Dubai client case studies

Gold and commodities trader moved to Dubai

Background

Craig, a major commodities trader in Australia, approached Healy Consultants to expand his company into the UAE in order to have a tax efficient base for operations in the Middle East and Africa. Craig also wished to move himself and his family to Dubai as he liked the Western atmosphere and thriving metropolis.

Engagement planning

Appoint a nominee director for company in DubaiThe planning phase for this engagement was extensive, as Healy Consultants guided Mr. Anthony in selecting the most efficient corporate structure. Healy Consultants had multiple Skype and telephone meetings with our Client to determine the optimal free zone company. Healy Consultants advised our Client of several of the commodity and trade-based zones such as Ras al-Khaimah and Hamriyah. These free zones allowed for 100% foreign ownership, but prohibited trade inside the UAE. Craig liked this option, but also wished to sell to the wealthy UAE market.

Other options discussed included a local branch of his pre-existing Australian company and representative office. As the branch office would still require a local agent and was longer to incorporate and the representative office could only be used for market research, these options were sidelined.

Upon understanding Craig’s goal to purchase property, apply for entrepreneur visas, and trade gold and gemstone, Craig decided that incorporating a resident Dubai company with local sponsorship was most efficient. Following, a 10 page engagement strategy was researched and planned for one week with constant communication with the Client.

Local sponsor

In order to conduct business within the UAE, a 51% local sponsor was needed. Healy Consultants contacted several of our former Clients and contacts in the UAE to discern their interest in serving as this local sponsor. We provided Craig with three options engaged in similar industries as gold trading. Craig flew to Dubai prior to company incorporation to meet with his preferred sponsor, Mr. Abdullah, a local commodities trader. The two met and discussed the sponsorship arrangement and agreed to a Declaration of Trust on behalf of the Dubai company.

The local sponsor introduced Craig to his local real estate broker and several influential jewelry traders in the area. Craig later employed this real estate agent to purchase his apartment on Palm Jumeriah Island. Mr. Abdullah attended the signing and notarization of company documents during the incorporation process and provided references for bank account setup. While Mr. Abdullah does not serve an active role in Craig’s business, the local sponsor has been readily available to provide local contacts and sign any necessary forms.

Office space

Because our Client was consolidating his global trading business to new headquarters in Dubai, adequate office space was essential. Craig engaged Healy Consultants to locate an office capable of holding 25 employees and near his home in Palm Jumeriah. We then proceeded to engage local real estate agents and toured several office facilities on our Client’s behalf. We provided the Client with detailed reviews, pictures, and pricing of the properties until Craig was satisfied with a 185 square meter office space in the Jumeirah Village. A lease was signed for 12 months and provided to the Department of Economic Development for company incorporation.

Company incorporation

After locating suitable office space, Healy Consultants applied for the company name with the Department of Economic Development and had our Client sign the incorporation forms at the Dubai courts.

After bank setup and licensing approval, the company was registered with the Company Registry Office of the Ministry of Commerce. The registration certificate was received within 3 working days and Healy Consultants subsequently registered the company with the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) – Dubai and Labor Department for future work permits.

The license application for gold trading was submitted to the Dubai Economic Department along with the MOA, name approval certificate, lease agreement, and certificate of paid up share capital. Two weeks later, the Economic Department granted the license.

Family visas

Healy Consultants assisted Craig apply for a 3 year entrepreneur visa for his new company. We prepared a high-quality visa application, complete with GDRFA registration of his company, work credentials, business plan, and evidence of UAE national hiring. As Craig was the sole shareholder of his large company and purchased several properties in Dubai, his visa was quickly approved by the Ministry of Labor and GDRFA in 3 weeks. Craig’s family moved 7 weeks after Mr. Anthony moved to Dubai and established his residency and company operations. Healy Consultants helped successfully apply for dependency visas for Craig’s wife and two children. These visas then enabled his wife to work and his children to attend an international school in Dubai.

Conclusion

Following engagement completion, the Client was presented with a complete company kit. Our Client provided positive feedback in a client questionnaire and referred his business associate to our firm for incorporating another company.

Over the coming years, Healy Consultants will complete the Dubai annual accounting and auditing obligations together with license renewals.

Software management solutions firm set up global headquarters

Background

Michael Hellier is an entrepreneur from the United Kingdom who provides software management solutions for global call center systems to improve service quality. Michael’s company, originally based in Glasgow, wanted to enter the emerging markets in the Middle East but was unsure which corporate structure would be most beneficial for his business.

Michael approached Healy Consultants in November 2006 for advice. He was referred to us by a business associate who had set up a Singapore branch company through us. It was also important to our Client that the business be strategically-located in the Gulf, and projected a strong image to his Clients. Michael was initially attracted to Dubai, primarily because he had many business associates who had successfully set up operations there. With this in mid, he contacted Healy Consultants to find out how we could assist him to fulfills his objectives.

