When it comes to the world’s most extravagant travel destinations, Dubai is up there with the best of them. With its impressive man-made islands, opulent buildings and high-net-worth population, it has long been one of the favourite hotspots for affluent travellers in search of sun, sea and excellent designer shopping – but these days it’s attracting a longer term crowd who see Dubai as more than just a place to enjoy a lavish holiday.
The entire United Arab Emirates enjoy a tax-free lifestyle, which is increasingly catching the attention of wealthy business tycoons, entrepreneurs and even social media influencers and freelancers, who are flocking in growing numbers to Dubai to claim their slice of the good life. With hot weather year round, spectacular sandy beaches and some of the most impressive luxury shopping malls in the world, for many, making the move is seen as a no brainer.
In 2019, it was reported that 2,000 millionaires have done exactly that, and since then, the numbers have continued to rise. It’s not just the agreeable luxury scene that has been drawing them in in their droves, but also its safety, business-friendly environment and high-quality infrastructure.
Health, wealth and happiness
Currently, Dubai is the most prominent financial centre in the Middle East – and there are rumours that it could soon become the happiest, too. Her Excellency Ohood Al Roumi, minister of the state for Happiness and Wellbeing, is aiming to make it both the happiest and the most intelligent city in the world. There is even a Happiness Agenda, overseen by the government’s 60 chief happiness and positivity officers – so it seems that beyond the financial appeal of moving to a tax free state, there is a lot more to smile about.
Nonetheless, despite all of the obvious perks about making the move to this spectacular sunny nation, there is the small issue of residency to consider. Not everyone is eligible to reside permanently in Dubai, but there are certainly some ways to make the dream a reality – particularly if you’re savvy when it comes to business.
A nation that means business
One of the major reasons that Dubai attracts entrepreneurs and investors from around the world – aside form the 0 percent tax rate, strategic global location and a simple incorporation procedure is the fact that, as of recent years, foreigners can now own 100 percent of their businesses, so it’s unsurprising we’ve seen such a surge in the numbers since this change was first unveiled.
Add to that the introduction of long term visas, and it’s now easier than ever for entrepreneurs to make the move – but that doesn’t mean that it comes without its challenges. It can be a complicated process, but with the right help, it can be achieved far more seamlessly, and there are many company formation experts living in Dubai who can help to lighten the load.
A residency permit can be easily issued by forming a freezone company – which explains why up to 80 percent of the local population is made up of expats. It does, however, mean that those who already have business located elsewhere across the globe might have to think outside the box if they’re looking to ensure they qualify.
Company formation in Dubai requires a thorough understanding of the required steps, so liaising with a company set-up agent is essential. To be successful, you’ll need to align your business with one of a list of 2,000 permitted business activities, so the earlier on in the process you can consult them, the better.
Knowing your options
Once you’ve taken care of the initial steps, you can move forward with forming your Dubai freezone company – and your big move to the UAE along with it. The trade licenses in Dubai vary, ranging from commercial and professional to industrial – and you’ll need to apply for the one that is relevant to you in order to complete the application process.
Making the freezone application itself is relatively easy, and requires you to provide your agent with some documentation about your plans. Then, you can sit back, relax and allow them to take care of the rest, which is usually a fairly smooth process.
The bottom line
The idea of moving to Dubai might seem complicated, but it can be much simpler than you’d think. Armed with the right knowledge, you can not only secure yourself permanent residency, but also launch a brand new business in a nation where the economy is positively booming – so if you’ve been procrastinating on your dream for too long, then 2021 might just be the time to take the leap.