By Hamad Obaid Al Zaabi,
UAE Ambassador to Pakistan
With a stable and secure business environment and investor-friendly legislation, the UAE is an ideal destination for global investment. At the crossroads of major growth centers across the Middle East, Asia, and Africa, the UAE offers opportunities to quickly scale up operations to serve regional and international markets.
Foreign investors can benefit from the UAE’s logistics expertise and role as a regional hub for the Middle East, as well as its strong network of economic agreements, including 101 agreements on the avoidance of double taxation and 67 bilateral investment treaties. Investing in the UAE ensures sustainable future growth for multinational corporations, SMEs, and private investors alike.
In the World Competitiveness Yearbook 2021, the UAE ranked 9th globally, scoring high in government and business efficiency, economic performance, and infrastructure. Moreover, in the Global Competitiveness Report 2020, the UAE ranked second worldwide in ICT adoption, flexible work arrangements, digital skills, and digital legal framework.
Features of the UAE’s economy include its strategic location, strong financial reserves, large sovereign wealth funds, solid international relations, consistent government spending on infrastructure, digital transformation, and innovation, progressive policy of economic diversification, multi-specialty free zones, and increased foreign direct investment.
To further the development of a sustainable, diversified, and competitive knowledge-based economy, the UAE is focused on facilitating investments in a number of priority sectors. Moreover, the UAE offers its vibrant expatriate community the flexibility to do business anywhere in the country, including in its many free zones, industrial areas, and commercial buildings.
The UAE’s investment-friendly business regulations allow 100 percent foreign ownership in 122 economic activities across 13 sectors, and the country regularly hosts high-profile conferences, international exhibitions, and trade and investment events.
The UAE also offers various incentives to investors with the aim of increasing the number of small and medium enterprises and start-ups in the country, with the government simultaneously eliminating barriers that hinder the flow of investments.
Incentives include the following:
100% Company Ownership
Investors of all nationalities can establish and fully own companies in the UAE. This change came about based on the provisions of Federal Decree-Law No. 26 of 2020 on Commercial Companies, under which a foreign company wishing to open a branch and practice its activities in the UAE does not require the presence of a UAE national agent.
40 Free Zones for Company Incorporation
More than 40 free zones allow tax exemptions and 100% ownership for foreign investors. The UAE also offers investors flexibility in selecting the most appropriate zone in which to establish their business. Free zones are located throughout the UAE, enabling investors to engage in a wide variety of economic activities.
No Income Tax and Full Profit Transfer
The UAE does not impose income tax on individuals and investors, with the exception of oil companies and branches of foreign banks. As a country with a free economic model since inception, it allows individuals and investors to freely repatriate their profits in entirety.
Golden Visa for Investors
The UAE adopted a new visa system by granting long-term residence visas for durations that range from 5 to 10 years. Available to investors, entrepreneurs, and talented individuals, these visas allow expatriates and their family members the ability to live, work, or study in the UAE while enjoying the benefits of extended residency.
In addition to a desirable investment climate, the UAE also boasts a stable and secure environment that more than 200 nationalities call their home. Over 1.5 million Pakistanis reside in the UAE, which ranked first in the Arab world in the World Happiness Report 2020.
As the second-safest country in the world (Global Finance Index 2021) and second-largest economy in the GCC and Arab world, the UAE remains the preferred destination in which to live and invest.