Newsletter November 2022

Dear Friends and Clients,

In the 17 years of our activity in the UAE we are experiencing the highest volume of economic emigration from Europe. Up to 5 entrepreneurs a day contact us for advice on existing options to leave Europe and start a new business in the Middle East. These entrepreneurs come from a wide range of industries. The main reasons given are: the excessive tax and administrative burden, the war in Ukraine, the energy crisis and the fear of an uncertain future.

At 68 percent, a good two-thirds fear the consequences of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, according to the trend study “Youth in Germany”. The fear of war thus displaced the previously dominant concern about climate change. Study authors Simon Schnetzer and Klaus Hurrelmann see Germany’s youth in “permanent crisis mode.” Concerns about a war in Europe have “leapt” to the top of the list of all fears and anxieties and have virtually “shocked” young people because, according to the study, this calls into question all their future prospects and destroys their previous sense of security.

But let’s not just leave these statements in the air but consider the phenomenon of fear (Angst) itself. The dictionary definition for angst is a feeling of anxiety, apprehension, or insecurity. In existentialist philosophy, the term angst carries a specific conceptual meaning. The use of the term was first attributed to Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard (1813–1855). In The Concept of Anxiety (also known as The Concept of Dread), Kierkegaard used the word Angest (in common Danish, angst, meaning “dread” or “anxiety”) to describe a profound and deep-seated condition. Where non-human animals are guided solely by instinct, said Kierkegaard, human beings enjoy a freedom of choice that we find both appealing and terrifying. It is the anxiety of understanding of being free when considering undefined possibilities of one’s life and the immense responsibility of having the power of choice over them. Kierkegaard understands anxiety (angest) to be both the attraction to and the repulsion from the nothingness of future possibilities. Thus, anxiety is not simply a psychological state, mood or feeling, but is an ontological structure essential to human beings and is the mark of human freedom.

From the perspective of Asian philosophy, fear is at the root of suffering. It is taught that all beings feel a deep sense of fear or anxiety, which stems from the fact that we resist the impermanence of our existence.

When we find ourselves in a situation that triggers fear, the first thing to do is to clarify the situation and then act. This is where Kirkwgaard’s existentialism meets Far Eastern philosophy. We are free in our decision. If we see no possibility to change the situation that frightens us, we must either resign ourselves to it or take actions that will bring us out of this situation.

When I mentioned at the beginning how many migrations of business people from Europe to Asia we are currently experiencing, this is a clear sign that such decisions are being made by many and that freedom of will manifests itself in these decisions.

Theodor Strohal

First casino in UAE to open in Ras Al Khaimah

At the start of 2022, we heard of plans for an integrated luxury resort with a mysterious “gaming area” to be built on Marjan Island in Ras Al Khaimah (see Forbes’ article “Gambling on the Cards for the UAE” ( Now it’s official as the UAE’s first casino is confirmed, making it the first country in the GCC region to build a casino. Wynn Resorts has announced that the multibillion-dollar resort on Marjan’s Dream Island, set to open in 2026, will be almost double the size of Wynn’s Las Vegas casino. The Emirate’s authorities are writing its gaming laws based on Singaporean and US regulations.

Update: UAE Unemployment Insurance Scheme

On January 1, 2023, federal government employees and private sector workers alike will be able to sign up for the mandatory Unemployment Insurance Scheme through the national insurance companies in the insurance pool represented by the Dubai Insurance company. The insurance companies that provide this service are: Dubai Insurance Company, Abu Dhabi National Insurance Company, Al Ain Ahlia Insurance Company, Emirates Insurance Company, National General Insurance Company, Orient Insurance, Abu Dhabi National Takaful Company, Oman Insurance Company, and Orient UNB Takaful Company. The subscription fees and compensation for first category employees.

Subscription fees and compensation
First Category:
Basic salary of AED 16,000 and less
Insurance cost: AED 5/month
Monthly compensation will not exceed AED 10,000

Second Category:
Basic salary exceeding AED 16,000
Insurance cost: AED 10/month
Monthly compensation will not exceed AED 20,000

Payment of fees can be done monthly, quarterly, semi-annual or on an annual basis.

