I fully realise that with the travel restrictions imposed on us the last thing that might be on your mind is moving to the UAE, Dubai for instance, to set up a new life as a freelancer. Still, I am going to present a case explaining why this is the time.
Against the odds
Despite having Iran at 30 kilometers distance, despite having probably the most international congregation of workers from abroad in the world, despite having 25 million airline passengers per year in Dubai alone (there are two more huge international airports in the UAE) the death toll for the corona-virus is as of today, Sunday 5th of April, ten people only.
Before you start thinking about how reliable are the numbers; they are not reliable in any country. Simple as that. But, the UAE did a couple of things other countries didn’t or daren’t. They closed all schools, universities and daycare centers as soon as the 7th of April. They created a huge test facility from scratch in 14 days(!), they installed waivers for six months for small corporate renters, and they tested and tested and tested; just like the WHO advised. Also, you are not allowed into any shop without wearing a face mask. All of that really helped a lot.
Which countries will have a V-shaped economic recovery?
If you force me to point to a place on earth where the economic recovery from the virus will have a V-shape, the UAE is my first option. Despite the low oil price (be aware; Dubai doesn’t have that much oil at all, they turned around their economy ages ago), despite tensions in the region, despite the postponement of the World Expo.
The issue holding me back from being too enthusiastic was the sky-high rent in Dubai and Abu Dhabi and even in Ras-al-Khaimah. It used to be the case that I could be enthusiastic about not having to pay taxes, but that friends would rightfully point out that the money would still not end in your wallet due to the sky-high rents. And that, my friends, has changed. It has changed dramatically in favour of the renters.
Rental prices have fallen significantly during the last years
You can now rent a proper apartment in a proper neighborhood for a very decent price. Just to give you an example; I saw a 130 square meter apartment in Gharoob in Dubai, in a not so tall building of only four floors high. It’s super conveniently located on 13 minutes from the airport, it comes with a nice community pool, fitness and your own car-park spot very close to a huge Mall for €1.300 per month.
- No, that’s not for free, but it really is a nice neighborhood. And cars never were expensive and gas still is below €0,50 per liter, so no worries there.
Of course, this is the UAE, so anything goes. You can still rent apartments for €200.000 per year. Really. And for a fraction of that amount somewhere ‘off compound’ in the dessert. Want to browse around a bit? Here you go:
No taxes, no tax-paperwork
The best part, of course, is the almost complete absence of taxes. You’ll pay 5% VAT and that will be it, With the absence of taxes comes the absence of seemingly endless taxed based paperwork most European entrepreneurs are all too familiar with. Whatever you make as a freelancer, be it as an affiliate marketer, writer, programmer, translator, photographer, blogger, influencer, web-developer, virtual assistant, graphic designer, life coach, digital marketing specialist or SEO specialist etc. etc. is yours to keep for 100%. No questions asked. It’s a truly liberating experience.
However, I don’t want to make the picture unrealistically rosy. If you have tax-paid health insurance now, you will have to pay health insurance for yourself on the commercial market. Very much depending on your age, this will be surprisingly cheap or surprisingly expensive, since in most European countries the younger ones are supposed to show solidarity with the elderly folks.
VoIP, Skype, and Zoom in the UAE
During these testing times, you may have discovered something else. You may have discovered that you can work from home, that you can do 90% of your business with your computer and the internet. And there is more good news. Zoom and Skype are now allowed in the UAE; together with a host of other VoIP applications. And fiberoptic internet was something the UAE had before may countries learned how to spell ‘fiber-optics’.
So, if you add it up and think, well, this might be something worthwhile discussing, drop me an e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org (note, it’s .nl ). Our business model is simple: for a fixed price we’ll find the best Freezone for you (there are more than 40 of them), we’ll find the best license for you (there are more than 2.000 of them) and we’ll make sure you’ll get a residence permit. Because yes, there is paperwork in the UAE. And during that process, you can ask us a hundred other questions about living and working in the UAE.