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Although the 'new normal' had become a way of life in some countries prior to the pandemic – in the United States, 57 million People in the u.s. Freelancing in 2019 (Forbes), for example – eliminating the physical need for staff members to have been in the working place has raised several questions about how the working population will look in the future, potentially increasing the use of freelancers.
In line with the worldwide trend, a recent poll conducted by the UAE employment portal Bayt.com and You Gov titled 'Entrepreneurship in the Middle East and North Africa 2021' revealed that 62 percent of UAE citizens would choose to be self-employed if given the opportunity.
Previously, owing to high expenses, tight company licensing, and visa rules, freelancing in the UAE was not a feasible career option. Moreover, we are witnessing a little revolution in the way businesses and individuals in the UAE view freelancing as an alternative to regular employment.
The UAE's work environment is evolving as a result of legislative reforms undertaken by the government, such as making freelancing legal and giving permits that allow individuals to work as freelancers on the side.
The breadth and prospects are expanding as well, increasing the number of self-employed persons throughout the Middle East and abroad, with the UAE serving as a hub. Freelancers are becoming a more appealing alternative for both short and long-term contracts as businesses see the benefits of a more accessible, flexible, and competent source of labor. This allows businesses to save the time and cost of hiring full-time employees.
How to Become a Legal Freelancer in the UAE
The Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (ADDED) stated in November 2020 that both UAE citizens and non-residents will be able to apply for freelancing licenses.
The new rule allows freelancers to lawfully reside and work in the UAE. Applicants are not needed to rent office space and are free to apply for permanent permits for themselves and their families.
To work as a freelancer in the UAE, you must have a residency visa and a work permit, with the following conditions for residents and non-residents:
Residents of the UAE
One would need a freelancer's permission to start working if you are a UAE resident on your spouse's or parent's visa. By receiving permission, full-time working professionals in the UAE can also become freelancers.
When applying for a freelance visa, you must have confirmation of your appropriate skill set as well as approval from any employer if you are considering freelancing as a side hustle.
Non-residents of the UAE
Since you're not a UAE resident, you must apply for a freelancer visa, which is a residence permit that allows you to live and operate as a freelancer in the UAE.
You choose your path
Both UAE citizens and non-residents contemplating a freelancing job have a variety of choices to select from to lawfully live and work in the UAE. A freelancer's permission is available in many free zone alternatives, allowing you to get a residency visa and sponsor your family.
The option will be determined by the activity/industry/sector, and all processes are available online. Because costs might vary greatly, it's critical to do your homework before settling on a free zone that meets your specific requirements.