UAE allows 100 pct foreign ownership of businesses

Beginning Dec. 1 this year, expats and foreign investors can have 100 percent ownership of businesses in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the official WAM news agency reported on Monday.

UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan on Monday issued a decree to scrap the need to have UAE nationals as business sponsors and amend Law No. 2 of 2015 on commercial companies in the UAE, WAM said.

The new decree is a step towards improving the position of the UAE regionally and globally as an attractive destination for investments as foreign investors can now fully own companies or open branches in the UAE without an Emirati sponsor.

In recent months, the UAE has made several legislative amendments to maintain its progressive growth and boost the country’s competitive advantage in attracting foreign capital to the Arab world’s second largest economy.

Among the amendments is the abolition of a requirement for onshore companies to have a major UAE shareholder, which gives companies more flexibility as they can now operate anywhere in the country.

Moreover, the UAE has also removed the provision requiring a UAE national or a UAE-owned company as an agent as well as the stipulation requiring a company chair to be an Emirati and the board of directors to be an Emirati majority.

The new law, however, will not apply to some companies that are excluded based on decisions by the Cabinet and those that are either wholly-owned by federal or local governments or their subsidiaries.