Important updates relevant to residents…

Each year, the UAE makes significant changes to its laws to make it easier for residents to enjoy life in Dubai. From pregnancies outside of marriage, to relaxed sentences for drug offences, here are five new rules introduced in 2022 you should know about.

A shift in the working week

Announced at the end of 2021 and implemented from Monday January 3, 2022, the UAE government moved to a four-and-a-half day working week. The system applies to all government entities and sees the previous Friday – Saturday weekend replaced with a half day on a Friday, and Saturday and Sunday the new weekend days. Public and private schools have also adopted the same four-and-a-half day week.

While this was only mandatory for the public sector, many private sector companies have followed suit in moving the weekend to Saturday and Sunday in line with the global norm, so if you’re starting a job in the UAE, it’s likely that you’ll have Saturday and Sunday as your weekend days. Some companies have also adopted the half day on a Friday, although again this was not a mandatory move.

Huge updates to labour law

Federal Decree-Law No 33 of 2021, which was announced on Monday November 15, 2021, came into effect in February 2022 and gives people in the private sector ‘the chance to opt for temporary and flexible work, freelance jobs, condensed working hours and shared jobs’. Employees can now work part time, job share, take on temporary work or work for more than one employer for a specified number of working hours or days.

With a new option for condensed working hours, in effect, if an employee works 40 hours a week as per their contract, they can now perform all 40 hours in three days, if they wish.

New residents no longer get visa stickers in passports

Officials announced in April that the UAE residency visa process was set to be updated, with Emirates ID cards replacing the need for a visa stamp in the passport. Since May 16, Emirates ID cards have officially replaced residence visa stickers across all emirates – except Dubai. Rather than needing residency details on the new resident’s visa sticker in a passport, all relevant residency-related information is stored within Emirates ID cards, meaning only this needs to be applied for when processing a new visa. However in Dubai, these two applications will continue to be processed separately, at least for now. It’s expected that Dubai will join the rest of the UAE in replacing the passport visa stamp in due course.

Rental cheques go digital in Dubai

In July, the Dubai Land Department (DLD) announced a partnership with Emirates NBD that will see the system of paying rent by cheque replaced with online payments. Using the Central Bank of the UAE’s Direct Debit System (UAEDDS), tenants will automatically be able to pay their rent through online banking, rather than post-dated cheques. Moving from a manual to an automated digital system is set to benefit landlords and property management companies, as well as tenants. Landlords and property managers will no longer have to deal in post-dated cheques, while tenants will have a more options for flexible payments. It’s also part of the Dubai Government’s wider vision to become a paperless society.

Reformed visa system

In April, the UAE cabinet announced major changes to the UAE visa system, which will see new entry visas simplified to 10 options, with more benefits for visitors and residents. These were implemented from October 3. Among the biggest news for visitors entering the UAE is that tourist visas are now valid for 60 days.

For residents, the expansion of the golden visa makes it easier for more residents to apply for a 10-year visa, such as public and real estate investors, exceptional talents, scientists and frontline heroes.There’s also a new five-year UAE green visa option that alloows the holder to sponsor him or herself for five years without the need for company sponsorship, as well as offering an array of benefits to family members. Three categories of UAE resident can apply for the green visa are freelancers or those who are self employed, investors or partners in commercial businesses, and highly skilled workers. Several visas, including the one-year remote working visa, five-year retirement visa and two-year real estate owner visa require no sponsor and can be renewed for the same period.