Dubai is the heart of the business world, and it is a fact considering the growth registered in the last two decades, making this city the centre of modern economic trade. It is not only an inflexion point but also a trading hub of the world. As the competitive ranking of this city grows, starting a business becomes difficult for firm owners due to the local reforms and the quality of the business expectations.
Local Sponsor in UAE
An entrepreneur/ business owner can start a mainland, free zone or an offshore company. So to be part of the leading commercial area, the business has to be part of the mainland. Local sponsorship in Dubai is compulsory if the owner is of foreign origin and wants to operate the business in Dubai mainland. To run an LLC company, the business owner must nominate a local service agent or a partner owning a majority equity shareholding of 51% or more according to UAE Companies Law and civil law. A local service agent or a sponsor is an Emirati or UAE national who acts as a sleeping partner of your company.
UAE legislation makes it mandatory for foreign business owners to have a local sponsor appointed for representative dealings with the ministries and the government for getting the paperwork done. Hence finding a suitable local partner becomes an inevitable challenge for the foreign investor.
Different Types of Sponsorship available to a Foreign Investor
There are different types of local sponsorship available in Dubai. They are -
Local Service Agent
When professionals such as Artists, Doctors or Engineers wish to set up their business for offering service, a local service agent must represent the company in all administrative matters. The local service agent, in this case, does not hold 51% of the business but paid annually and is appointed for the sole purpose of liaising with the government departments and authorities to obtain a visa, labour and immigration approvals and complete other necessary paperwork. The remuneration received by the local service agent is a matter of commercial agreement and also depends on the social standing of the family of the local service agent.
Following are the cases when a local service agent can be appointed:
- For Branch office of foreign companies
- For representative offices
- Professional licenses.
In simple term, this type of sponsorship happens when a UAE company owned by Emirati's or UAE nationals hold 51% of the shares of an organization owned by a group of individuals of foreign origin. Here the P &L is shared by both the parties, and the type of company setup is LLC, manufacturing unit or a trading company.
This is the most common form of sponsorship which is available in Dubai. An Emirati or a UAE national becomes a sponsor and may or may not be part of the operating business. An Emirati will hold 51% of the firm's share and can hand over a power of attorney to the foreign partner for a fixed fee.
Benefits of Having a Local Agent in Dubai
There are many advantages of having a local sponsor for your mainland business in Dubai –
No Interference from the Sponsor
With corporate sponsorship, entrepreneurs maintain complete control over their business, despite the sponsor holding a narrow majority of shares. As a rule, corporate sponsors do not get involved in the day-to-day running of the company, allowing business owners to continue to have full management of their staff, clients, and service offering.
100% of the Financial Benefits
Much like an individual sponsor, a corporate UAE mainland sponsor becomes a 51% shareholder in the company. However, one of the major benefits of this option is that you, as the business owner, retain 100% of the financial benefits.
In-depth Proactive Contracts
Side agreements are often a difficult part of the process. Luckily, this is another area in which corporate sponsorship may be advantageous. Many corporate sponsors offer detailed contracts drafted by first-tier legal counsel so that the rights of business owners and their shareholders are fully protected.
Companies often worry that about the contractual situation when they choose a local sponsor. What will happen if the local sponsor dies or changes his/her mind? Dealing with a business entity helps foreign owners to have confidence in the rigidity of the contractual agreement. From the corporate governance perspective, having a corporate/ business entity as a local partner have more benefits than an individual sponsor. A corporate nominee sponsorship is executed based on the specific terms of the firm.
How can we help?
At Commitbiz, we try to delve deeper into these challenges faced by foreign investors and business owners and provide a strategic solution for the organization's benefit. We believe in accuracy and smooth execution. Hence, if you would like to know further about local sponsorship in Dubai, contact us today or get in touch with our team at [email protected]
How should I search for a local sponsor in Dubai?
Finding a local sponsor who is trustworthy, efficient & reliable is time-consuming, especially for a foreigner.
That's why it is recommended to seek assistance from a Business Incorporation company from UAE since they’re more well versed witH UAE’s market.
If you’re looking for fast, efficient, and affordable services for your business setup needs, you should contact Commitbiz Management Consultants.
Can I acquire a Trade License without any Local Sponsor?
There are many ways -
Forming a professional services business in Mainland Dubai.
Setup your business in a UAE Freezone.
Which businesses fall under the professional trade license in Dubai?
Businesses where you’re selling your skills/ expertise/ knowledge for money, such businesses will require a professional license.
For example - Doctors, Engineers, Lawyers, etc.
What are the rules and regulations for obtaining a professional license in Dubai Mainland?
Owners of the business should have the professional qualifications for running the business.
If the business is formed as a result of a partnership then the business partners need to be practicing the same business activities.
Businesses that have received a professional license cannot get involved in any business activities outside consultancy or service-based businesses.
For which industries in Dubai is it necessary to appoint a local sponsor?
Water & Electricity
Air & Road transport
Medical retail business
Blood banks, quarantine centers, poison banks
Printing & Publishing
Oil & Gas extraction