Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Setting Up in Dubai by Essam Al Tamimi

For people pondering a move to the UAE, this book by Essam Al Tamimi gives plenty of helpful information but to people thinking of establishing a business in the Emirates, Setting Up in Dubai is compulsory reading, especially if one is eager to avoid the pitfalls and expedite the process smoothly.

General Information
Admittedly this book has a Dubai focus but the general information and many of the issues addressed have application to the entire UAE and much of the Middle East. Setting Up in Sharjah is also becoming available and other books in this series are anticipated.

Subjects in the introductory survey examine the history of Dubai, the statistical growth of non-oil commodities, the UAE and Dubai political systems (with names of the major current office holders) and information about climate, population, postal services, telecommunications, the media, currency, major holidays, trade fairs, exhibitions and conferences and religion.

Author Essam Al Tamimi is well equipped to write such a book having practiced in commercial law and litigation in the UAE and the GCC countries since 1985, he has gone on to accumulate a wide range of local and international legal expertise and is the Founder and Senior Partner of the Al Tamimi legal firm (reputed to be ‘the largest law firm in the Middle East’).

While having a broad focus, this handbook concentrates on the legal issues of establishing a business. General information is given on the legal profession in the UAE and Dubai, charts are supplied to explain how federal laws are formulated and transacted, insights are conveyed as to how federal law, local law and Sharia (Islamic) law relate and what courts deal with which legal problem or procedure. The author gives practical details on how one files court action, the current cost of court fees and the different processes one pursues for disputes to do with labor, tenancy and civil matters.

Immigration and Customs
This major section describes in detail the matters to do with immigration, employment and visa issues for workers, partners and children.

The different processes from initial application to changing visa status while within the country are clearly illustrated in charts that show the sequence of steps. Helpful information is provided on registering a new born baby, securing domestic help and transferring employment sponsorship from one person to another.

Customs regulations and procedures are covered in depth as they relate to people, goods, business equipment and vehicles.

Business in Dubai
This chapter acquaints readers with procedures and requirements for establishing a business in Dubai.

The function and responsibilities of organizations that oversee businesses are outlined with information on the Chamber of Commerce, the Dubai Department of Economic Development, the Dubai Municipality, the UAE Ministries of Economy & Planning and Finance & Industry, the Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing, the UAE Central Bank, the Dubai Lands Department and the Dubai international Financial Centre.

The legal structures, laws and business entities are explained and those deemed to be of special value to foreign investors are highlighted. These address the full spectrum of issues from establishment, to continuing a business, through to terminating an operation. Different types of company procedures are described and how things differ in various parts of Dubai including the Free Zones and Business Parks.

The procedures for obtaining business licenses are given with the costs of setting up a business in the different zones plus specific guidelines for industrial projects, insurance companies, engineering consultancies, auditing firms, hotels and other accommodation, medical establishments and investment companies.

This book is interested in readers getting the detail, assisting them to see clearly each step in a process and notifying them as to which activities require special approval or authorization.

Employment Issues
Essam Al Tamimi gives an overview of the UAE Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs before highlighting the distinctive features of employment in Dubai to do with such vital matters as working hours, salaries and packaging, common salary scales (according to business and ethic origins of employees), taxation issues and labor cards.

Unique aspects of Emirati labor laws are described including the practical matters of termination, repatriation responsibilities, end of service benefits and accident compensation.

Housing and Accommodation
A narrative furnished with colorful illustrations gives readers an idea of the different types of accommodation that exist in Dubai. This chapter covers procedures to do with property ownership and offers a selection of housing estates that can be purchased in this emirate. The FAQ about renting are explained.

Health and Education
The well-advanced health care in Dubai and the UAE is described with practical information on such things as how one obtains a medical card.

Education options for one’s family and workers are summarized from nursery through to tertiary education plus specialized courses in such things as Arabic language.

Information is provided on how one obtains a driving license and another useful chart outlines 100 different driving offences and the anticipated monetary fine and ‘black’ or demerit point likely to be incurred. As this regularly changes, readers are pointed to the appropriate web site for up-to-date information and the method for discovering whether or not drivers have been booked.

Information is given on purchasing, registering and insuring a vehicle with tips provided on renting transport and using the different forms of public transport.

Following the dictum, “All work and no play…”, this book contains information on leisure and cultural pursuits, commencing with shopping(!), and including water sports and land sports such as golf and the distinctive Emirati pursuits of wadi bashing and camel riding. There is information on the nightlife of Dubai, eating out and a thumbnail sketch of places to see.

Local Customs and Traditions
A chapter presents an overview of religious customs and dos and don’ts, issues related to Ramadan, meeting and greeting, tea and coffee, alcohol purchase and consumption, what to wear when, important tips about what not to photograph, business etiquette and conversation subjects to avoid.

Some basic Arabic words are given to help readers say ‘Hullo’, to count to ten or to instruct the taxi driver to slow down.

The various sections of this book indicate the complexity of life and doing business in another country. Setting Up in Dubai is comprehensive and the inclusion of a CD containing all the application forms one will need for setting up in Dubai is an indication of the book’s very practical use.

Essam Al Tamimi, Setting Up in Dubai Edition 4: Business Investor’s Guide (Dubai: Cross Border Legal Publishing, 2006).

This book is available from Magrudy’s Bookshops in the UAE at a cost of Dh 79.00.

Dr. Geoff Pound

Images: Front cover of Setting Up in Dubai; author, Essam Al Tamimi.