After discussing the potential corporate structures and locations with Aidan Healy, the managing director of Healy Consultants, it was agreed that Michael would pay Healy Consultants a retainer fee of US$2,000, for which we would undertake relevant research and revert with recommendations and a clear business setup strategy. Healy Consultants began a detailed investigation into the various options in the UAE, based on Michael’s requirements and budget. Aidan and Michael agreed that locating the company in a free zone would be most advantageous, and as such our Dubai team prepared a table outlining the relative advantages of locations such as Sharjah Airport International Free Zone, Ajman Free Zone, Jebel Ali Free Zone, and Dubai Internet City (DIC). Once the research was complete, it was emailed to Michael for his review, and we suggested we talk again once he had done so.

Two weeks later Michael called our Dubai office, confirming his intention to set up a company in DIC, which appeared to offer the strategic advantages, as well as image, he needed for his new company. DIC boasts the Middle East’s biggest Internet Communications Technology (ICT) infrastructure built inside a free trade zone, and according to the DIC Authority, it offers a strategic, cost-effective platform for ICT companies targeting emerging markets in a vast region extending from the Middle East to the Indian subcontinent, and from Africa to Central Asia. Michael believed these credentials would suit his burgeoning software development company.

Engagement planning

Michael settled our engagement fees, signed our client engagement letter, and provided the due diligence as outlined in the engagement letter, firstly by email, with the originals by standard mail. The first step was for Healy Consultants to prepare a detailed business plan for the new company in DIC’s required format. The business plan included information on the company’s planned activities, its products and services, its clients and a market analysis, its competitors and a risk analysis, details on its management team, and its operational strategy. To accompany the business plan, Healy Consultants’ staff prepared a detailed financial projection (in Microsoft Excel format) for the first three years of business, again in the format required by DIC. Once the business plan and financial projection were complete (within four working days), we emailed them to Michael for his review and comments. He required minor amendments to the business plan, and he also supplied additional financial information which he requested we add to the projection. With these amendments complete, we again sent the documents to Michael for his approval, signature and return to us.

Along with the business plan and financial projection, further information was needed for the DIC application. This included proof of the minimum capital requirement of 50,000 UAE Dirhams (US$13,615), a copy of the company’s Memorandum and Articles of Association and passport copies of the directors and shareholder (in this case, Michael would be the sole shareholder and director), along with specimens of his signature. In addition, the application included confirmation of the type of office accommodation Michael’s company would require at DIC – to this effect, Healy Consultants forwarded a standard DIC lease agreement to Michael for his review. To obtain proof of payment of capital, our Dubai office visited a local bank branch in Dubai to open an ESCROW account, and was issued with a certificate of deposit on the same day.

Company incorporation

Healy Consultants visited the DIC Authority to submit the application documents in person. It took two weeks for Healy Consultants to receive approval from DIC, when Healy Consultants received a provisional letter of acceptance along with a list of other legal documents which needed to be submitted, along with a deadline for submission. These documents included a personal sponsor agreement and an employment contract with accompanying terms and conditions, which were reviewed by Healy Consultants for any discrepancies. Michael, who was busy in Glasgow negotiating a new contract with an international client, was grateful that Healy Consultants was able to undertake miscellaneous tasks such as this on his behalf.

It took two weeks for Healy Consultants to collect all the additional legal documents for submission to DIC, because they had to be certified by a notary public in Dubai, prior to submission. Two weeks later DIC issued a final approval letter to Michael, at which point Healy Consultants paid a 20% deposit (as required) for the office premises, as well as the DIC license fees, on Michael’s behalf (he had remitted these fees as part of the total engagement fees). Once the DIC had confirmed payment of the initial 20% deposit, Healy Consultants sent the receipt to Michael in Glasgow, and requested that Michael return the signed lease agreement by courier to our Dubai office. Although as with every stage of the engagement Michael was not required to visit Dubai to complete this task, he nevertheless chose to visit on this occasion, since he planned to visit a potential client in Oman and also wanted to make arrangements to move to Dubai.

Healy Consultants picked Michael up at the airport in Dubai, and accompanied him to DIC to submit the lease agreement. At this stage, Michael also settled the remaining 80% of the DIC annual fees, and upon receiving a receipt and the keys to his office we were able to move to the next phase of the engagement.

Office furnishing

Since Michael was traveling to Oman and then back to the UK at short notice, he requested Healy Consultants’ assistance in furnishing the office. We use an office retailer in Dubai who supplies, delivers, and fits high quality office furniture in the UAE, and they were able to provide a package according to the specifications and budget laid out by Michael. Likewise, an office IT equipment supplier was engaged to deliver and install IT hardware and software to the office, making it ready for use.

Staff recruitment

In the meantime, Healy Consultants had been asked by Michael to assist with recruiting a suitable expatriate sales and marketing manager, as well as a receptionist, to enable the company to begin operations. We first arranged to place a recruitment advertisement in two UAE newspapers – the Gulf Today and the Khaleej Times – advertising the positions. Our remit was to field and filter the applications, drawing up a shortlist for when Michael was next visiting Dubai.

