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Client Case Studies: Abu Dhabi
Mark approached Healy Consultants in June 2006 to explore ways in which we could help him achieve his objectives. With several new multimillion dollar oil and gas-related projects on the drawing board in Abu Dhabi, Mark believed that his company may gain a competitive advantage at the tender process if it had a local subsidiary. Mark’s preferences were that he should have full legal control of the company, and that he would set up a fully-fledged office in Abu Dhabi to serve local clients.
Mark spoke to Aidan Healy, managing director of Healy Consultants, via telephone to discuss the corporate options available to him. Aidan also explained the various legal, tax and accounting implications of setting up a business in Abu Dhabi, and also warned Mark of the multiple challenges (and high costs) of doing so. Mark appeared to be grateful for this important advice at this early stage. Given the nature of the operation Mark was looking to establish, it was clear that an Abu Dhabi limited liability company (LLC) would be the only suitable corporate structure to enable him to undertake projects in Abu Dhabi itself. An Abu Dhabi LLC would allow Mark to obtain a UAE trade license, rent an Abu Dhabi business premises, open a local bank account and obtain local visas for expatriate employees. However, Aidan made it clear that Mark would require a UAE national to be the majority shareholder in the company.
With all the documents submitted and two follow up telephone calls to get status updates, our Incorporation Team received notification the Mark’s company had been accepted as a Chamber member, and that the intended company name had been approved, within ten days. The next stage was for our Incorporation Team to submit the new company’s Memorandum of Association to the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce. The Memorandum of Association detailed the structure of the new company formation, including Hassan as the 51% shareholder and Mark as the sole director. Before it could be submitted, the corporate documents were couriered to Mark in Australia for his signature and return to our Singapore office, from where they were forwarded to our UAE team for submission to the Chamber.
The next legal requirement in the process was to secure approval from the body which oversees the client’s principal activity. In this case, the application was referred by our Incorporation Team to the UAE Supreme Petroleum Council for approval. Once a week for three weeks our staff in Abu Dhabi called the Chamber of Commerce, the Supreme Petroleum Council and the Municipality to check on progress, so we could update Mark. One of our Incorporation Team then visited the Supreme Petroleum Council in person, and was able to secure verbal approval that the new company had been incorporated. Three days later, we received written confirmation from the Supreme Petroleum Council that the company had been incorporated.
The next step was to submit the company’s details into the Commercial Register at the Chamber of Commerce, including the incorporation approval letter from the Supreme Petroleum Council.
With the company now a legal entity, Mark requested our assistance with a range of corporate support services, from helping furnish the office in Mussafah to opening a corporate bank account and applying for work permits for expatriate staff to run the operation and bid for contracts in Abu Dhabi.
Corporate Bank Account
Work Permit/Residence Visa
Firstly, Healy Consultants completed an application form from the UAE Ministry of Labour, and then submitted this to the Post Office along with the attested university degree, passport copies, a completed Degree Verification Form (from the Ministry of Labour). Within one week the Ministry of Labour in Abu Dhabi had approved the work permit. Following Ministry of Labour approval, Healy Consultants obtained a labour card from the Ministry, and paid a bank guarantee of Dhs3,000 to the bank located at the Ministry. The work permit was then collected.
The next stage is to obtain an Employment Visa from the Abu Dhabi Immigration Department. Healy Consultants submitted the original work permit, the labour card, and the sponsoring company’s trade license. This was obtained within one week. At this stage, Dirk traveled to Abu Dhabi to obtain a health card and undergo a medical check up. Our staff accompanied Dirk to a local hospital in Abu Dhabi, where he passed the medical and was issued with a fitness certificate, allowing him to obtain a UAE residence visa.
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