Dubai’s International Financial Centre has proposed various legislative amendments, including amendments to its Employment Law. They have also proposed amendments to its Trust Law, Foundations Law and Operating Law.
The DIFC has launched a consultation on these proposed amendments and the consultation ends on 29 September 2023. The proposed changes are aimed at ensuring the DIFC legislation remains aligned with international best practices and Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) requirements.
The Centre is also proposing amendments to its Operating Regulations to strengthen the Registrar of Companies’ (RoC) powers to regulate entities that operate outside of standard business hours. In terms of the Employment Law, the Centre is proposing amending Part 10 of DIFC Law No. 2/2019 to require DIFC employers of eligible GCC nationals to make top-up payments into a Qualifying Scheme, in addition to GPSSA contributions.
This will mean DIFC employers have to pay the positive difference into a Qualifying Scheme where there is a shortfall between what would have been payable into a scheme if the individual had not been a GCC national, and what is paid under the GPSSA.
Monthly payments are subject to a de minimis threshold of 1,000 AED.
Other amendments deal with situations where a Qualifying Scheme is prohibited from accepting contributions from an Employer, or in respect of an Employee, as a result of sanctions prohibitions.
The Centre is proposing amending the Trust Law (DIFC Law No. 11/2005) and Foundations Law (DIFC Law No. 3/2018) in terms of the DIFC Courts’ rights of jurisdiction over the administration of DIFC Trusts. The Centre is also proposing amending the Foundations Law to expand the role of Registered Agents, to allow them to enter into an arrangement with the RoC to provide certain compliance functionality on behalf of a Foundation. This is already allowed for corporate service providers under the Prescribed Company and Family Office regimes.
The amendments to the Operating Law (DIFC Law No. 7/2018) relate to OECD requirements regarding record retention following the winding up of an entity and an update to the definition of Privileged Communication.
The amendments to the Operating Regulations are aimed at providing the ROC with specific powers to deal with bars and restaurants that operate late hours and may disturb other DIFC tenants through noise or other anti-social behaviour.
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