of salary.

Workers’ Compensation

Workers' compensation is a form of insurance that provides benefits to employees who are injured or become ill as a result of their work. In the ADGM free zone, workers' compensation is mandatory for all employers, and it is regulated by the ADGM Courts and the Abu Dhabi Judicial Department.

Under the ADGM regulations, employers are required to provide workers' compensation coverage for their employees. This coverage provides benefits for medical expenses, disability, and death benefits for employees who are injured or become ill as a result of their work. The benefits provided under the workers' compensation coverage can vary depending on the severity of the injury or illness, but they generally cover medical expenses and a portion of the employee's lost wages.

Employers in the ADGM free zone are required to purchase workers' compensation insurance from an insurance provider that is authorized by the ADGM Courts. The insurance provider will determine the premium rate based on the employer's industry, the number of employees, and the type of work being performed. Employers must provide proof of workers' compensation coverage to their employees.

Allowances

In an ADGM free zone contract, employers can provide different types of allowances to their employees in addition to their base salary. These allowances can be given to compensate employees for certain expenses, to incentivize performance, or to attract and retain talent. Here are some common types of allowances that can be offered:

Housing Allowance: This allowance is provided to help employees cover the cost of their housing expenses. Employers can provide a fixed amount or a percentage of the employee's base salary as a housing allowance.

Transportation Allowance: This allowance is provided to help employees cover the cost of their transportation expenses, such as fuel, public transportation fees, or car maintenance. Employers can provide a fixed amount or a percentage of the employee's base salary as a transportation allowance.

Education Allowance: This allowance is provided to help employees cover the cost of their children's education. Employers can provide a fixed amount or a percentage of the employee's base salary as an education allowance.

Medical Allowance: This allowance is provided to help employees cover the cost of their medical expenses. Employers can provide a fixed amount or a percentage of the employee's base salary as a medical allowance.

Performance Bonus: This allowance is given to employees as a reward for achieving certain performance goals or targets. Employers can set specific criteria for earning the bonus and determine the amount of the bonus based on the employee's performance.

Leave

Leave

This section provides details on Annual Leave, Maternity & Paternity leave, Sick leave.

Employers in the ADGM free zone are required to comply with the UAE labor laws and regulations regarding leave entitlements for their employees.

Below are the types of leave that are typically offered to employees in the ADGM free zone:

Annual Leave: Employees are entitled to a certain number of days of paid annual leave, based on their length of service. In the UAE, the minimum annual leave entitlement is 20 days per year for employees who have completed at least 90 days of employment service.

Maternity Leave: Female employees are entitled to 65 days of paid maternity leave, as per the UAE labor laws. This leave can be taken before or after the delivery of the baby, as per the employee's preference. The company will pay the normal wage for the first 33 days and half of that for the next 32 days. If any public holiday falls within the maternity leave, the employee shall be able to extend the maternity leave to include the public holidays.

Paternity Leave: Male employees are entitled to a minimum of five days of paid paternity leave. This leave can be taken within two months of the birth of the child.

Sick Leave: Employees are entitled to a maximum of 60 days of sick leave per year, with full pay for the first 10 days, half pay for the next 20 days, and without pay for the remaining 30 days. If the employee takes more than 60 days of sick leave, then the employee may be terminated by the employer with written notice.

Other Leave: Employers may offer other types of leave, such as compassionate leave, study leave, or unpaid leave, based on their policies and the employee's situation.

Special Leave: Muslim employees have the option to avail of special leave (not more than 30 days) to perform the Haj pilgrimage once during their employment if they have completed 1 year of service.

Public Holidays: Employees are entitled to the public holidays declared by the UAE government. If the employer requests an employee to work, then the employee may be compensated with either another day off or a payment for the day worked.

Visa details

Visa details

This section includes Different visa types, Steps to cancel, apply & renew visas, and Golden Visa

Visa Types

In an ADGM free zone contract, employers may sponsor employees for a work visa to legally work and reside in the United Arab Emirates. There are several visa types that are available for employees in the ADGM free zone, including:

  • Employment Visa: This is a visa that is issued to foreign nationals who have been sponsored by an employer to work in the UAE. The employment visa is usually valid for three years and can be renewed.
  • Investor Visa: This visa is available for foreign investors who have established a business in the UAE. The investor visa is usually valid for three years and can be renewed.
  • Partner Visa: This visa is available for the partners or shareholders of a company that is established in the UAE. The partner visa is usually valid for three years and can be renewed.
  • Dependent Visa: This visa is available for the family members of an employee who holds a valid employment visa. The dependent visa is usually valid for three years and can be renewed.
  • Visit Visa: This is a short-term visa that is issued to foreign nationals who wish to visit the UAE for tourism, business, or other purposes. The visit visa is usually valid for 30 days and can be extended for an additional 30 days.

How to Cancel a Visa

To cancel a visa under an ADGM free zone contract, the employer needs to follow the visa cancellation procedures as outlined by the UAE authorities. Here are the general steps to cancel a visa:

1. Notify the Employee
The employer should inform the employee that their visa will be canceled and provide them with a notice period as required by the employment contract or UAE labor laws.


2. Submit Documents
The employer needs to submit the necessary documents to the UAE authorities to cancel the employee's visa. The required documents may include a cancellation request form, the employee's passport, and the employee's Emirates ID card.


3. Obtain Approval
The UAE authorities will review the visa cancellation request and may require additional documents or information. Once the request is approved, the authorities will cancel the visa and notify the employer.


4. Inform the Employee
The employer should inform the employee that their visa has been canceled and provide them with the necessary paperwork, such as an exit permit, to leave the country.


5. Exit the Country
The employee must leave the UAE within the specified time frame as per the visa cancellation process. Failure to leave the country can result in penalties or legal issues.

Apply for a Visa

As the ADGM free zone is a financial free zone, the visa application process for the ADGM free zone is managed by the UAE authorities, specifically the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA).

Here are the general steps for applying for a visa in the ADGM free zone:

1. Identify the Visa Type
Determine the type of visa you need based on your purpose of travel, such as employment, business, or tourism.


2. Submit the Application
Submit the visa application through the relevant channels, such as a travel agency, sponsor, or through the UAE's e-Visa system. The application should include all required documents and information, such as a passport copy, visa application form, and any supporting documents.


3. Pay the Visa Fee
Pay the visa fee, which varies depending on the type of visa and processing time.


4. Wait for Processing
Wait for the visa to be processed by the UAE authorities. The processing time varies depending on the type of visa and other factors such as the applicant's nationality.


