The Dubai Municipality has announced it is ready to make all future contracts digital. They will become the first Government agency to do so. It comes as the Dubai Government looks to go completely paperless. The Municipality is waiting for legal authorisation before it starts issuing the first digital contracts. It means contractors and suppliers will be able to agree deals digitally with the Municipality by securing approvals and making electronic signatures.
The Registration Authority of Abu Dhabi’s Global Market has announced it has issued new Employment Regulations 2019 and Compensation Awards and Limits Rules 2019. The Regulations will come into force on 1 January 2020.
It follows a public consultation earlier this year on proposed amendments to the 2015 Regulations and have been drafted taking into account international standards.
The key changes introduced by the Regulations and Rules include new overtime provisions for employees, aligning certain employees’ entitlements with those onshore, including repatriation flight tickets and sick leave, changes allowing employers and employees more flexibility in negotiating notice periods, introducing protective provisions for those aged between 15 and 18 and introducing a discretionary power to the Market Courts to impose penalties on employers for failing to pay employees’ entitlements due on termination.
DIFC has launched a public consultation on proposed amendments related to the Employee Workplace Savings plan.
The Dubai International Financial Centre has announced it has launched a public consultation on proposed amendments to the 2019 Employment Law. The consultation ends on 18 November 2019. The proposed amendments relate to the Employee Workplace Savings plan. If approved, all employers based in the Centre will have to pay mandatory contributions into the scheme or into an alternative qualifying scheme. The requirements for these alternative qualifying schemes will require employers to make mandatory contributions towards employees’ end-of-service benefits and which will allow Centre employees to add their own savings as voluntary contributions. The Centre has also launched a consultation on proposed Employment Regulations which state the mandatory requirements for a qualifying scheme.
Weekly Spotlight: Draft Cryptoasset Regulations Published by UAE’s Securities and Commodities Authority
The UAE’s Securities and Commodities Authority has published draft cryptoasset regulations. Investors, brokers, financial analysts, researchers, media personnel and other interested parties have until 29 October to provide their feedback on them.
The Regulations will encompass all aspects of the crypto assets industry in the UAE ranging from token issuing requirements to trading and safekeeping practices with an emphasis on protecting investor interests to ensure compliance with financial crime prevention measures, cryptoasset sake-keeping standards, information security controls, technology governance practices and conduct of business requirements for all market intermediaries.
Standards and requirements for a wide range of market participants like issuers of securities, investors including qualified investors, custodians, crypto trading platforms, brokers and promoters engaged in crypto asset industry are also covered.
Once they are implemented, market participants will be able to request guidance on specific token issues and regulatory requirements from the Authority as a part of an e-Services System launched by them. The Authority may amend the draft regulations before, on or after this deadline as they are not final.
Dubai’s Deputy Ruler has announced the launch of a virtual and global business license. It will be available to 101 countries and is the region’s first virtual business license. It will allow freelancers and business people across the world access to a regulated ecommerce platform and allow them to work easily with Dubai-based companies and explore new markets and investment opportunities remotely. It is hoped it is will bring more than 100,000 companies to the Emirate in the creative industries, technology and services sectors. Applications can be submitted to www.vccdubai.ae or through VFS Global offices in 11 locations globally.
Dubai Healthcare City-registered companies can now register onshore. They will only be able to register onshore if they have successfully applied for a no-objection certificate from the Dubai Healthcare City Authority-Regulatory and successfully obtained a commercial permit from Dubai’s Economic Development Department. The regulatory changes are part of new regulations developed by the City and the Economic Development Department.
The UAE’s Central Bank has launched a consultation on a draft regulation on loan-based Crowdfunding Platforms or CFPs. The consultation ends on 10 October 2019. The aim is to establish a framework for licensing, regulating and monitoring loan-based CFPs and to set out the standards the Central Bank expects them to meet. The framework and standards are aimed at protecting the country’s financial system from the risks posed by CFPs and protect consumer interests in the country. It is also aimed at developing the FinTech sector in the UAE. If approved, it will apply to person(s) wherever they are domiciled who in engage in loan-based CFP operations in the UAE except in the Financial Free Zones. CFPs will be categorised according to their lending volume; a. Category 1 (Large), Cumulative loans facilitated in a calendar year at 5,000,000 AED or more or b. Category 2 (Small), Cumulative loans facilitated in a calendar year are below 5,000,000 AED. An applicant wishing to undertake loan-based CFP activities must apply to the Central Bank for a license and if their application is approved, they must undertake to provide a bank guarantee drawn in favour of the Central Bank and issued by a locally incorporated UAE bank of value equal to the required paid-up capital, among other things.
Abu Dhabi’s Global Market Registration Authority has announced it has introduced a new instant license renewal service. The service will allow registered entities to complete license renewals via the Online Registry Solution, once a renewal form is submitted. Companies will also be able to continue to use the platform to lodge their other annual filing requirements in line with the Companies Regulations 2015. The aim is to improve business efficiency and make it easier to do business in the Centre.
The UAE has announced it has joined the US-led International Maritime Security Construct following recent tanker attacks in the region. The Construct is aimed at protecting maritime navigation and international trade. The Director of the International Security Cooperation Department at the Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Ministry made the announcement. The Construct’s task force is headquartered in Bahrain and its members include the US, UK, Australia and Bahrain.
Kuwait’s Trade and Industry Minister has issued a Decision as well, raising the security level at all of the country’s oil and commercial ports. ‘All’ measures must be taken to protect these facilities.
Recently, with the announcement of Sheikh Mohammed of the new Government plan which included the need to focus on Emiratisation there have been a number of statements made on this issue. Speaking at a meeting to implement the plan, the Deputy Prime Minister, stated that some institutions have been ‘manipulating’ Emiratisation figures and jeopardising the country’s stability in the process. He has added a new way of thinking and a new vision is needed in this area. There will also be greater scrutiny of institutions who are manipulating Emiratisation figures. In addition, the Ruler of Sharjah has announced a new Emiratisation Department will be set up in that Emirate which will be responsible for the hiring of Emiratis in the private sector. In addition, private sector employers with Emirati employees will have to deposit their salaries with the Government who will then pass the money on to Emirati employees after having made sure those salaries match equivalents in the public sector.
This week, Sheikh Mohammed, Ruler of Dubai and Vice President of the UAE, issued an open letter to citizens and residents explaining legislative and regulatory priorities. These included taking a firm stance on Emiratisation, placing controls on property development and ensuring the countries reputation was not damaged by use of social media. As a result, the Cabinet has instructed the National Media Council to control social media sites and ordered the Government Communication Office of the General Secretariat of the Cabinet to monitor live news and social media feeds. In addition, following on from this open letter, Sheikh Hamdan, Crown Prince of Dubai has instructed the General Secretariat of the Executive Council to lead efforts on Emiratisation and has given them a deadline of two weeks to issue a plan with initiatives.