According to international media reports, a special judicial committee will be established to hear legal claims involving Meydan. Meydan is a Government-owned developer. The media reports went on to say the Government suspended all claims against Meydan City Corporation in June as well as its subsidiaries and associated entities. According to the reports, Government insiders have said the Committee could be established this month and will hear and resolve all pending claims against Meydan in two years. It is estimated there are 40 claims to be heard.
The DIFC has announced it has introduced an Employee Workplace Savings scheme. It will come into force in January 2020. Under the scheme, end-of-service benefits in the Centre will migrate from a defined benefit to a funded contribution plan. Employers will be able to opt-out of the scheme in certain circumstances, provided they have been provided with a qualifying alternative scheme certificate by the DIFC Registrar of Companies. The guidelines on this will be provided after 15 September.
A global trust services provider, Equiom will be the master trustee of the scheme, while Zurich Middle East has been appointed scheme administrator. Zurich will be assisted by Mercer as an investment adviser and Smart Pension as a technology services provider.
Ahead of the rollout a DEWS Supervisory Board will be established and its members will be representatives from the DIFC Authority, employer and employee representatives and non-affiliated individuals.
The Board will settle the DEWS trust and the scheme rules with the chosen service providers and oversee the continuing governance and commercial aspects of the scheme which are not subject to regulatory supervision. The regulatory aspects of the master trustee and scheme administrator’s duties will be overseen by the Dubai Financial Services Authority
The UAE has a new work permit which allows men sponsored by a family member to work. While the General Directorate of Foreign Residency Affairs has previously allowed women working in professional jobs to sponsor their husband on a dependent visa, the husbands were not legally allowed to work. As a result women who had jobs in these categories often ended up living alone as sponsoring husbands who could not work was often an additional financial burden. This now looks likely to change.
The DIFC has announced changes to will registration rules for non-Muslims, which will now accommodate all resident and investor assets across the whole of the Emirates, and assets held outside the UAE which will be effective from 1 July 2019.
Those wishing to take advantage of this change will be able to amend existing wills registered with the courts free of charge until 31 August 2019. The Wills Service Centre is a joint initiative of the Government of Dubai and the DIFC Courts which gives non-Muslims living and investing in the UAE the option to pass on their assets and or appoint guardians for their children, in accordance with the instructions in their Will.
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.
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.
The UAE’s Cabinet has approved revisions to the country’s foreign investment rules which will see 100% foreign ownership allowed in 13 sectors and 122 areas of economic activity in the country. The aim is to encourage more foreign investment into the country and improve the country’s growth. These sectors include renewable energy, space, agriculture and manufacturing. Investors will also be provided with an opportunity to buy various shares in various economic activities including the production of solar panels, power transformers, green technology and hybrid power plants. It also includes transport and storage, to allow investors to own projects in ecommerce transport, supply chain, logistics and cold storage for pharmaceutical products. The governments of the individual Emirates will determine the ownership percentage of foreign investors in these activities.