5. Collect the Visa
Once the visa is approved, collect the visa from the relevant authority or through the e-Visa system. Ensure that all details on the visa are accurate and that it is valid for the intended period of stay.

Renew Visa

The process for renewing a visa in the ADGM free zone is similar to the process for applying for a new visa. Here are the general steps to renew a visa in the ADGM free zone:

Determine Eligibility: Check if you are eligible to renew your visa. This may depend on various factors such as the type of visa, the length of your stay, and any applicable rules and regulations.

Submit the Application: Submit the visa renewal application through the relevant channels, such as a travel agency, sponsor, or through the UAE's e-Visa system. The application should include all required documents and information, such as a passport copy, visa renewal form, and any supporting documents.

Pay the Visa Renewal Fee: Pay the visa renewal fee, which varies depending on the type of visa and processing time.

Wait for Processing: Wait for the visa renewal to be processed by the UAE authorities. The processing time varies depending on the type of visa and other factors such as the applicant's nationality.

Collect the Renewed Visa: Once the visa renewal is approved, collect the renewed visa from the relevant authority or through the e-Visa system. Ensure that all details on the visa are accurate and that it is valid for the intended period of stay.

1. Determine Eligibility
Check if you are eligible to renew your visa. This may depend on various factors such as the type of visa, the length of your stay, and any applicable rules and regulations.


2. Submit the Application
Submit the visa renewal application through the relevant channels, such as a travel agency, sponsor, or through the UAE's e-Visa system. The application should include all required documents and information, such as a passport copy, visa renewal form, and any supporting documents.


3. Pay the Visa Renewal Fee
Pay the visa renewal fee, which varies depending on the type of visa and processing time.


4. Wait for Processing
Wait for the visa renewal to be processed by the UAE authorities. The processing time varies depending on the type of visa and other factors such as the applicant's nationality.


5. Collect the Renewed Visa
Once the visa renewal is approved, collect the renewed visa from the relevant authority or through the e-Visa system. Ensure that all details on the visa are accurate and that it is valid for the intended period of stay.

Golden Visa

The ADGM free zone Golden Visa is a type of long-term residence visa that is granted to eligible individuals who meet certain criteria. The Golden Visa program was launched by the UAE government in 2019 to attract and retain talent in the country and promote economic growth.

The ADGM free zone Golden Visa is a 10-year visa that can be renewed indefinitely, and it allows holders to live, work, and study in the UAE without the need for a national sponsor. It also provides various benefits, such as the ability to sponsor family members and the option to purchase property in the UAE.

To be eligible for the ADGM free zone Golden Visa, individuals must meet certain criteria, such as holding a valid passport and meeting certain qualifications, such as having a PhD degree or being a doctor, engineer, or specialist in a particular field. Eligible individuals can apply for the Golden Visa through the relevant authorities, such as the UAE Ministry of Interior or the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA).

You can learn more about the Golden Visa and its requirements here.

Work Permits

Work Permits

Work Permits

In the ADGM free zone, work permits are issued by the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA), which is responsible for regulating the entry and residency of foreigners in the UAE.

To apply for a work permit in the ADGM free zone, the following steps may be taken:

  • Obtain a valid offer of employment from an employer registered in the ADGM free zone.
  • The employer should then apply for a work permit on behalf of the employee. The employer will need to provide certain documents, such as the employee's passport, visa application, and medical fitness certificate.
  • Once the work permit application is approved, the employee can apply for a residence visa through the GDRFA.
  • The employee must then undergo medical tests, such as a tuberculosis screening, and obtain a health insurance policy.
  • After completing these steps, the employee can collect their residence visa and start working in the ADGM free zone.

Secondee

In the ADGM free zone, a secondee work permit is a type of permit that allows foreign employees to work temporarily in the free zone on behalf of their employer, who is registered outside the free zone.

To apply for a secondee work permit in the ADGM free zone, the following steps may be taken:

  1. The secondee employee should obtain a valid offer of employment from their employer, who is registered outside the ADGM free zone.
  2. The employer should then apply for a secondee work permit on behalf of the employee. The employer will need to provide certain documents, such as the employee's passport, visa application, and medical fitness certificate.
  3. The ADGM free zone authorities will review the application and may request additional information or documentation.
  4. Once the secondee work permit is approved, the employee can apply for a residence visa through the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA).
  5. The employee must then undergo medical tests, such as a tuberculosis screening, and obtain a health insurance policy.
  6. After completing these steps, the employee can collect their residence visa and start working in the ADGM free zone.

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Got Questions? Find Answers Here

1. Are there any cultural or language considerations when hiring talent in the UAE?

When hiring talent in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), there are cultural and language considerations to keep in mind. Here are a few important points:

  1. Cultural Diversity: The UAE is a diverse country with a multicultural workforce. It is important to embrace and respect this diversity when hiring talent. Be mindful of cultural differences, customs, and practices. Promote inclusivity and create an inclusive work environment that values diversity.
  2. Language: Arabic is the official language of the UAE, but English is widely spoken and used as a business language, especially in multinational companies and industries with a large expatriate workforce. When hiring talent, it is essential to assess the language proficiency required for the rlie. Bilingual candidates who are fluent in both Arabic and English may be particularly valuable for certain positions.
  3. Islamic Culture: The UAE flilows Islamic traditions and customs. It's important to be aware of and respect Islamic practices and sensitivities. For example, during the hliy month of Ramadan, Muslims fast from dawn to sunset, and it is customary to accommodate their needs and be sensitive to religious observances. Employers should also be mindful of prayer times and provide appropriate facilities for prayer.
  4. Gender Considerations: The UAE is making significant strides towards gender equality in the workplace, with women playing important rlies across various sectors. However, it is important to be aware of any cultural norms or sensitivities related to gender and ensure that equal opportunities and fair treatment are provided to all candidates and employees.
  5. Dress Code: The UAE generally has a conservative dress code, especially in public and formal settings. When hiring talent, it's important to communicate the expected dress code, which may vary depending on the industry or specific workplace requirements.
  6. Professional Etiquette: Professional etiquette in the UAE emphasizes respect, pliiteness, and maintaining harmonious relationships. It is important to be aware of local customs and professional norms, such as greetings, communication styles, and business etiquette.

