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Ras al-Khaimah: Offshore Legal and Tax Regimes

Employment and Residence

There are no restrictions on the employment of foreign nationals in Ras al-Khaimah, although the UAE authorities are keen to see more local participation in the workforce through a policy of ‘Emiritisation’. The easiest and fastest way to set up a new business in the UAE is through a free trade zone. Otherwise, it is a mandatory requirement to register a new company’s name with the Immigration Department and the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs. Since most companies recruit their employees from abroad, they need to register a file at the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs and Immigration Department once they have received their trade licence.

Without registering with both of these departments a business cannot employ its staff. Upon registering, the company shall be issued an ‘Establishment/Labour Card’ by the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs. An ‘Establishment/Immigration Card’ can be issued by the Immigration Department.

A contract with the new employer and/or sponsor has to be signed before the application for a work/residency visa is submitted to the relevant authority. A medical check and fingerprinting have to be undertaken before a visa can be issued.

RAK Free Trade Zone provides visa sponsorship to licensed clients so they can operate a business in the UAE. The number of visas that can be issued to a company is dependent on the scale of operation, type and size of facility, type of licence and activity undertaken. Commercial and Consultancy Licences can apply for up to four visas. For Industrial Licences, the number of visas is to be decided as per project requirements. There are different types of visas for which RAK FTZ clients can apply, depending upon their individual requirements and eligibility criteria.

The following four types of visa are available in the RAK FTZ:

  • Investors or Partner Employment Visa: This is issued to a RAK FTZ Establishment owner (Investor Visa) or to a shareholder / partner in a RAK Free Zone Company where the value of shares held by the applicant is not less than Dh 50,000 (Partner Visa). This type of visa is normally valid for three years; the visa holder is not allowed to stay outside the UAE for more than six consecutive months. Investors / shareholders / partners who wish to sponsor their families need to have a minimum shareholding of Dh 75,000. There is no upper age limit stipulated for Investor or Partner Visa applicants.
  • Manager Employment Visa: This visa is issued to managers or employees of companies established at RAK FTZ, falling within the age group of 20 - 60 years. This type of visa is normally valid for three years, but the visa holder must not stay outside the UAE for more than six consecutive months.
  • Family Visa: Males already holding Employment Visas issued by RAK FTZ may apply for Family Visas to sponsor their dependents. This type of visa is normally valid for three years.
  • Visit Visa: This is a permit to enter the UAE for short periods of time and is either valid for 30 days or for 90 days, depending on the visa type applied for.
  • Visa applications and approvals are subject to change without notice and are governed by the rules and regulations of RAK FTZ and the RAK Immigration Authority.



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