March 18, 2019

Freelancing in the UAE – the 5-step guide to doing it right


The freedom from a 9 to 5 job, the flexibility of choosing your projects and hours, the ease of receiving payments… there’s little as liberating as the prospect of freelance as a career choice. Especially, in a fast-growing and dynamic market like the UAE.

If you too are planning on joining the growing breed of professionals ditching the desk in favour of freelance in the UAE, you need to carefully consider and follow the guidelines for freelancers before taking the leap.

For first-timers, getting started comes with its share of doubts, questions and confusions. Legal terms, documentation, financial details, can all begin to look murky and daunting enough for you to rethink your decision. That’s why, we at maslaha.aehave put together a 5-point ready reckoner to help you navigate through the process of being a freelancer in the UAE and landing your perfect gig, sooner than you thought.

1. Get your UAE Freelance License from a Free Zone

To work independently as a freelancer in the UAE, you have to obtain a license from any of the Free Zones, which also give you access to a shared office space and PO Box. The freelance license, issued within 7 to 10 days of submitting your application, is valid for a year and subject to annual renewal. If you are not sponsored by a company, spouse or parent, you can also obtain a UAE freelance visaalong with the permit that’s equivalent to a residence visa. The license packages vary from AED 7,500 to AED 25,000 (inclusive of other applicable charges) depending on your choice of Free Zone and visa requirements.


2. Make your application for a UAE freelance license, foolproof

Don’t dodge the documents, because if you skip this, you stumble. You have to have your papers and required certifications in perfect order while applying for your UAE freelance license to avoid rejection and disappointment. Check, recheck and then submit. The process includes attaching clear copies of:

  • Business plan
  • Passport/Visa
  • Recommendation letter from current/previous employers
  • CV and attested educational certificates
  • Sponsor’s NOC (if applicable)
  • Proof of a satisfactory financial records
  • Portfolio or work samples relevant to your skills

3. Create your profile on UAE freelancer platforms

Choose where you belong. Apart from effective networking in person, the key to getting noticed and landing freelance assignments is by increasing your online presence on the right platforms for freelancers in the UAE. Most of these sites offer free sign-ups and connect you to clients for gigs while also providing valuable resources and tools for learning.

Once you’ve created a profile listing your skills, expertise and experience, you can start browsing for projects that match your interests. Newer platforms like maslaha.aesafeguard freelancer rights with signed contracts and secure a 50% advance payment for all jobs, so you can focus on chasing deadlines, not payments.

4. Map the market for UAE freelancers

As a growing ‘gig market’ the UAE is one of the best places to kick-start your freelance career. With investor and entrepreneur- friendly practices and policies, freelancers in the UAE almost have it on a platter in terms of opportunities. To stay on top of the game, you as a freelancer need to assess which sectors of the economy project growth and target those in relation to your skills. Follow blogs on the popular freelance websites catering to the region in order to keep a tab on current market trends and freelance categories in demand.

5. Keep up the proactivity and productivity

To keep the gigs going at all times, you have to look hard and work smart. The online platforms host hundreds of freelancers in the UAE with similar skill sets as yours. So how do you get your hands on a project first? By keeping yourself updated on the online job postings on a daily basis and being prompt with your quotes and responses. You lag, you lose. Respect deadlines and be consistent in quality to build credibility and secure your spot in the favoured bracket.

Establishing yourself as a freelancer in the UAE requires a fair bit of handholding and a clear understanding of the mandatory processes involved. To make things easier, maslaha.ae founded by a seasoned UAE freelancer, offers solutions to stumble blocks that you might encounter, through an easy interface for both freelance job seekers and clients across a range of skill categories ranging from Design and Writing to Programming and Development. And for fair feedback and evaluation, the platform also offers a dual rating system for both parties so it’s easier for freelancers to handpick projects and hassle-free for clients to choose their talent. If you require more information on how to be a freelancer in the UAE or how to find the right freelancer for your project, contact us (maslaha.ae) and we will be happy to assist you in getting your gig on. Good luck!


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