Looking at the shoals of working people darting around the Dubai metro platform rushing to their respective offices amidst the air containing life-threatening viruses, it’s impossible to not to think of starting your own company or working as a freelancer. Particularly, after experiencing (during the first wave of COVID-19) the work-life sans daily commute and the flexibility of planning your day that working at home affords. Whether you are fated to be an entrepreneur in your favourite country or just want to stand out in the crowd by entwining your unique skills with a smart business idea, Dubai doesn’t disappoint. Welcome to the world of freedom and possibilities!
Why freelancing in UAE?
Choosing to be a freelancer in UAE has endless benefits. One of them is – Being your own boss in Dubai without breaking the bank is now easier than ever. Thanks to the freelance visa in the UAE, first launched in 2019. With the increasing popularity of the ‘gig economy’, there have been initiatives introduced to make it easier and cheaper for freelancers to operate in Dubai. Zeroed on making Dubai the world’s largest talent hub, the government’s every move revolves around turning the city into the happiest place in the world to live and work. If you are planning to work as a freelancer in Dubai in 2022, you are in luck as the city has recently rolled out a “Talent Pass” with an aim to lure and retain global talent in the fields of media, education, technology, art, marketing and consultancy. And the hook is – a 3-year residence permit. Get trapped to grow your own wings! As you already know, the sky is the only limit when it comes to business setup in Dubai, full-fledged or home-based!
In addition, most employers are freelancing specific works/assignments/projects to self-employed talents like you these days for all good reasons. Once eligible to work in the UAE as a freelancer, you can find work by registering yourself in the free market. Tons of freelancers in the UAE have already registered themselves on well-known platforms such as freelancer.com, Dribbble, and Toptal to name some. A caveat: Besides your impressive qualifications, experience and skills, it’s the client reviews that help you grab more business and opportunities. So, make sure the work you deliver is done not for just the heck of doing or with monetary motives. It’s your expertise and speciality in the field that increases the clients’ expectations. And not to mention the low remuneration quotations.
Know UAE Freelance Visa
Under the category of the UAE residency visa, a freelance visa is kind-a self-sponsored visa, which enables one to live and work legally in the country. The holder of a freelance visa can operate anywhere in the UAE, unlike other employees in the UAE who are tied to just one company that has sponsored their residence visa and work permit. The visa is granted based on a freelance permit, which is granted by a few licensing authorities – mainly free zones. Almost every emirate has a free zone or two authorised to issue a freelance licence and a visa. Look wise both the freelancer visa and regular UAE residency visa are the same featuring a pink stamp in the passport, with a validity of 2 or 3 years. You don’t have to pay an arm and a leg to own the type of UAE residence visa. By spending a minimum of AED 2,500 (ofour54, Abu Dhabi) you can easily get a freelance visa. Be informed, the cost of freelance visa depends on the free zone regulations, the term of the visa (1-year or 3-year residence visa) and the nature of your business and can go up to AED 20,000 (DMCC FTZ, Dubai). Along with a freelance visa, you require a freelance permit as well to start working as a freelancer, if you are not already on any of the dependent visas. Those who are already living in the UAE sponsored by someone who is a UAE resident just need a freelance permit to work legally as a freelancer in the country. The permit must be renewed annually. A freelancer visa can be issued by various authorities depending on the nature of the services you are planning to provide.
Who can be a successful freelancer in the UAE?
Why to leash yourself with an employment visa and wait for the last day of the month to receive funds into your account when you can sponsor yourself and make a fortune with a small investment. Yes, it’s your skills, and it should be you only who should make the most of it. Plus, there are tons of other perks of freelancing – from mobility, work-life balance, multiple projects, vast exposure, control of workload, to freedom of choosing clients & projects, independence, flexibility and comfort. I know what you are wondering. But don’t worry, not everyone can be a doctor, engineer or scientist, but everyone can be specialised in one or the other area. See how this person’s expertise in blowing smoke rings changed his destiny. Whether you are an exemplary teacher, exceptional writer or simply a dancer, coaches in various streams like yoga, education, dance and other extracurricular activities, musicians, artists, designers, media professionals can now receive a permit and furnish services legally in any of the seven emirates in the UAE. They can obtain a Dubai freelance visa and call the emirate their home for a long time.
Freelance Work Vs. Company Set-up
A company, being a separate legal entity, can bring you so many judicial obligations and formalities that a freelancer is free from. You are not required to set up a company if you wish to do business as a freelancer in Dubai, or any other emirate of the UAE for that matter. All you need to work independently is a freelancer visa coupled with a freelance permit. The cost of visa can vary from AED 2,500 to AED 20,000 depending on various factors as mentioned above. If you wish to start your journey as a freelance without coughing up much, then a sole proprietorship visa issued by twofour54 in Abu Dhabi is your answer. You will also receive a renewable residency visa that is valid up to 2 years. Visa obtained from Abu Dhabi is not restricted to Abu Dhabi only, and you are allowed to carry out your business activities all across the UAE. This is because of the validity of your sole proprietorship licence that is relevant and valid in each of the seven emirates.