From civil marriage to surrogacy: 6 key laws UAE announced, enacted in 2023

This year, the nation announced multiple new rules – and took a second look at some others, to improve the quality of life of those living in the emirates

by

Meher Dhanjal

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Published: Thu 14 Dec 2023, 2:02 PM

Last updated: Thu 14 Dec 2023, 3:31 PM

The United Arab Emirates has been introducing and amending multiple laws in recent years in order to make life for residents and citizens easier.

In 2023, the nation announced new regulations – and took a second look at some others – in a bid to maintain the country's position as the best in expat lifestyle, earnings and family stability.

Here are the some of the key laws introduced in the UAE this year:

1. Corporate tax law

Starting from June 1, 2023 (the beginning of the financial year), a nine per cent corporate tax rate was levied on companies across the country.

In support of small and medium businesses, the law says that only companies above the threshold of Dh375,000 will be required to pay the tax.

The tax will only be imposed on profits accrued and not the total turnover of the business.

2. Bankruptcy

A new law on bankruptcy was published on October 31 this year and will come into effect on May 1, 2024.

The new law protects the rights and interests of debtors and creditors by avoiding separate enforcement proceedings for creditors. The court can impose a moratorium on creditors' actions against debtors until the restructuring plan is ratified without a specified time limitation.

The moratorium can last for three months, and can be extended. However, debtors cannot ask for more than six months to repay the debt.

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3. Job loss insurance scheme

From January 1, this year all citizens and residents were required to register for the Involuntary Loss of Employment scheme.

The scheme is applicable to employees working in the private and public sector, except juveniles, investors, domestic helpers, temporary contract workers, retirees who are entitled to a pension and joined a new job and employees working in freezones.

Employees with a basic salary of less than Dh16,000 are required to pay Dh5 per month (plus VAT), and will receive 60 per cent of their average basic salary for three months in case of involuntary job loss.

Those with a basic salary of more than Dh16,000 have to pay Dh10 a month with VAT.

4. Surrogacy

The UAE this year also allowed non-Muslim couples to have children through surrogacy.

This law had several amendments allowing non-Muslim, unmarried couples to access IVF, and to other fertilisation and implantation procedures.

5. Civil marriage

A new Federal Personal Status Law was implemented on February 1, 2023.

This law regulates marriage conditions and procedures in the courts for all non-Muslim foreigners.

The law has clarified procedures of divorce, custody of children and even procedures for inheritance and testaments (wills) and proofs of paternity.

6. End-of-service scheme

The end-of-service scheme was implemented on November 1, 2023, allowing employees in the UAE to invest their gratuity in multiple savings schemes.

Employees will be able to receive its benefits, along with the accrued returns from the investment funds, after the employment relationship is terminated.

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