Nabbesh was interviewed on DubaiEye 103.8FM today alongside Sara Khoja, partner at Clyde & Co to talk about the legalities of freelancing in the UAE and how to get started. The below is a summary of the discussion:

It’s no secret that unemployment is high in the region with a need to create 100 million jobs by 2020.  Particular risk segments are women and youth.   Certain countries have extremely low participation rates for example Saudi.  To enable participation in the workforce, Nabbesh offers the opportunity to find and apply for freelance and part time jobs.  With over 12,000 registered users and growing, its clear that a gap is being filled.

In the UAE, many people are here because their partner is here on full time work, they want to be proactive in working but often have certain restraints that prevent them from working full time in an office for most of the day.  Family and cultural considerations are often not taken into account.  Many of these people are highly educated with experience in other parts of the world and are finding ways to work through Nabbesh. Typically people are not fully aware of the jurisdiction surrounding non full time work.  Since December 2010 however there has been a move by the government to allow various types of work permits, freelance licenses, part time work permits and more.  The best way to get started is to think about how you want to work, for example fully self employed or part time, and this will determine the type of license you need.

SME’s are responsible for the majority of business in the region, and we see that trend on Nabbesh.  Many of the employers looking for talent have financial and time restraints where they either need to fill a job urgently for a particular campaign or they don’t have the budget for a full time person. Nabbesh has been quite successful in fulfilling posts within a very short time frame, in some cases as little as 24 hours.

For people who are looking to transition into freelance (people already on their spouses visa) or students who have graduated you can get part time work permits from the ministry of labour for 3 months up to a year.  If you already employed you can do work part time in the UAE but you would need a no objection certificate from the employer.

If someone is coming to the end of their job here in the UAE and looking for freelance – what should they do to ensure they can stay here?  Firstly the employer is under duty to cancel the work permit and residency visa, and the individual has 30 days to find another sponsor or leave the country.  Within that period they need to register as a freelancer, many freezones have freelance licences, they don’t require a huge capital investment.  The other way is to secure a part time job with an organization and work that way until you figure out what you want to do.  Many part time positions are advertised on Nabbesh and can be found easily using the search functions.  For employers they should have evidence of the freelancers being properly licensed, if not, the company would be potentially liable for employing people unlawfully and could be fined.

A recent Employee retention survey done for the MENA region showed that  55% of respondents wanted to leave their jobs immediately.  Freelancing will play a more important role moving forward as it gives people the opportunity to work on things they love, not on things they have to do to get by.  These days, where job security isn’t as tight as before, freelancing is a good way to maintain your income and keep your skills up to speed.  We recently wrote about what employers are most affected by, and being out of work for 6 months or longer was the most decisive factor for employers to pass over a candidate for potential employment.

In short, the opportunities for freelancers are growing daily.  We are making it easier for both individuals and employers to meet and do business more efficiently.  To find out more and to keep up with the conversation follow #freelancesummit on Twitter, and join us at the first Freelance Summit in Dubai at The Shelter, May 8th.

Got questions? Let us know!

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