These considerations can help foster a positive and inclusive work environment and contribute to successful recruitment and employee integration in the UAE. However, it's important to note that cultural norms and practices can vary within the UAE based on factors such as nationality, ethnicity, and personal background. Sensitivity, open-mindedness, and continuous learning are key to effectively navigating cultural considerations when hiring talent in the UAE.

2. Can I engage remote or freelance talent for UAE-based projects?

Yes, it is possible to engage remote or freelance talent for UAE-based projects. Many organizations in the UAE hire remote or freelance workers for various types of projects and tasks. This approach can offer flexibility and access to specialized skills without the need for full-time, in-house employees. When engaging remote or freelance talent for UAE-based projects, here are a few considerations:

  1. Legal and Contractual Matters: Ensure that you have a clear contract in place that outlines the scope of work, deliverables, payment terms, and any other relevant terms and conditions. It is advisable to consult legal experts to ensure compliance with local laws and regulations. Using a solution like RemotePass can help you remove the complexity from this process.
  2. Visa and Work Permit Requirements: Depending on the nature and duration of the engagement, you may need to consider visa and work permit requirements. Remote or freelance workers who are not physically present in the UAE may not need a UAE visa or work permit. However, if they need to enter the country for meetings or work-related activities, appropriate visa arrangements may be necessary.
  3. Tax and Payroll Considerations: Understand the tax implications associated with engaging remote or freelance talent. Depending on the jurisdiction and the duration of the engagement, there may be tax obligations to consider. Consult with tax advisors or local authorities to ensure compliance with tax regulations.
  4. Intellectual Property Protection: When engaging remote or freelance talent, particularly for projects involving intellectual property (IP), ensure that proper agreements are in place to protect your organization's IP rights. It is advisable to consult legal experts to draft appropriate agreements that safeguard your intellectual property.
  5. Communication and Collaboration: Establish clear channels of communication and utilize collaboration tools to facilitate effective remote work. Technology solutions such as video conferencing, project management platforms, and file sharing tools can help bridge the distance and enable smooth collaboration.

It's important to note that regulations and requirements can vary based on the specific circumstances, project type, and the jurisdiction of both the hiring organization and the remote or freelance talent. Consulting with legal, tax, and HR experts familiar with UAE laws and regulations can provide accurate guidance tailored to your situation.

3. What are the common recruitment challenges businesses face in the UAE

Businesses in the UAE may encounter several common recruitment challenges. These challenges can vary depending on factors such as industry, location, and the specific requirements of the organization. Here are some common recruitment challenges faced by businesses in the UAE:

  1. High Competition for Talent: The UAE attracts a large number of expatriate workers, resulting in a competitive job market. Companies often compete for top talent, especially in industries such as finance, technology, and healthcare. This competition can make it challenging to attract and retain skilled professionals.
  2. Emiratization Initiatives: The UAE government has implemented Emiratization initiatives to increase the participation of Emirati nationals in the workforce. These initiatives may include quotas or preferential treatment for Emirati candidates, which can make it more challenging for businesses to find suitable talent while adhering to Emiratization requirements.
  3. Language and Cultural Diversity: The diverse workforce in the UAE means that businesses need to navigate language and cultural differences when hiring. Finding candidates who are fluent in both Arabic and English can be advantageous, particularly for roles that require interaction with local stakeholders.
  4. Visa and Work Permit Regulations: Hiring expatriate workers in the UAE involves navigating visa and work permit regulations. Ensuring compliance with these regulations, obtaining necessary permits, and managing the associated paperwork can be time-consuming and complex.
  5. Salary and Compensation Expectations: The UAE has a relatively high cost of living, and candidates often have high salary expectations. Balancing competitive compensation packages with budgetary constraints can be a recruitment challenge for businesses.
  6. Retention and Employee Turnover: Retaining talent can be a challenge in a competitive job market. Companies may face employee turnover as employees explore better opportunities or relocate for personal reasons. Organizations need to focus on employee engagement, career development, and creating a positive work environment to improve retention.

To address these challenges, businesses in the UAE can adopt strategies such as strengthening their employer brand, building relationships with educational institutions, implementing effective recruitment and retention strategies, leveraging technology for recruitment processes, and investing in training and development programs.

ADGM Hiring Decoded

Your Roadmap to Seamless Recruitment and Compliance with Employment Regulations

Please verify with ADGM directly for the latest updates and policy changes.

ADGM is an award-winning international financial center that offers a world-class ecosystem for business growth. We're here to support you with hiring, onboarding, and managing your workforce. This guide will provide insights into ADGM's operating rules and processes.

جدول المحتويات

Pre-requisites to hire in ADGM

This section includes details about Registering a business, Company types, and the Company Establishment Card employees

Steps to hire in the ADGM

This section outlines the general steps to hire employees

Termination of employment

This section includes Notice periods, End of service gratuity, and Canceling work permit & residency visa

Contracts

This section includes Types of contracts, Taxes, Exclusivity, and NDA

Payroll

This section outlines the Payroll Structure, Currency, Wages Protection Scheme, Payroll Cycles, and Working Hours

Benefits

This section includes Health Insurance, Pension, Worker's Compensation and Allowances

Leave

This section provides details on Annual Leave, Maternity & Paternity leave, Sick leave

Visas

This section includes Different visa types, Steps to cancel, apply & renew visas, and Golden Visa

Work Permits

Information on Work Permits and temporary work permits (secondee)

المتطلبات
التوظيف
إنهاء العمل
العقود
الرواتب
المزايا
الإجازات
التأشيرات
التصاريح
المتطلبات
التوظيف
إنهاء العمل
العقود
الرواتب
المزايا
الإجازات
التأشيرات
التصاريح

Pre-requisites to hire in ADGM

Pre-requisites to hire in ADGM

ADGM Free Zone stands for Abu Dhabi Global Market Free Zone. The prerequisites to hire in ADGM Free Zone may vary depending on the specific business activity, legal entity structure, and employment laws and regulations of the UAE. However, some general prerequisites to hire in ADGM Free Zone may include:

Obtaining a business license

To hire employees in ADGM Free Zone, you must first obtain a business license and register with the relevant authorities in ADGM Free Zone, such as the Abu Dhabi Global Market Registration Authority (ADGM RA). The timeline for obtaining a business license can vary depending on the type of business activity and the completeness of the required documentation. It usually takes around two weeks to obtain a business license in ADGM Free Zone if the correct information is submitted.