As expected, we received more than 200 applications for the sales and marketing position, eight of whom were invited to Healy Consultants’ office in Dubai for a preliminary interview. Once this process had taken place, we short-listed six of the most suitable candidates, and their details were forwarded to Michael in the UK for further action. Michael conducted a telephone interview with all six candidates the following week, and then narrowed the field down to three people, who he arranged to meet the following week in Dubai. As planned, Michael visited Dubai the following week, conducting the final interview for his sales and marketing position. With this complete, Michael instructed Healy Consultants to obtain a work and residence permit for the successful candidate, a British national named Mark, as well as for himself.

Employment visa application

To achieve this, Healy Consultants approached the DIC Authority for assistance with the application. DIC provided the necessary application forms for an employment visa and residence permit, as requested. Once the application forms had been completed, Healy Consultants sent one to Mark in Dubai, and the other to the UK for Michael’s signature. Once the signed forms had been returned to us, Healy Consultants submitted them to the DIC, along with:

  • Two copies of each applicants’ passports;
  • Three passport photographs per applicant;
  • Photocopy of educational certificates for Mark and Michael – these were provided at the same time as the signed application forms;
  • A processing fee of US$73.50.

Once the employment visa was issued (via an Employment Entry Permit), we requested Michael to visit the UAE to obtain his residence permit (Mark was already in the country). The residence permit application includes the application form, the original passport of each applicant, the Employment Entry Permit, five passport photographs per applicant, an original medical fitness certificate and one health card photocopy, a security form, along with fees of US$205 for a two year permit.

Michael is now based in Dubai full-time, and is happy with the way the smooth company setup process and Healy Consultants’ additional services.

Electrical components manufacturer opened Dubai facility

Background

Mr Malhotra is the owner of a successful electrical components manufacturing and distribution company based in India. A recent US$20 million investment saw the company’s manufacturing facilities modernized and expanded, and the electrical components produced at the factory in Chandigarh, northern India, met strict international export specifications. For strategic reasons, Mr Malhotra sought a way of accessing global markets for his company’s products, which are applied in heavy industries such as oil refineries, petrochemical plants, and water desalination facilities. In particular, he was keen on setting up an entity in Dubai. With this in mind, he approached Healy Consultants in mid-2006 to discuss his strategic objectives.

Engagement planning

Mr Malhotra visited Healy Consultants in Dubai in May 2006, where our consultants advised him on the different corporate structures and relevant trade licenses available in Dubai, as well as the costs of company set up. Given the nature of his business, it became clear that a free zone establishment (FZE) would be the most suitable structure to meet the company’s international business objectives, primarily because the Client wished to retain full control of the company (he would also be the sole shareholder), and because he was not intending to trade within Dubai or the UAE. Because he also needed a facility with excellent global communications, Mr Malhotra indicated his wish to set up an FZE in Dubai Airport Freezone.

Company incorporation

The engagement formally began when Mr. Malhotra signed Healy Consultants’ client engagement letter, settled our fees, and supplied the due diligence outlined in the engagement letter. At the same time, Healy Consultants completed a Dubai Airport Free Zone Authority (DAFZA) application form. To accompany the application, a detailed business plan was prepared by Healy Consultants, outlining the company’s activities, its clients and suppliers, an analysis of the market, financial projections, and details on shareholders and directors. The application and business plan was submitted to the DAFZA Sales Department, along with a copy of Mr Malhotra’s passport, a bank reference letter, and resume (which we had originally asked for as part of our internal due diligence requirements).

Trade license application

Healy Consultants applied for a Trading License for Mr Malhotra’s new company, paying the 10,000 Dirham license processing fee to the DAFZA. Approval was granted for the FZE within four days.

Warehouse/office space

Healy Consultants visited DAFZA to arrange for a warehouse plot to be allocated. A lease agreement was sent to our Client for his signature and return, along with an invoice for office rental fees, which required settlement within 30 days.

Corporate banking

Following incorporation, Healy Consultants proceeded to open a corporate bank account in Dubai to support our Client’s business. To accompany the bank account application, an abridged version of the DAFZA business plan was prepared to accompany the account application form. The complete application included the application form, business plan, the company’s DAFZA trade license, the warehouse lease agreement, a copy of Mr Malhotra’s passport, and bank reference letter (from Citibank in India). Healy Consultants also attended an interview on our Client’s behalf, explaining to a bank officer why the FZE required a corporate bank account.

After approximately two weeks, Healy Consultants’ Dubai office received account approval notification, allowing our Client to conduct international financial transactions. Two weeks later, we received (in sealed, separate envelopes) internet banking and ATM card PIN numbers along with other necessary documents, which were kept safely at our office for Mr Malhotra’s collection.

Mr Malhotra successfully launched his international electronic components business from Dubai, and currently has customers in Iran, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey. As he spends much of his time traveling around Asia, Mr Malhotra hired a general manager to oversee the Dubai operation.

Contact us

For additional information on our company registration services in Dubai, please email us at email@healyconsultants.com. Alternatively please contact our in-house country expert, Ms. Chrissi Zamora, directly:
client relationship officer - Chrissi