Contractors' Questions: How to freelance in the UAE as a non-UK resident?

Contractor’s Question: I‘m based in Oman and am looking at a freelance assignment that will pay hourly with a client in the UAE.

The client requires me to invoice them but as I don't have a limited company, would an umbrella company be appropriate and secondly, where would I find an umbrella that would be able to receive payment from the UAE to be paid into my offshore account? I now have non-resident status in the UK and will be earning in a tax-free country.

Expert’s Answer: If you are working in the UAE and you are not a resident of the UAE, you will require a work permit. To obtain a work permit in the UAE, you will need a local sponsor who will act as your employer for the duration of your contract in the UAE.

As your employer, the local sponsor will be responsible for paying your salary. This means the local employer will take responsibility for invoicing the company engaging you to work in the UAE.

You mention that you are not resident in the UK. Have you filed a P85 to notify HMRC? As a non-resident of the UK working in the UAE, there would be no reason for you to work through a UK umbrella company. If the company engaging you to work in the UAE is not able to refer you to a company which will act as a local sponsor and arrange your work permit, we would recommend you speak to an international contractor management company that offers a full solution for the UAE. Good luck!

The expert was Michelle Reilly, CEO of 6CATS International.

Thursday 16th May 2019
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Written by Michelle Reilly

Michelle Reilly is the CEO of 6CATS International and Founder of 6CATSPRO. With over 20 years experience in developing and managing contractor workforce solutions, she is an expert in international tax compliance.
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