Obtaining an establishment card

An establishment card is a mandatory requirement for all businesses operating in the UAE, including those in ADGM Free Zone. You must obtain an establishment card from the ADGM RA before you can start hiring employees and issue employment visas or work permits. The timeline for obtaining an establishment card can vary depending on the completeness of the required documentation. It usually takes around one to two weeks to obtain an establishment card in ADGM Free Zone.

Feel free to check the Abu Dhabi Government Services Fee Schedule in the Important Pages section to learn more about the different charges for government services.

Obtaining a residency visa

To employ foreign nationals in ADGM Free Zone, you must obtain a residency visa for them. This requires obtaining a work permit and fulfilling the relevant immigration requirements. The timeline for obtaining a residency visa can vary depending on the completeness of the required documentation and the processing time of the immigration authorities.

Setting up a payroll system

You must set up a payroll system to ensure you can pay your employees their salaries and other benefits on time and in compliance with the relevant laws and regulations. The timeline for setting up a payroll system can vary depending on the complexity of the system and the availability of payroll service providers.

Hiring employees

Once you have completed the above steps, you can hire employees for your business in ADGM Free Zone. The timeline for hiring employees can vary depending on the availability of qualified candidates and the complexity of the recruitment process. The UAE is home to a multitude of talent from rich backgrounds, with a direct step-by-step process to sponsor and onboard employees.

Company Type

The following company types can hire employees in ADGM Free Zone:

Limited Liability Company (LLC): This is a legal entity structure where the liability of the company's shareholders is limited to the amount of their share capital. LLCs can be 100% foreign-owned and require a minimum of two shareholders.

Branch Office: A branch office is an extension of a foreign company's parent entity and allows the parent company to establish a presence in the ADGM Free Zone. Branch offices in the ADGM can hire employees under the ADGM visa quota.

Branch Office: A branch office is an extension of a foreign company's parent entity and allows the parent company to establish a presence in the ADGM Free Zone. Branch offices in the ADGM can hire employees under the ADGM visa quota.

Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV): An SPV is a legal entity structure that is created for a specific purpose or project, such as real estate development or infrastructure projects. SPVs can hire employees in ADGM Free Zone.

Steps to hire in the ADGM

Steps to hire in the ADGM

This section outlines the general steps to hire employees.

Hiring in the ADGM-free zone involves several steps and can vary depending on the specific requirements of the company and the position being filled.

Here is a general timeline and steps to follow:

1. Apply for a Commercial License:
The first step is to register the company and obtain the commercial license. Post that, the company will have to set up a physical office within the ADGM free zone, appoint directors and shareholders for the company, and open a bank account for the company.


2. Issue an Offer Letter:
Once you have found the candidate you wish to hire in the ADGM, you can make them a formal offer. The offer letter should specify the terms and conditions of their employment.


3. Apply for a Visa
Once the offer letter is accepted by the candidate, the company can start the application process for sponsoring the employee. The company will have to apply for a residence visa & Emirates ID for the employee which is valid for 1 to 2 years. The company will have to pay the different fees associated with the sponsorship process. This process can take anywhere between 5 to 10 business days.
You can refer to the Fee Schedule to learn the different prices for government services.


4. Draft Employee Contract(s)
After the visa is approved, the company must draft an employment contract for the employee. This should include all relevant information such as salary, benefits, job duties, and any other necessary details.


5. Submit Documents
The next step is for the company to submit all required documents to the ADGM authorities for review. This can take up to 2 business days.


6. Collect Visa and Emirates ID
Once the visa is approved, the employee will receive their visa online. Previously it used to be stamped on the passport, but now it is available digitally. The employee will also have to submit their biometrics if this is the first time they are applying for an Emirates ID card. Once the Emirates ID is ready, a notification of the post office location from where the ID can be collected will be sent.


7. Register for Social Security
If the candidate hired is a UAE or GCC National, the employer will need to register them for social insurance with the Abu Dhabi Retirement Pensions and Benefits Fund (ADRPBF) to comply with UAE labor laws.

Termination of employment

Termination of employment

This section includes notice periods, end of service gratuity, and canceling work permits & residency visas. Terminating an employee in the ADGM free zone must be done in accordance with UAE labor laws and the terms and conditions of the employment contract.

Here are the general steps for terminating someone working in ADGM:

Review the Employment Contract

The first step is to review the employment contract to understand the terms and conditions of employment, including the notice period, the grounds for termination, and the compensation payable upon termination.

Provide Notice of Termination

If the employment contract specifies a notice period for termination, you must provide written notice to the employee, stating the reason for termination and the date on which the employment will end. The notice period can range from one month to three months, depending on the length of service of the employee and the terms of the contract.

Conduct a Termination Meeting

Arrange a meeting with the employee to discuss the reasons for termination, the notice period, and any other relevant issues, such as outstanding pay or benefits.

Process Final Payments and Benefits

Before the employment ends, you must process final payments and benefits, including any outstanding salary, accrued leave, and end-of-service gratuity (ESG) payable under UAE labor law. The ESG is calculated based on the length of service and the employee's final basic salary.

Calculating End of Service Gratuity (ESG)

  • For the first 5 years of service, 21 days of basic wage for each year is considered.
  • Beyond 5 years, 30 days of basic wage is considered for every additional year.

Cancel Work Permit and Residency Visa

If the employee is a non-UAE national, you must cancel their work permit and residency visa with the ADGM registration authority and the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) in Abu Dhabi. Please ensure you cancel the dependents on the visa first and then the employee.

Issue a Service Certificate

Issue a service certificate to the employee, which confirms their period of employment, job title, and duties. This can be used as a reference for future employment.It is important to follow the proper procedures for terminating an employee to avoid any legal disputes or penalties. Seek legal advice or consult with the ADGM registration authority for specific requirements and regulations for termination in ADGM.

Types of contracts

Termination of employment

This section includes notice periods, end of service gratuity, and canceling work permits & residency visas. Terminating an employee in the ADGM free zone must be done in accordance with UAE labor laws and the terms and conditions of the employment contract.

Here are the general steps for terminating someone working in ADGM:

Types and Templates

Employers in ADGM free zone can offer different types of employment contracts depending on their business needs and the nature of the job. Here are the most common types of employment contracts offered in ADGM:

Limited-Term Contract: This type of contract is for a fixed term, which can range from a few months to a maximum of four years. The contract specifies the start and end dates of employment, and the terms and conditions of employment, such as salary, benefits, and leave entitlements.