New VAT exemption starting January 1

A spokesperson for the UAE’s Ministry of Finance (MOF) announced on Thursday that starting January 1 2023, board director services undertaken by natural persons across the UAE will be exempt from value-added tax (VAT). According to the Cabinet Decision amending the Executive Regulation of the Federal Decree-Law on VAT, performing the duties of a member of the board of directors at a government entity or private establishment for monetary rewards or benefits in kind is not regarded as a supply of goods and services for the purposes of VAT. However, VAT will still be applicable to the director services for legal persons serving as board members that delegate a natural person to act in the name of the legal persons as a member of the board of directors. When a legal person, such as a company, appoints an Emirati or expatriate, the respective director’s fee received by the company would not fall under the exemption and would continue to be subject to 5% VAT.

UAE Golden Visa holders can now sponsor their parents for a 10-year residency visa

Depending on the visa category, the Golden Visa can include sponsorship of spouses, children, parents and dependent siblings. For sponsoring parents, documents issued by their respective consulates stating that they are the sole caregivers for their parents must be submitted. Residents with regular visas can only sponsor their parents if they earn at least Dh20,000 (USD) or $5,445.16 (USD) per month, while those with golden visas do not need to do so. Golden Visa holders are not required to pay a deposit to sponsor parents. Children can be sponsored by Golden Visa holders without limit. Sponsorship is available for male children up to age 18. Sponsorship is provided to female children until they reach marriage age.

Birth certificates are now being issued to children with unknown fathers in the UAE

The implementation of new UAE legislation which came into effect in October, allows birth certificates to be issued to children with unknown fathers. The new law is issued under decree number 10-2022 regulating the registry of birth and death in the UAE. It guarantees children the right to obtain a birth certificate regardless of their parents’ marital status and the identity of their father. The application can be made to the Abu Dhabi Judicial Department and mothers are required to declare themselves as the mother of the child and submit the request to the court. The court will then order the birth certificate to be issued by the Ministry of Health within a few days.

The UAE remains a leader in foreign direct investment (FDI)

The first half of 2022 saw Dubai continue to maintain its top ranking as the world’s top foreign direct investment (FDI) hub, according to the Financial Times Ltd’s ‘fDi Markets’ report. A total of 492 foreign direct investment projects were initiated by the emirate in the first half of 2022, an increase of 80.2 percent from the same period in 2021. During the same period, Dubai also ranked first globally for greenfield FDI projects and remains as the leading Middle Eastern & North African (MENA) country in FDI-related employment.

UAE’s industrial and economic development is supported by a new law regulating the industry

New legislation is issued by the Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology to regulate and develop the industrial sector of the country. The law will allow to issue more incentives in the form of policies and programmes, which are linked to national strategies, some of which have already been implemented, such as the National In-Country Value programme, Industry 4.0, and the Technology Transformation Programme. It will enhance the country’s position as a global industrial hub, and contributes to the sector’s performance and growth. Through the law, entrepreneurs, SMEs, and advanced technology companies will be given greater flexibility in obtaining industrial licences, particularly in terms of employees and investment size. Furthermore, the UAE will support factories in achieving quality, safety, and sustainability, as well as carbon neutrality.

Far East:

Thailand and Austria sign agreement to accelerate bilateral trade

Thailand signed an agreement with Austria to establish a joint working group on trade and economic cooperation in order to accelerate bilateral trade. Through this forum, Thailand would seek to reduce trade obstacles, stimulate shipments, and increase foreign direct investments, as well as expand private sector opportunities. In addition, Thailand hopes to expand the cooperation, especially in fields where Austria has a specialization deemed crucial to Thailand’s development, like the automotive industry, organic farming, circular economy, automation industries, machinery, robotics, textiles, and human resource development.

Singapore to implement stricter rules for energy retailers

Amidst a volatile global market, the Ministry of Trade and Industry has identified some gaps in Singapore’s energy market structure. Among these risks are disruptions in gas supply and price shocks, and the sudden exit of unprepared energy retailers. Starting 2023, the country’s Energy Market Authority will gradually implement measures to strengthen the energy market. Energy retailers will soon be required to have sufficient capital and a solid business plan before entering the market in Singapore and new generator investments will be centralized under competitive tendering to make sure sufficient power generation capacity is available.

Industry and infrastructure play a key role in Cambodia’s economic growth

The Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC) reported that various investment projects have been approved between January and October 2022, mostly in the industrial and infrastructure sectors. There were 161 projects involving the industrial and infrastructure sectors, with 41.5% involving the industrial sector and 51% involving the infrastructure sector. To encourage the growth of trade and investment on the Cambodian border and other countries, the government has increased and strengthened bilateral cooperation and organized and strengthened both soft and hard infrastructure projects. The Ministry of Economy and Finance predicted in October that Cambodia’s economy would grow at 6.6% in 2023, with the industrial sector growing at 9.2%.

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