Article | 17 Jul 2023

4 Reasons to Consider Freelancing in UAE

Posted in Business, Freelancer, Industry news, Top tips, Tools & Advice, UAE,

Known for remarkable buildings, awe-inspiring deserts, incredible food, and now, what it has to offer freelancers: United Arab Emirates has steadily become one of the top regions for self-employed professionals.

According to a 2022/23 study, around 86% of businesses based in MENA planned to hire freelancers throughout 2023, while some 83% of freelance professionals said demand for their expertise has gone up since the pandemic.

Why the big boom? There's no one single reason, but you could boil it down to what the UAE has to offer businesses - and what those businesses offer professionals.

In 2023, the UAE has one of the largest economies in the Middle East, and boasts low tax rates, making it all the more attractive for businesses and pros. The region also hosts branches of some of the world's largest corporations, including Microsoft, Amazon, Visa, Oracle and more.

So if you're looking to expand your client portfolio and the brands you work with, increase your take-home, or want to switch your freelancing HQ from Devon to Dubai, here are some of the best reasons to consider UAE.

#1: access to international opportunities

With big and emerging brands setting up their operations in UAE, the demand for quality, experienced talent is on the rise. And as more and more businesses deploy freelancers for an agile working model, there are great opportunities at your fingertips.

The UAE has made freelance licenses and visas fairly attainable and affordable for a reason. The license demonstrates you're a trusted professional to prospective clients, and it can mean access to certain business benefits like renting office space and opening a bank account.

Putting you in a prime position in an expansive - and growing - market.

#2: multicultural learnings and partnerships 

The world is an interconnected space, and working with individuals across different cultures naturally lends itself to expanding your skills, experience and hire-ability. From the way projects are run and success is measured, to communication styles and working behaviours.

Because the UAE is an increasingly dominant region, you're not only accessing partnerships with Executive leaders and seasoned professionals, but fellow freelancers too. You might opt to collaborate with other sole traders to expand your capabilities, or charge higher rates for more complex work.

Collaboration is key, so here are a few ways to get started.

#3: no income tax = higher take-home

Yes, you read that correctly. Unlike most other countries, the UAE doesn't levy income tax for individuals working in the region, regardless of whether you're a citizen or not, and whether you're a freelancer or formally employed by a company.

This is a strong selling point for professionals, particularly if you're self-employed. In the UK, sole traders earning over £50,271 will likely be looking at income tax rates of around 40% (at time of writing), or register as a limited company to reduce tax; even that comes with caveats and costs.

Making the UAE's income tax benefits a bit attractor.

#4: luxury, international lifestyle

Most self-employed pros will agree: a huge benefit to freelancing is having more autonomy over your everyday, with potentially more funds to make yours look exactly how you want it to. And the UAE offers the nomadic, international lifestyle that many of us find ourselves looking for.

It can be easy to think we're only referring to a certain type of lifestyle. Exclusive clubs, poolside resorts, top tier cars and so on. If that's your scene, UAE can offer it. But we're also referring to the excellent weather, fresh foods, sandy beaches and landscapes, and everything that goes with it.

Probably a nicer picture than grey clouds.

A true startup and scaleup economy

For all the pros and benefits, there's one factor underlying all of it: the UAE's business landscape is rapidly growing, especially for startups and scaleups.

From tech to consultancy to luxury brands, businesses in all sectors are flocking to the region to make the most of the boom, and of the quality talent following suit. So if you're looking for an emerging market with ample opportunities, UAE could be at the top of your list.

If you're considering freelancing in the United Arab Emirates - or need a professional to accelerate your business in the territory - we can help.

Our team's been working in the UAE market for a number of years, and can help guide you and your venture through your next steps. Contact our team today to find out more.