Ras al Khaimah’s Government has announced it has formally established the Emirate’s Petroleum Authority. The Government has also announced they have officially launched the Emirate’s first petroleum licensing round which will be supported by the Emirate’s Oil Company, RAK Gas. Bids will be invited until November 2018 and data rooms cam be reserved in the Emirate and London. The Authority will be responsible for the licensing round tendering process and the management of petroleum rights.
Abu Dhabi City’s Municipality has urged all contractors to register their property units as early as possible. The Municipality has also called on property owners to respond to property developer requests regarding their updated details and documents. The Municipality’s calls follow the issuing of Abu Dhabi Circular No. 2/2018 which gave all property developers until 14 March 2018 to complete any outstanding cases and register all property deals in the Municipality’s Property Register. The aim is to facilitate the implementation of the Emirate’s Real Estate Law (Abu Dhabi Law No. 3/2015) which came into force on 1 January 2016.
This week the spotlight is on regulatory developments in the Qatar Financial Centre (QFC), where the QFC Regulatory Authority has launched a consultation on proposals to introduce requirements for rule-based ongoing monitoring of close links and annual reporting of these links for QFC authorised firms. The consultation ends on 9 May 2018. These proposals are relevant to all QFC authorised firms and if approved would apply from July 2018.
The Regulatory Authority is proposing to amend the General Rules to include ongoing requirements relating to an authorised firm’s close links, including introducing systems and control requirements for the ongoing monitoring of changes to an authorised firm’s close links. They are also proposing requirements for authorised firms to submit an annual report to the Regulatory Authority about its close links (to be submitted with the annual controllers report). In addition they are suggesting a new definition for close links in Chapter 8 of the General Rules which would expand monitoring and reporting requirements to links between two or more persons who are linked through a holding or subsidiary company structure or through ownership or control of 10% or more of their voting rights or shares. Finally they are proposing clarifying the application of various Parts of Chapter 8 of the General Rules and consequential changes to the Interpretation and Application Rules 2005.
Following the launch of a new National Family Policy, the UAE’s Community Development Minister, Hessa Bint Eisa Bu Humaid has announced a draft paternity leave law is under consideration. As part of the policy there are 36 initiatives which have been implemented between the Federal and local authorities. These initiatives cover educational programmes, consultations and training and are part of the UAE Vision 2021 and UAE Centennial Strategy 2071.
Abu Dhabi’s authorities have dissolved the Abu Dhabi Water & Electricity Authority and transferred its assets and functions to a new Energy Department. The Regulation & Supervision Bureau, which oversees water, waste water and electricity in the Emirate has also become part of the new Energy Department. The change came into effect on 20 February 2018. It is part of a consolidation of state-owned bodies and follows Abu Dhabi’s Ruler issuing a series of laws establishing a number of government departments for the Emirate, including the Department of Energy last month.
Weekly Spotlight: New Ministerial Decision in the UAE Allowing Companies to Hire Employees on a Part-Time Basis
This week the spotlight is on employment law developments in the UAE, where the country’s Human Resources and Emiratisation Ministry has announced it has issued a Decision allowing companies to hire employees on a part-time basis. It is hoped the change will create a more flexible labour market in the country and reduce the country’s dependency on expatriate employees. However, a part-time contract cannot be changed into a full-time contract unless it is terminated first. Under the Decision, part-time employees must work no more than eight hours a day and have at least one day off a week. Employees will also be able to work in first and second level skilled jobs for more than one employer providing they have obtained Ministry approval. They will not need the approval of either their original or new employer.
Elsewhere, according to local newspaper reports, the application of the Good Conduct Certificate requirement has been extended. It now applies to existing workers in the country who are switching jobs regardless of their length of service. This dispels rumours in February 2018 the requirement would not apply to this category. It means Filipino and Indonesian domestic workers are now the only ones exempt from the requirement.
Kuwait’s Public Authority for Manpower has announced it has signed an agreement with the Kuwait Engineers Society which will see visa changes for expatriate engineers introduced. Under the agreement, expatriate engineers will not be able to renew their work permits without a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the Kuwait Society of Engineers. All engineers will be given a NOC certificate after they have passed a competence test regardless of when they entered the country and how many years they have worked.
The UAE’s President and Abu Dhabi Ruler, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan has issued a law merging the Abu Dhabi Investment Council with the Mubadala Investment Company. The new Fund will have approximately $250 billion in assets. The Mubadala Investment Company’s board of directors will now become the Abu Dhabi Investment Council’s board but the Council’s senior leadership will continue to manage the Fund and report to the Mubadala Group CEO and Managing Director, Khaldoon Khalifa al Mubarak.
Weekly Spotlight: A Mechanism for Monitoring and Inspecting Real Estate Regulatory Authority licenced entities to be established in Dubai
This week the spotlight is on legal and regulatory developments in the real estate sector in Dubai, where the Real Estate Regulatory Authority has signed an agreement with the Dubai Economic Development Department. Under the agreement, a mechanism for monitoring and inspecting Real Estate Regulatory Authority licenced entities will be established. Under the agreement, the two sides will work together to issue and impose fines on violators of the relevant regulations. The Land Department will provide all of the data and information for proper inspections, supervision and follow-up of licenced real estate facilities to be carried out. It will also provide the Economic Development Department’s Commercial Compliance and Consumer Protection Department team with all of the directives, decisions and memorandums issued to real estate companies in Dubai which clarify the relevant regulatory clauses and how they are applied. For its part the Economic Development Department’s Commercial Compliance and Consumer Protection Department will organise awareness campaigns about the relevant regulatory requirements.
Elsewhere Dubai’s Municipality Buildings Department has announced it has launched a new industrial building projects system. The aim is to ensure contractors are registered and simplify procedures for owners and customers in this sector. The new system will allow a contractor to design industrial buildings and supervise their implementation without needing to appoint a consultancy office. An awareness campaign about the new system will launch on 26 March.
The Governors of the GCC monetary agencies and Central Banks have agreed to establish a Gulf disbursements company to facilitate money transactions between them. All members have contributed to the company’s capital and are seeking specialist consultations on the payment system. The company will be headquartered in Riyadh and a secondary office will be based in Abu Dhabi. The aim is to provide a quick and safe environment for financial transactions between them.