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Hi everyone,
I currently run a small business in the UK, where currently I'm the only full time employee.

The company is very profitable and I'm in a position where I could easily be based anywhere in the world. I've looked on the net and I am really struggling to find someone who has moved a small company from the uk to dubai. Obviously big companies that's easy, register an office and send someone over. However I'd be moving myself and my entire business to Dubai so want to make sure it's the right move.

I've checked out pricing, living costs, freezones, where to live, car prices etc. All the usual stuff.

However, I'm really struggling to find examples of small businesses moving over to Dubai and how they found the move. For example if you had the chance would you do anything differently? And is there anything I should watch out for/general advice?

Just for added info I'm looking at JLT for my office. Not sure where I would live just yet.
 

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You cannot simply move a company from one country to another. You have to establish a new company, by either liquidating the old one or keep it inactive (the latter requires at least a workable address in that country).

Founding a company within Dubai requires 51 % participation of a local sponsor, so that may be a serious topic. No such legislation if the company in in a free zone, but that's not possible for all types of businesses.

For more detailed advise you should disclose more details first , e.g. type of business, why moving to Dubai, etc.
 

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Hi there,

What is it you actually do as there are restrictions (and occasionally advantages) to the various licenses available. They also vary a lot in price.
 
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You need to take professional advice but it seems that you would be able to operate two companies: one in UK and one here. You could benefit from the tax-free slary here but keep the long-term value in your UK business, I would think.
 

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thanks for the replies, as I said it is something I'm considering and if I'm honest I'm still in the early stages of looking into this.

The company is effectively a marketing agency, but specialises in marketing content. I have a few lucrative contracts with PR and marketing firms globally that outsource their specialist writing to myself and a few freelance writers I use. Not sure about the licensing and the costs if I'm honest, does it vary from industry to industry or in each freezone? I do know a little about the ownership situation and should probably of stated that. However my understanding is with a freezone such as JLT, you simply pay a yearly fee and own 100% of the business? Obviously if I cannot work in a freezone as a marketing company that would be a serious issue.

There are two main reasons for moving in my eyes. Firstly, my company is now reaching a size where the next step would be to have a base in which to build from and employ a few staff full time. I've been to dubai numerous times and really love the place. The second is the tax side of things. I'm taking a very reasonable wage from the business and the company's costs are minimal. Therefore cutting out the corp tax and income tax etc would really effect me and my business in a positive manner. It may also give me a slight competitive edge, since the company wouldn't be paying corp tax on the profit, which could be spent on staff or reinvested.

In regards to the company registration, I'm happy to follow advice. If I have to fold the UK company and setup in Dubai i'd happily do that. I do agree that professional advice is definitely needed, as this isn't something I want to rush into. However, it'd be great if I could pick up the majority of the information from forums etc.
 

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thanks for the replies, as I said it is something I'm considering and if I'm honest I'm still in the early stages of looking into this.

The company is effectively a marketing agency, but specialises in marketing content. I have a few lucrative contracts with PR and marketing firms globally that outsource their specialist writing to myself and a few freelance writers I use. Not sure about the licensing and the costs if I'm honest, does it vary from industry to industry or in each freezone? I do know a little about the ownership situation and should probably of stated that. However my understanding is with a freezone such as JLT, you simply pay a yearly fee and own 100% of the business? Obviously if I cannot work in a freezone as a marketing company that would be a serious issue.

There are two main reasons for moving in my eyes. Firstly, my company is now reaching a size where the next step would be to have a base in which to build from and employ a few staff full time. I've been to dubai numerous times and really love the place. The second is the tax side of things. I'm taking a very reasonable wage from the business and the company's costs are minimal. Therefore cutting out the corp tax and income tax etc would really effect me and my business in a positive manner. It may also give me a slight competitive edge, since the company wouldn't be paying corp tax on the profit, which could be spent on staff or reinvested.

In regards to the company registration, I'm happy to follow advice. If I have to fold the UK company and setup in Dubai i'd happily do that. I do agree that professional advice is definitely needed, as this isn't something I want to rush into. However, it'd be great if I could pick up the majority of the information from forums etc.
Hi
I deal with some one man bands (consultants) working out of JLT Freezone.
They have an office address in DMCC AG Business Centre.
Their company certificate of registration is actually headed Dubai Multi Commodities Centre Authority (DMCC) then mentions JLT.
In your line of work, I could imagine a move to Dubai would be an excellent idea.
Freezone company setups here are totally different to locally based ordinary companies and they allow you to operate in the manner you suggested.
You would just need to check with a UK accountant the best way to close, move, park or liquidate your UK company - to minimise the tax burden and take advantage of your relevant allowances.
Good Luck with the move - if you go through with it!

Cheers
Steve
 

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You're not trading physical goods so you'll be pleased to hear you're looking at licences at the lower end of the scale and available from freezones. Not every freezone will be available to you ie Internet City is only for IT companies and many (Jebel Ali) are priced well beyond the means of the average SME.

I'm not an advisor on this but your most likely routes are:

RAK Freezone or Virtuzone are your cheapest options. RAK are slightly cheaper out of the two but you need to show 100k capital when setting up. Works out about 18k per year for company formation and 1 visa, you can add extra visas at a cost with RAK. Not sure about virtuzone.

What you don't get with either is office space, also you're restricted to hiring office space outside the freezone. You can sublet, a bit of a grey area but possible, or there are a few business hubs where you can legitamately hire office space. Ultimately both of these tend to one man bands working off the kitchen table though.

Mainly because the cost of a years rent in business zone probably works out the same (if not more) as full company formation in JLT. There's also a tower in Al Barsha that is full of design companies, media companies, PR etc which I'm sure also falls under a freezone duristiction. I'm not sure who's though.

Hope this helps
 
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