Unlimited-Term Contract: An unlimited-term contract has no fixed end date and continues until the employer or employee terminates the contract. This type of contract is suitable for permanent positions or long-term employment.

Part-Time Contract: This type of contract is for employees who work less than the standard full-time working hours. The terms and conditions of employment, such as salary, benefits, and leave entitlements, are prorated based on the hours worked.

Project-Based Contract: This type of contract is for employees who are hired for a specific project or a defined period of time. The contract specifies the project scope, duration, and deliverables, and the terms and conditions of employment, such as salary, benefits, and leave entitlements.

Freelance Contract: A freelance contract is for individuals who work on a self-employed basis and provide services to the employer on a project or assignment basis. The contract specifies the scope of work, fees, and other terms and conditions of engagement.

Taxes

The ADGM free zone does not impose corporate or personal income tax on its registered companies or individuals. This means that companies and employees operating within the ADGM free zone are exempted from paying income tax on their earnings. This tax exemption is one of the main incentives that attract businesses to set up in ADGM.

However, it is important to note that taxes may be applicable in other jurisdictions outside of ADGM. For instance, if a company registered in ADGM has operations outside of the free zone, it may be subject to taxes in the jurisdiction where it is conducting business. Similarly, employees who are tax residents of other countries may be subject to taxes on their earnings in those jurisdictions.

Exclusivity

Exclusivity clauses in employment contracts are common in the ADGM free zone. An exclusivity clause is a provision in an employment contract that prohibits an employee from working for a competitor or starting a competing business during the term of the contract and for a certain period of time after the employment ends.

Employers in ADGM may include exclusivity clauses in their employment contracts to protect their business interests, trade secrets, and confidential information. Exclusivity clauses can help to prevent employees from sharing sensitive information with competitors or using the employer's resources to start a competing business.

However, it is important for employers to ensure that the exclusivity clauses are reasonable and proportionate to the business needs. An overly broad or restrictive exclusivity clause may be deemed as a restraint of trade and may be unenforceable. In addition, exclusivity clauses should be clearly defined and communicated to the employee before the contract is signed. Employees should carefully review the exclusivity clauses in their employment contracts and seek legal advice if they have concerns. They should also ensure that they understand the scope and duration of the exclusivity clause and its potential impact on their future employment opportunities.

Non-Disclosure Agreements

Non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) are common in the ADGM free zone contracts. NDAs are contractual agreements between two or more parties that aim to protect confidential information from being disclosed to third parties.

NDAs can help businesses to safeguard their intellectual property, trade secrets, and confidential information from being misused, stolen or shared with unauthorized parties. Employers in ADGM may require their employees to sign NDAs as a condition of employment, especially when handling sensitive information or working on projects that involve proprietary technology, confidential data or valuable trade secrets. The NDA may include provisions that prohibit the employee from sharing, using or disclosing confidential information during and after the term of employment.

It is important for employers to ensure that the NDA is clearly defined, specific, and reasonable. Employers should also ensure that the NDA is communicated to the employee before they sign the contract and that the employee understands the scope and implications of the agreement. Employers should also ensure that the NDA complies with the UAE labor laws and the ADGM regulations.

How to manage payroll in ADGM?

How to manage payroll in ADGM?

This section outlines the Payroll Structure, Currency, Wages Protection Scheme, Payroll Cycles, and Working Hours.

There are a number of different regulations that govern the payroll process in the ADGM. It is important to check that you comply with all of the necessary requirements — or use a solution that helps you to do so.

Here is a general overview:

Structure of Payroll in the ADGM

The structure of payroll in the ADGM free zone may vary depending on the specific company and its policies. However, in general, the following components may be included in the payroll structure:

  • Basic salary: This is the amount paid to an employee for their regular working hours.
  • Allowances: This may include housing, transportation, or other allowances, which are paid in addition to the basic salary.
  • Overtime pay: If an employee works beyond their regular working hours, they may be eligible for overtime pay.
  • Bonuses: This may include performance-based bonuses or other types of bonuses, which are paid to employees as a reward for their work.
  • Deductions: This may include taxes, social security contributions, or other deductions required by law.

Currency

The ADGM free zone is located in the United Arab Emirates, and the official currency of the UAE is the UAE dirham (AED). Therefore, employees working in the ADGM free zone are typically paid in UAE dirhams.

The UAE Labor Law requires that employees be paid in the local currency, unless otherwise agreed by the employer and employee in writing. Employers in the ADGM free zone should ensure that they comply with this requirement and provide employees with their salary in AED, unless a different currency has been agreed upon in writing.

It is also worth noting that there are no restrictions on the amount of foreign currency that can be transferred out of the UAE. However, employers should ensure that they comply with any relevant tax or foreign exchange regulations when paying employees in a foreign currency.

Wages Protection Scheme (WPS)

The Wages Protection System (WPS) is a system introduced by the UAE Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MOHRE) to ensure that employees in the private sector are paid their salaries on time and in full.

In the event that an employer fails to pay an employee's salary on time or in full, the employee can file a complaint with the MOHRE, which will then investigate the matter and take appropriate action to ensure that the employee receives their salary. Currently, companies registered in Mainland, JAFZA (Jebel Ali Free Zone) & DMCC free zone are required to follow the WPS protocol.

Cycles

The payroll cycles in the ADGM free zone are determined by the employer and can vary depending on the company's policies and the terms of the employment contract. Typically, employers in the ADGM free zone pay their employees on a monthly basis, although some may choose to pay their employees on a bi-weekly or semi-monthly basis.

The UAE Labor Law requires that all employees be paid at least once per month, and the payment must include the employee's basic salary plus any allowances or other entitlements. Employers must also provide employees with a detailed pay statement that shows the amount of salary paid and any deductions made. It is important for employers in the ADGM free zone to ensure that they comply with the UAE Labor Law and any other relevant regulations when determining their payroll cycles and making salary payments to their employees. This includes ensuring that employees are paid on time and in full and that they receive a detailed pay statement that accurately reflects their salary and entitlements.

Working Hours

The working hours in the ADGM free zone are generally set by the employer and may vary depending on the company's policies and the terms of the employment contract. However, the UAE Labor Law sets a maximum limit of 48 hours of work per week, or 8 hours per day for a period of 6 days per week.

Employers in the ADGM free zone must ensure that they comply with the UAE Labor Law when setting working hours for their employees. This includes providing employees with at least one day off per week, and ensuring that any overtime work is compensated in accordance with the law.

