MEA July 2017

48 MEA MARKETS / July 2017 , immigration authority. Step seven is to process your visa: If you require a visa, we will guide you through the process.” Setting up a company in the UAE does not necessarily need to be a complex or daunting task, but you do need the right specialist to guide you through it. Karl tells us more about this important point in his own words. “Virtuzone has a track record that speaks for itself in this regard. Now sure, we would love to win you over as a customer, but our first step is to always offer a free, in-person consultation where you get a chance to have all your questions answered. It’s a great opportunity to take advantage of our knowledge to determine what path is the best path for you when it comes to the type of UAE company you need to set up. Rest assured, we will make this free consultation all about you.” UAE free zones After the discovery of oil in the mid-1960s, the UAE began its transformation into a financial epicentre. But for the first 20 years of this transformation, the country’s relatively small population and reliance on oil money meant it lacked the economic diversity to fully take advantage of its position on the world stage. And so, it was that in the early 1980s the concept of the UAE free zone came to life. Karl goes on to develop this point in his own words. “One of the main goals of the UAE free zones was to diversify the economy by making the region attractive to a wider array of industries – essentially opening up the country to a much greater influx of foreign investment by making the investment climate more attractive. The original free zone opened in the 1980s, setting the template for the many that followed, and today there are around 40 across the UAE. “The main advantage offered by the UAE free zones is that foreign investors can retain 100% of their businesses without the need for a local partner. Outside of free zones, non-UAE residents are not allowed a majority stake in the business if that business requires a commercial or industrial license, and must therefore set up with a local partner who takes a minimum ownership of 51%. Other financial incentives of the UAE free zones include a 0% corporate and income tax rate, no customs duties levied on imports and exports, and the option to repatriate 100% of the profits from the business. Another factor which can present fantastic opportunities to free zone companies is that many of the UAE free zones are sector specific. This gives its entrepreneurs ready access to a hub of knowledge and expertise from others within their field.” UAE visa Once your business is up and running in the UAE, you as the business owner can apply for your UAE residence visa. And you’re also able to apply for UAE visas for your dependents, such as family members or those you hire for your household (for example, your maid, driver, or nanny). In closing, Karl reveals more about the process involved when applying for this type of visa. “The process of applying for the visa or visas – which remain valid for a period of one to three years – is incredibly simple, and made up of several steps. Virtuzone is there to help guide all our clients and their dependents through the process, and because we have literally done this thousands of times before, we’re able to ensure the entire affair stays extremely easy and stress free for you. With Virtuzone, each free zone company set-up package is designed around the number of visas that are required - and the prices are all inclusive - meaning you don’t have to worry about any hidden costs popping up later. “The type of company you choose to set up with Virtuzone, will dictate the number of visas that you are eligible to apply for. You will be provided with all the options which gives you the flexibility to staff your new company effectively from the start. And unlike other options, with Virtuzone the full allocation of the visas is available without having to rent any office space. It’s important to note that you can also set up a UAE free zone company with Virtuzone without needing to get visas. That is perfectly acceptable and of course depends on your personal situation and whether a visa would benefit you or is required for your specific circumstances. “But if you do choose to get a UAE visa, the benefits are many, and include the ability to open a private current account (that is, separate from your corporate account), the ability to sponsor your family, the ability to obtain a UAE driver’s license and purchase a vehicle, and the ability to rent property. And of course, the biggest of all benefits is that you now have a residence in a non-tax jurisdiction country and, depending on your overall situation, may not be required to pay any taxes at all to your home country.”