Salary and not job title is now the basis for residence visa applications for both male and female expats wanting to sponsor family members in the UAE, the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (FAIC) has clarified. Some women had been told by authorities in Dubai that only certain professions were eligible to sponsor their families. An FAIC spokesperson has now stated all expats male or female can now sponsor their spouse or children, provided they earn a monthly salary of 4,000 AED or at least 3,000 AED and have accommodation supplied by their employer. A FAIC official explained that the reason for the confusion was that a government website still states the previous requirements because it has not been updated yet.
The new UAE Foreign Direct Investment Law is a key development in terms of foreign ownership in the UAE.
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Abu Dhabi’s Global Market Financial Services Regulatory Authority has announced it has issued new digital investment manager or robo-advisor regulations. These advisors or managers provide investment management services using algorithm-based tools and technology.
The Regulations cover the regulatory permissions which may be required to provide digital investment services in or from the Global Market and how the Financial Services Regulatory Authority will apply its authorisation criteria in technology governance, suitability and disclosure and newer areas like algorithm governance. The Authority’s requirements on algorithm governance, are closely calibrated to match international best practices and incorporate principles of fairness, transparency and accountability. These include requirements for human oversight over the design, performance and security of the algorithm model, ensuring the algorithm model is not affected by possible behavioural biases, adequate safeguards to protect the integrity of the algorithm model and ensuring the outcomes produced by the algorithm model are explainable, traceable and repeatable.
The Authority will allow digital investment managers to hold lower prudential capital if they meet the stipulated criteria and requirements.
According to reports, the Dubai Municipality is going to delay the introduction of compulsory calorie information on menus in the Emirate. In May, a Circular was issued to all food outlets requiring this information to be shown which would have made Dubai the first Emirate to do so. The Municipality has decided to make displaying the information optional for the next two years and then make a Decision.
Saudi Arabia’s Cabinet has approved a Decision allowing shops and restaurants to open 24 hours a day. The Decision has prompted confusion over whether shops will have to close five times a day for daily prayers. Entities wanting to open for 24 hours a day will also have to pay a fee to do so. The Municipal and Rural Affairs Ministry will set the fee and state which activities can benefit from the Decision.
Kuwait’s Communications and Information Technology Regulatory Authority has announced it is accepting applications for a virtual telecommunications operator in the country. When the license for this virtual operator is issued, they will be the fourth telecommunications provider in the country. They will join Ooredoo, Viva and Zain. Applications have to be submitted by 14 November and the successful applicant will be announced by 6 February 2020.
Bahrain’s King has directed the Prime Minister to expand quota preferences given to SMEs in Government procurement and tenders and in service facilities in Government entities. The Cabinet has decided the current quota of 10% of companies bidding for provision of Government services should be expanded to include tenders. The same percentage will apply. The Cabinet supported the measure following a review of the memorandum submitted by the Ministerial Legal and Legislative Affairs Committee.
Saudi Arabia’s Commerce and Investment Minister has announced the Franchise and Government Procurement Laws will be issued by the end of August this year. The Shoura Council approved the laws in March. The Franchise Law will govern the relationship between franchisors and franchisees. The Government Procurement Law aims to regulate the procedures related to business and procurement and prevent abuses of power and vested interests.
The Omani Government is considering a new Securities Law to help the securities market grow in the Sultanate. The draft is being reviewed by the Legal Affairs Ministry. It is expected to be approved and discussed by the end of the first quarter of 2020. If approved, there will be a Capital Market Law and a separate Securities Law. It will allow the roll-out of a diverse range of instruments for trading and investment in the securities market which will include derivatives such as swaps, forwards, futures, mortgage-backed securities and options. None of these can be traded in Oman at the moment. Trading in commodity derivatives, currency swaps, interest rate futures, credit default swaps, CFDs and international indices will also be allowed and Trusts will be introduced. They will provide a vehicle to Collective Investment Schemes. It will allow crowdfunding for small and medium enterprises to raise finance for their operations and growth.
The UAE’s Infrastructure Development Minister and Chairman of the Federal Transport Authority has announced amendments to the country’s existing maritime law are being considered. They are aimed at improving maritime operations in the country and encouraging more investment into the sector.
If approved, it will amend Federal Law No. 26/1981 and has been circulated for consultation and feedback. Some of the relevant parties have provided their feedback but feedback from others is pending. The amended law is expected to come into force early next year. Among other things, it will allow those who want to own maritime businesses to own 100% of them and will also introduce a new dispute resolution system. The new dispute resolution centres will report to the Federal Transport Authority. In addition, it will update the maritime lien rules and establish a maritime navigation chamber. They will be responsible for representing private sector interests and a new maritime development fund will also be set up. The chamber will also become a member of the International Chamber of Navigation.