It is also worth noting that during the holy month of Ramadan, working hours for Muslim employees who observe the fast are reduced by two hours per day.

Employee benefits in ADGM

How to manage payroll in ADGM?

This section includes Health Insurance, Pension, Worker's Compensation and AllowancesEmployers in the ADGM free zone are required to comply with the UAE labor laws and regulations. This includes providing their employees with a minimum set of benefits that are outlined by the UAE labor law. Additionally, employers may offer additional benefits to attract and retain talented employees.

Here’s an overview of the benefits in the ADGM:

The minimum benefits required by UAE labor law include:

Health insurance: Employers are required to provide their employees with health insurance coverage, which should meet the minimum requirements set by the Dubai Health Authority.

End of service gratuity: Employees who complete one year of continuous service with their employer are entitled to a gratuity payment upon termination of employment. The amount of the gratuity is calculated based on the employee's length of service and final salary.

Employers may also offer additional benefits to their employees. These may include:

Retirement benefits: Employers may offer retirement plans, such as a pension scheme or a provident fund, to their employees.

Education assistance: Employers may offer education assistance to employees who are pursuing further education or training.

Employee discounts: Employers may offer discounts on their products or services to their employees.

Wellness programs: Employers may offer wellness programs, such as gym memberships or health coaching, to promote employee health and well-being.

Flights back home: There is no legal obligation to provide employees with an annual flight to their home country, however, it is common market practice to do so.

Pensions for GCC Nationals

GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) nationals working in the ADGM free zone are entitled to pension benefits, subject to certain conditions. The pension system in the UAE is regulated by the General Pension and Social Security Authority (GPSSA), which is responsible for managing pension contributions and payments.

Under the GPSSA regulations, employers are required to contribute a certain percentage of their GCC national employees' salaries to the pension system. The percentage varies based on the employee's age and length of service, but it generally ranges from 5% to 18% of the employee's basic salary. The employer is responsible for deducting the employee's portion of the contribution from their salary and adding it to the employer's contribution.

Employees who are GCC nationals and are enrolled in the GPSSA pension system are entitled to pension benefits upon reaching retirement age, which is currently set at 60 years. The pension benefit is calculated based on the employee's length of service and the average of their final three years of salary. The minimum pension benefit is 60% of the average of the final three years of salary.

Workers’ Compensation

Workers' compensation is a form of insurance that provides benefits to employees who are injured or become ill as a result of their work. In the ADGM free zone, workers' compensation is mandatory for all employers, and it is regulated by the ADGM Courts and the Abu Dhabi Judicial Department.

Under the ADGM regulations, employers are required to provide workers' compensation coverage for their employees. This coverage provides benefits for medical expenses, disability, and death benefits for employees who are injured or become ill as a result of their work. The benefits provided under the workers' compensation coverage can vary depending on the severity of the injury or illness, but they generally cover medical expenses and a portion of the employee's lost wages.

Employers in the ADGM free zone are required to purchase workers' compensation insurance from an insurance provider that is authorized by the ADGM Courts. The insurance provider will determine the premium rate based on the employer's industry, the number of employees, and the type of work being performed. Employers must provide proof of workers' compensation coverage to their employees.

Allowances

In an ADGM free zone contract, employers can provide different types of allowances to their employees in addition to their base salary. These allowances can be given to compensate employees for certain expenses, to incentivize performance, or to attract and retain talent. Here are some common types of allowances that can be offered:

Housing Allowance: This allowance is provided to help employees cover the cost of their housing expenses. Employers can provide a fixed amount or a percentage of the employee's base salary as a housing allowance.

Transportation Allowance: This allowance is provided to help employees cover the cost of their transportation expenses, such as fuel, public transportation fees, or car maintenance. Employers can provide a fixed amount or a percentage of the employee's base salary as a transportation allowance.

Education Allowance: This allowance is provided to help employees cover the cost of their children's education. Employers can provide a fixed amount or a percentage of the employee's base salary as an education allowance.

Medical Allowance: This allowance is provided to help employees cover the cost of their medical expenses. Employers can provide a fixed amount or a percentage of the employee's base salary as a medical allowance.

Performance Bonus: This allowance is given to employees as a reward for achieving certain performance goals or targets. Employers can set specific criteria for earning the bonus and determine the amount of the bonus based on the employee's performance.

Leave

Leave

This section provides details on Annual Leave, Maternity & Paternity leave, Sick leave.

Employers in the ADGM free zone are required to comply with the UAE labor laws and regulations regarding leave entitlements for their employees.

Below are the types of leave that are typically offered to employees in the ADGM free zone:

Annual Leave: Employees are entitled to a certain number of days of paid annual leave, based on their length of service. In the UAE, the minimum annual leave entitlement is 20 days per year for employees who have completed at least 90 days of employment service.

Maternity Leave: Female employees are entitled to 65 days of paid maternity leave, as per the UAE labor laws. This leave can be taken before or after the delivery of the baby, as per the employee's preference. The company will pay the normal wage for the first 33 days and half of that for the next 32 days. If any public holiday falls within the maternity leave, the employee shall be able to extend the maternity leave to include the public holidays.

Paternity Leave: Male employees are entitled to a minimum of five days of paid paternity leave. This leave can be taken within two months of the birth of the child.

Sick Leave: Employees are entitled to a maximum of 60 days of sick leave per year, with full pay for the first 10 days, half pay for the next 20 days, and without pay for the remaining 30 days. If the employee takes more than 60 days of sick leave, then the employee may be terminated by the employer with written notice.

Other Leave: Employers may offer other types of leave, such as compassionate leave, study leave, or unpaid leave, based on their policies and the employee's situation.

Special Leave: Muslim employees have the option to avail of special leave (not more than 30 days) to perform the Haj pilgrimage once during their employment if they have completed 1 year of service.

Public Holidays: Employees are entitled to the public holidays declared by the UAE government. If the employer requests an employee to work, then the employee may be compensated with either another day off or a payment for the day worked.

