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UAE Widens Company Ownership To Foreigners

Tom Burroughes

27 May 2021

The United Arab Emirates has recently announced that foreign investors and entrepreneurs will be free to have full ownership of companies from 1 June, coming six months later than the original start date to increase widening the scope of the change.

Foreigners opening a company in the UAE will no longer need an Emirati shareholder or agent under changes to UAE company law. 

The move has been granted by the Minister of Economy Abdullah bin Touq, Khaleej Times and other outlets reported a few days ago. 

Following the 1 June launch, there will be a wider scope of sectors eligible for the changed ownership rules than previously envisaged when the 1 December 2020 deadline was set.

The jurisdiction is competing to encourage inward investment. The past 12 months have seen the UAE ink a major bilateral agreement with Israel under the Abraham Accords brokered via the former Trump administration in the US. (The agreement has prompted optimistic predictions from banks such as Citi Private Bank.)

In April the UAE’s Ministry of Economy said that it was working on new legislation to include 10 new sectors in the Commercial Companies Law, which allows 100 per cent foreign ownership of onshore companies in the country.