New employment rules have today come into force in the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), in the form of the Employment Regulations 2019 (Engaging Non-Employees) Rules 2020 (the Rules).


The Rules introduce new categories of workers which will provide Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) companies with considerably more flexibility when it comes to resourcing their operations in the ADGM. 

Below are the key takeaways for ADGM employers:

  • The Rules come into force on 13 May 2020 and apply to ADGM entities only.
  • ADGM companies will be permitted to engage the following categories of "Non-Employees":
    • Secondees - an individual working temporarily in the ADGM for an ADGM entity on a secondment basis who is sponsored for UAE residence visa and work purposes by a non-ADGM entity
    • Outsourced individuals - an individual working temporarily in the ADGM for an ADGM entity under an outsourcing agreement who is sponsored for UAE residence visa and work purposes by a non-ADGM entity
    • Interns - a student or trainee who works for an ADGM entity, with or without pay, in order to gain work experience
    • Temporary Freelancers - an individual who provides services in or from the ADGM to an ADGM entity on a temporary basis, who is not under the exclusive direction and control of an ADGM entity and who holds a freelancer licence from a UAE free zone.
  • The Rules do not expressly state that these types of worker are not covered by the ADGM Employment Regulations 2019. However, given that the Rules specifically designate the workers as "Non-Employees", it is assumed that they are not intended to be entitled to the various rights and protections enjoyed by standard "Employees" under the ADGM Employment Regulations 2019.
  • Any ADGM company wishing to engage a "Non-Employee" worker must first obtain a Temporary Work Permit from the ADGM.
  • Temporary Work Permits may be issued for 3, 6 or 12 month periods – fees range from AED 150 – AED 600.
  • Any ADGM company which engages a worker without obtaining the requisite Temporary Work Permit will be exposed to a fine and, perhaps more significantly, may be liable for providing the individual with rights under the ADGM Employment Regulations 2019.

Key contact

Ben Brown

Ben Brown

Partner, Employment
Dubai

View profile