Visa details

Visa details

This section includes Different visa types, Steps to cancel, apply & renew visas, and Golden Visa

Visa Types

In an ADGM free zone contract, employers may sponsor employees for a work visa to legally work and reside in the United Arab Emirates. There are several visa types that are available for employees in the ADGM free zone, including:

  • Employment Visa: This is a visa that is issued to foreign nationals who have been sponsored by an employer to work in the UAE. The employment visa is usually valid for three years and can be renewed.
  • Investor Visa: This visa is available for foreign investors who have established a business in the UAE. The investor visa is usually valid for three years and can be renewed.
  • Partner Visa: This visa is available for the partners or shareholders of a company that is established in the UAE. The partner visa is usually valid for three years and can be renewed.
  • Dependent Visa: This visa is available for the family members of an employee who holds a valid employment visa. The dependent visa is usually valid for three years and can be renewed.
  • Visit Visa: This is a short-term visa that is issued to foreign nationals who wish to visit the UAE for tourism, business, or other purposes. The visit visa is usually valid for 30 days and can be extended for an additional 30 days.

How to Cancel a Visa

To cancel a visa under an ADGM free zone contract, the employer needs to follow the visa cancellation procedures as outlined by the UAE authorities. Here are the general steps to cancel a visa:

1. Notify the Employee
The employer should inform the employee that their visa will be canceled and provide them with a notice period as required by the employment contract or UAE labor laws.


2. Submit Documents
The employer needs to submit the necessary documents to the UAE authorities to cancel the employee's visa. The required documents may include a cancellation request form, the employee's passport, and the employee's Emirates ID card.


3. Obtain Approval
The UAE authorities will review the visa cancellation request and may require additional documents or information. Once the request is approved, the authorities will cancel the visa and notify the employer.


4. Inform the Employee
The employer should inform the employee that their visa has been canceled and provide them with the necessary paperwork, such as an exit permit, to leave the country.


5. Exit the Country
The employee must leave the UAE within the specified time frame as per the visa cancellation process. Failure to leave the country can result in penalties or legal issues.

Apply for a Visa

As the ADGM free zone is a financial free zone, the visa application process for the ADGM free zone is managed by the UAE authorities, specifically the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA).

Here are the general steps for applying for a visa in the ADGM free zone:

1. Identify the Visa Type
Determine the type of visa you need based on your purpose of travel, such as employment, business, or tourism.


2. Submit the Application
Submit the visa application through the relevant channels, such as a travel agency, sponsor, or through the UAE's e-Visa system. The application should include all required documents and information, such as a passport copy, visa application form, and any supporting documents.


3. Pay the Visa Fee
Pay the visa fee, which varies depending on the type of visa and processing time.


4. Wait for Processing
Wait for the visa to be processed by the UAE authorities. The processing time varies depending on the type of visa and other factors such as the applicant's nationality.


5. Collect the Visa
Once the visa is approved, collect the visa from the relevant authority or through the e-Visa system. Ensure that all details on the visa are accurate and that it is valid for the intended period of stay.

Renew Visa

The process for renewing a visa in the ADGM free zone is similar to the process for applying for a new visa. Here are the general steps to renew a visa in the ADGM free zone:

Determine Eligibility: Check if you are eligible to renew your visa. This may depend on various factors such as the type of visa, the length of your stay, and any applicable rules and regulations.

Submit the Application: Submit the visa renewal application through the relevant channels, such as a travel agency, sponsor, or through the UAE's e-Visa system. The application should include all required documents and information, such as a passport copy, visa renewal form, and any supporting documents.

Pay the Visa Renewal Fee: Pay the visa renewal fee, which varies depending on the type of visa and processing time.

Wait for Processing: Wait for the visa renewal to be processed by the UAE authorities. The processing time varies depending on the type of visa and other factors such as the applicant's nationality.

Collect the Renewed Visa: Once the visa renewal is approved, collect the renewed visa from the relevant authority or through the e-Visa system. Ensure that all details on the visa are accurate and that it is valid for the intended period of stay.

1. Determine Eligibility
Check if you are eligible to renew your visa. This may depend on various factors such as the type of visa, the length of your stay, and any applicable rules and regulations.


2. Submit the Application
Submit the visa renewal application through the relevant channels, such as a travel agency, sponsor, or through the UAE's e-Visa system. The application should include all required documents and information, such as a passport copy, visa renewal form, and any supporting documents.


3. Pay the Visa Renewal Fee
Pay the visa renewal fee, which varies depending on the type of visa and processing time.


4. Wait for Processing
Wait for the visa renewal to be processed by the UAE authorities. The processing time varies depending on the type of visa and other factors such as the applicant's nationality.


5. Collect the Renewed Visa
Once the visa renewal is approved, collect the renewed visa from the relevant authority or through the e-Visa system. Ensure that all details on the visa are accurate and that it is valid for the intended period of stay.

Golden Visa

The ADGM free zone Golden Visa is a type of long-term residence visa that is granted to eligible individuals who meet certain criteria. The Golden Visa program was launched by the UAE government in 2019 to attract and retain talent in the country and promote economic growth.

The ADGM free zone Golden Visa is a 10-year visa that can be renewed indefinitely, and it allows holders to live, work, and study in the UAE without the need for a national sponsor. It also provides various benefits, such as the ability to sponsor family members and the option to purchase property in the UAE.

To be eligible for the ADGM free zone Golden Visa, individuals must meet certain criteria, such as holding a valid passport and meeting certain qualifications, such as having a PhD degree or being a doctor, engineer, or specialist in a particular field. Eligible individuals can apply for the Golden Visa through the relevant authorities, such as the UAE Ministry of Interior or the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA).

You can learn more about the Golden Visa and its requirements here.

Work Permits

Work Permits

Work Permits

In the ADGM free zone, work permits are issued by the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA), which is responsible for regulating the entry and residency of foreigners in the UAE.

To apply for a work permit in the ADGM free zone, the following steps may be taken:

  • Obtain a valid offer of employment from an employer registered in the ADGM free zone.
  • The employer should then apply for a work permit on behalf of the employee. The employer will need to provide certain documents, such as the employee's passport, visa application, and medical fitness certificate.
  • Once the work permit application is approved, the employee can apply for a residence visa through the GDRFA.
  • The employee must then undergo medical tests, such as a tuberculosis screening, and obtain a health insurance policy.
  • After completing these steps, the employee can collect their residence visa and start working in the ADGM free zone.

Secondee

In the ADGM free zone, a secondee work permit is a type of permit that allows foreign employees to work temporarily in the free zone on behalf of their employer, who is registered outside the free zone.

