Onshore licences for DIFC firms?

It has recently been reported that the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Department of Economic Development (DED), which permits non-regulated companies that operate in the DIFC to operate onshore in the Emirate of Dubai.

Date published

25/05/2017

It has recently been reported that the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Department of Economic Development (DED), which permits non-regulated companies that operate in the DIFC to operate onshore in the Emirate of Dubai.

The aim of the MOU is to:

  • Create a central repository between the two parties to improve visibility and transparency of commercial activity within the DIFC.
  • Increase the level of governance and compliance between the entities.
  • Benefit businesses in the DIFC and contribute to the growth of the Dubai economy.

As further details of the MOU have not yet been released, it remains unclear how such DIFC non-regulated entities will seek to utilise the provisions under the MOU to enhance their businesses. In addition, it is unclear whether DIFC non-regulated entities that seek to expand and operate onshore in Dubai will still be subject to other regulatory requirements such as

  • To have a national sponsor
  • To have physical office space
  • To adhere to emiratization quotas

What is certain, is that those entities that are able to take advantage of the provisions under the MOU may be able to enhance operational efficiencies.