Business in the UAE

The atmosphere around the business in the UAE has changed considerably over the last 10 or 20 years with more and more global enterprises becoming more prominent than ever before. It is easy to forget that the UAE was not founded until 1971 and indeed it is only recently, due in the main to the boom of the Dubai economy and subsequent slump, that the territory has captured the attention of the worldwide press.

The UAE economy

There is little doubt that the economy of the United Arab Emirates has risen considerably in size over the last decade as international money continues to stream into the region. Despite the instability surrounding the Dubai property market, which saw a number of enterprises collapse, many analysts feel that investors will return in due course. The area itself is dominated by the economies of Dubai and Abu Dhabi with over 80 percent of economic activity concentrated around these two distinct emirates.

Business visas

In order to conduct a business in the region, there are numerous hurdles to cross and one is the issue of business visas. Despite the fact that the economy of the region has fallen back considerably, in line with the international economic slump, the authorities are nevertheless quite keen to recruit overseas enterprises. As a consequence, business visas are readily available to individuals able to invest considerable sums of money in the region or perhaps those who have a significant stake in existing firms. The truth is that money talks in each and every economy throughout the world and where there is demand there will be some give and take between the authorities and important third parties.

Employment law

Employment law and the UAE are still very much at an early stage with a number of companies complaining about the lack of protection for employees. There have been advancements in these particular domains but ultimately it will take time to filter through and at the moment there is no doubt that employees have substantially less protection than those in the Western world. The current economic collapse saw a major surge in the number of companies falling bankrupt and many employees were literally left high and dry, owed large amounts of money.

Government policies toward business

Over the previous decade, we have seen considerable changes with regard to the mindset and the policies established by the UAE authorities. The location is well regarded as one of the more optimistic and forward-thinking in the region and when some are reluctant to accept Western firms and Western values, the government in the UAE is very much in favor of outside investment. It would be fascinating to watch if these forward-thinking policies continue in the medium to long term because there is no doubt that many see the UAE as a stepping stone to the region.


The business landscape in the UAE has evolved considerably over the last decade and the effect of Western enterprises and Western investors is obvious for everyone to see. This is expected to continue into the future notwithstanding some negative comments from some professionals in the field of international business.

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