To apply for a secondee work permit in the ADGM free zone, the following steps may be taken:

  1. The secondee employee should obtain a valid offer of employment from their employer, who is registered outside the ADGM free zone.
  2. The employer should then apply for a secondee work permit on behalf of the employee. The employer will need to provide certain documents, such as the employee's passport, visa application, and medical fitness certificate.
  3. The ADGM free zone authorities will review the application and may request additional information or documentation.
  4. Once the secondee work permit is approved, the employee can apply for a residence visa through the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA).
  5. The employee must then undergo medical tests, such as a tuberculosis screening, and obtain a health insurance policy.
  6. After completing these steps, the employee can collect their residence visa and start working in the ADGM free zone.

Additional Resources

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FAQs

Got Questions? Find Answers Here

1. Are there any cultural or language considerations when hiring talent in the UAE?

When hiring talent in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), there are cultural and language considerations to keep in mind. Here are a few important points:

  1. Cultural Diversity: The UAE is a diverse country with a multicultural workforce. It is important to embrace and respect this diversity when hiring talent. Be mindful of cultural differences, customs, and practices. Promote inclusivity and create an inclusive work environment that values diversity.
  2. Language: Arabic is the official language of the UAE, but English is widely spoken and used as a business language, especially in multinational companies and industries with a large expatriate workforce. When hiring talent, it is essential to assess the language proficiency required for the rlie. Bilingual candidates who are fluent in both Arabic and English may be particularly valuable for certain positions.
  3. Islamic Culture: The UAE flilows Islamic traditions and customs. It's important to be aware of and respect Islamic practices and sensitivities. For example, during the hliy month of Ramadan, Muslims fast from dawn to sunset, and it is customary to accommodate their needs and be sensitive to religious observances. Employers should also be mindful of prayer times and provide appropriate facilities for prayer.
  4. Gender Considerations: The UAE is making significant strides towards gender equality in the workplace, with women playing important rlies across various sectors. However, it is important to be aware of any cultural norms or sensitivities related to gender and ensure that equal opportunities and fair treatment are provided to all candidates and employees.
  5. Dress Code: The UAE generally has a conservative dress code, especially in public and formal settings. When hiring talent, it's important to communicate the expected dress code, which may vary depending on the industry or specific workplace requirements.
  6. Professional Etiquette: Professional etiquette in the UAE emphasizes respect, pliiteness, and maintaining harmonious relationships. It is important to be aware of local customs and professional norms, such as greetings, communication styles, and business etiquette.

These considerations can help foster a positive and inclusive work environment and contribute to successful recruitment and employee integration in the UAE. However, it's important to note that cultural norms and practices can vary within the UAE based on factors such as nationality, ethnicity, and personal background. Sensitivity, open-mindedness, and continuous learning are key to effectively navigating cultural considerations when hiring talent in the UAE.

2. Can I engage remote or freelance talent for UAE-based projects?

Yes, it is possible to engage remote or freelance talent for UAE-based projects. Many organizations in the UAE hire remote or freelance workers for various types of projects and tasks. This approach can offer flexibility and access to specialized skills without the need for full-time, in-house employees. When engaging remote or freelance talent for UAE-based projects, here are a few considerations:

  1. Legal and Contractual Matters: Ensure that you have a clear contract in place that outlines the scope of work, deliverables, payment terms, and any other relevant terms and conditions. It is advisable to consult legal experts to ensure compliance with local laws and regulations. Using a solution like RemotePass can help you remove the complexity from this process.
  2. Visa and Work Permit Requirements: Depending on the nature and duration of the engagement, you may need to consider visa and work permit requirements. Remote or freelance workers who are not physically present in the UAE may not need a UAE visa or work permit. However, if they need to enter the country for meetings or work-related activities, appropriate visa arrangements may be necessary.
  3. Tax and Payroll Considerations: Understand the tax implications associated with engaging remote or freelance talent. Depending on the jurisdiction and the duration of the engagement, there may be tax obligations to consider. Consult with tax advisors or local authorities to ensure compliance with tax regulations.
  4. Intellectual Property Protection: When engaging remote or freelance talent, particularly for projects involving intellectual property (IP), ensure that proper agreements are in place to protect your organization's IP rights. It is advisable to consult legal experts to draft appropriate agreements that safeguard your intellectual property.
  5. Communication and Collaboration: Establish clear channels of communication and utilize collaboration tools to facilitate effective remote work. Technology solutions such as video conferencing, project management platforms, and file sharing tools can help bridge the distance and enable smooth collaboration.

It's important to note that regulations and requirements can vary based on the specific circumstances, project type, and the jurisdiction of both the hiring organization and the remote or freelance talent. Consulting with legal, tax, and HR experts familiar with UAE laws and regulations can provide accurate guidance tailored to your situation.

3. What are the common recruitment challenges businesses face in the UAE

Businesses in the UAE may encounter several common recruitment challenges. These challenges can vary depending on factors such as industry, location, and the specific requirements of the organization. Here are some common recruitment challenges faced by businesses in the UAE:

  1. High Competition for Talent: The UAE attracts a large number of expatriate workers, resulting in a competitive job market. Companies often compete for top talent, especially in industries such as finance, technology, and healthcare. This competition can make it challenging to attract and retain skilled professionals.
  2. Emiratization Initiatives: The UAE government has implemented Emiratization initiatives to increase the participation of Emirati nationals in the workforce. These initiatives may include quotas or preferential treatment for Emirati candidates, which can make it more challenging for businesses to find suitable talent while adhering to Emiratization requirements.
  3. Language and Cultural Diversity: The diverse workforce in the UAE means that businesses need to navigate language and cultural differences when hiring. Finding candidates who are fluent in both Arabic and English can be advantageous, particularly for roles that require interaction with local stakeholders.
  4. Visa and Work Permit Regulations: Hiring expatriate workers in the UAE involves navigating visa and work permit regulations. Ensuring compliance with these regulations, obtaining necessary permits, and managing the associated paperwork can be time-consuming and complex.
  5. Salary and Compensation Expectations: The UAE has a relatively high cost of living, and candidates often have high salary expectations. Balancing competitive compensation packages with budgetary constraints can be a recruitment challenge for businesses.
  6. Retention and Employee Turnover: Retaining talent can be a challenge in a competitive job market. Companies may face employee turnover as employees explore better opportunities or relocate for personal reasons. Organizations need to focus on employee engagement, career development, and creating a positive work environment to improve retention.

To address these challenges, businesses in the UAE can adopt strategies such as strengthening their employer brand, building relationships with educational institutions, implementing effective recruitment and retention strategies, leveraging technology for recruitment processes, and investing in training and development programs.