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 non-Sharia compliant marriages to mandatory unemployment insurance, here are the four new rules introduced in 2023 you should know about:

Involuntary loss of employment scheme

The Involuntary Loss of Employment (ILOE) Scheme came into effect as of January 1 2023 and is a form of social security that will provide workers with up to three months of compensation if they lose their jobs.

The scheme applies to all Emirati and foreign workers in the private and public sector. Employees working in free zones are exempt. There is a grace period of six months (until Friday, June 30 2023) to subscribe in the ILOE.

The compensation is calculated at up to 60 per cent of the employee’s salary.

According to the Cabinet Resolution No. 97 of 2022 , UAE employees that fail to subscribe to the insurance within the grace period will be required to pay a fine of Dhs400 imposed by the Ministry, and a fine of Dhs200 in case the insured fails to pay the prescribed insurance premiums for more than three months.

Find out how to enroll here: Everything you need to know about the UAE Unemployment Insurance Scheme

30 per cent tax removed from alcohol

The 30 per cent tax was removed from all alcohol purchases in 2023, effective from Sunday, January 1 2023. Liquor stores African & Eastern and MMI immediately dropped their prices for consumers buying from shops.

Alcohol licenses are also now free to obtain since Sunday, January 1.  Those looking to apply will just need their Emirates ID for residents, or passport for tourists.  The mandatory alcohol license for all non-Muslims was previously Dhs270 per year.

Huge updates to marriage laws

The new Federal Personal Status Law allows non-Muslim couples to marry in a non-Sharia legal process. Since February 2022, non-Muslim couples in Abu Dhabi have been able to tie the knot in the civil court, in a similar way to a registry office wedding in the UK or Europe. From February 1, 2023 this became a UAE-wide law.

As per the new decree, either spouse will now be able to ask to the court to end the marriage, without proving a party as at fault, or justify the need to end the marriage. Divorces may be granted after one hearing, and it won’t be required to go through family guidance counselling, nor meditation sessions that were previously required.

If a divorcing couple has children, joint and equal custody of the children will automatically be granted until the children are 18 years old. Where there are custody disputes, the court can take further action and involvement, with consideration always given to the child or children’s best interests. If witness testimony is required, a woman’s testimony to be equal to that of a man.

The new law allows non-Muslims to register wills at the same time as their marriage certificate, which will allow them to give their property to whoever they wish.

New corporate tax law

Effective from the financial year starting on or after June 2023, businesses in the UAE will be subject to corporate tax, which will impose a standard rate of 9 per cent on taxable profits exceeding Dhs375,000. Profits up to this threshold will be taxed at a zero percent rate to support small businesses and startups.