The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has firmly established itself as a reputable country to conduct your business in. In the last decade or so, the country has seen tremendous growth in terms of foreign investment, business development, and job opportunities.
While the business continues to grow, the business development experts are looking to keep the business costs at a low; especially since the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted a lot of things across the globe.
Understanding Importance of Freelancers for Businesses
According to the industry sources, widening the scope of the UAE’s freelance visas can potentially lead to opening up more opportunities for new talents to come in and shine. The experts claim that doing so, can have a massive impact on the future salary and reward structures for employees as the easy availability for freelancers creates a lot of options for businesses and organizations.
Speaking on this matter, Vijay Gandhi who is a regional director at Korn Ferry, a specialist HR consultancy, said:
“A bigger talent pool helps companies control costs by stopping unsustainable salary rise.” He further added that “It can be a company that is unwilling to commit to a full-time worker and wants to remain flexible in its approach. The increasingly mobile workforce means individual staffers may not be retained in the long-term.”
Proof of Concept
This approach has been adopted in local tech projects and in advertising, the two categories which are solely responsible for helping the culture of freelancers develop. This progress has not gone unnoticed by the UAE authorities and they recently announced that they will be adding more features to the freelancer visa status. This is a progressive move that could ultimately pave way for more skillsets to become available in the freelancer pool.
Addressing this development, Gandhi said:
“Depending on the experience and background, companies definitely need freelancing services to cover maternity leaves, illnesses, increased workloads, or a specialized skill that is needed on a short-term basis. Many business leaders are thinking to increase their freelance and contract workers is a way to deal with talent shortages.”
Free Zones Embracing the Change
Atik Munshi, a Managing Partner at FinExpertiza Global, sees the latest UAE announcements on visa categories as a “gradual move from an (employer) sponsored system of residence visas to a system of self or state sponsorship. Then a person’s residence in the country is no longer tied up with a company job. Plus, the residency status will thus not be impacted if the person loses the job.”
As of now, the average cost for a freelancer visa remains at Dh11,000 per year, as evident from the comprehensive detailing above. There is a great chance that these costs can come down drastically as free zones are starting to embrace this change; the free zones will soon start offering competitive rates which will continue to help the freelancers — a mutually beneficial relationship. This trend is already evident as Abu Dhabi has already dropped its fee to Dh1,000.
“We still need to wait to find the eligibility criteria and requirements from the authorities,’ said Munshi. “The freelance and Green visa holders are expected to have similar benefits as Golden visa holders.
“Earlier, freelance visas were issued by UAE free zones for persons having special skills like a photographer, painter, author, etc., operating under a corporate setup and the validity of the visa was three years. The latest announcement seems to be broader to include self-employed individuals and business owners.”
Why Cost Management is Important?
Vijay Gandhi breaks down why managing costs for organizations and businesses has become an utmost priority. Here is what he had to say regarding the matter:
“Organizations can stock their requirements better and cost-effectively by tapping into existing or underutilized talent. Many leaders worry their current workforce is incapable of learning skills to face future challenges. This only shows that too many companies have fallen into the trap of thinking about their people’s potential in a linear, traditional way.
“This will be disrupted when workers who have followed long-accepted training trajectories become scarce, prompting creative approaches like employing freelancers as a means to business success.
“Innovative programs can be designed for companies to attract and train young people to be agile workers. These efforts need not follow a traditional academic route. Building talent in-house can be cheaper and upfront than buying it at a premium. It also widens the talent pool for the industry.
“The increasingly mobile workforce with contractors and freelancers means that individual staffers may not be retained in the long term – but these losses can be offset by the creation of extra available workers. A bigger talent pool helps companies control costs by stopping unsustainable salary rises. It can simply be a company that is unwilling to commit to full-time workers and wants to stay flexible.”
– Vijay Gandhi of Korn Ferry
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