On Your Side: Banks offer limited services to non-residents

I do not live in Dubai, but travel here for business and it would be useful to have a local bank account. I am being told different things about whether I can open an account without residency, so would be grateful if you could clarify the issue for me. FB, Johannesburg, South Africa

To benefit from the full range of banking services in the UAE, it is necessary to be a resident. But many banks will allow non-residents or those who do not yet have residency to open a basic account. This would be an account with just a chequebook and an ATM card. It is not possible to have an overdraft, loan or a credit card. However, I understand that some banks, including Emirates NBD, RAKBank and HSBC, will allow the opening of such accounts with an initial deposit. You must open the account in person.

I have worked in Abu Dhabi for nearly six years and am about to be transferred back to the UK by my company. I was working for the same company before I moved to the UAE. Am I entitled to the gratuity under the UAE Labour Law or do I have to be fired or resign to receive it? The addendum to my employment contract mentions that my base salary includes pension/gratuity, but the table is confusing, with figures in sterling pounds and the UAE dirham, while some comments are actually contradictory. There is no statement about gratuity in the terms of the contract. MB, Abu Dhabi

From the information provided, it is hard to establish if MB is on a local contract, although this appears to be the case because he is being paid in dirhams. It also depends on the general practice of the employer and the law of the country the employment is being conducted in. Because MB was transferred to the UAE, with apparently continuous employment, it cannot be assumed that UAE law will apply. The law is considered as a matter of public policy and thus certain cases may be different in other jurisdictions. In addition, the country the employee is being transferred to may contain different regulations regarding the transfer of staff to and from other jurisdictions. The acid test is whether MB's contract is registered with the Ministry of Labour. If, for example, he has retained membership of a home country retirement plan, to which the employer is contributing, it would be assumed that he was not on a local contract. If, however, the employer suspended membership of any such scheme and was not making an alternative arrangement on the individual's behalf, it is likely that local rules would apply. If they are, it should be deemed as a local contract and UAE Labour Law will take precedence. If MB is on a local contract, he is eligible for an end-of-service gratuity payment. There are cases where it has been agreed that an employer will make a contribution to a retirement plan of some sort on the individual's behalf, but this must be agreed in advance, signed by both employer and employee, and offer no worse terms to the individual. The end-of-service gratuity is payable no matter the circumstances of the end of employment (unless the employee is dismissed for illegal behaviour) and is calculated on the basis of 21 days' wages for the first five years of employment and then 30 days' wages for each additional year, provided the total does not exceed two years of total wages. If MB is on a local contract, then he is entitled to an end-of-service gratuity. If the employer refuses to pay, then he has the right to take his case to the Ministry of Labour.

I have been trying to organise identity cards for my family, but when I visited our local typing centre I was asked to leave all the documents with them because they had a backlog of applications. Obviously, I was not happy to leave our passports with anyone so refused to do so, but was told that they wouldn't give me an appointment if I didn't leave them. Surely people aren't happy leaving something as valuable as a passport at these centres? What should I do? KP, Dubai

The advice from Emirates Identity Authority (EIDA) is that no one should leave documents at any typing centres. They are concerned that people are being asked to do this and have been taking up the issue with any that are making this request. I understand that typing centres have signed service agreements stating that they will not retain documents because it is unlawful. I would suggest that you report the particular centre to EIDA so action can be taken.

I have a mortgage on a property in Abu Dhabi, which was organised by the agent who sold me the apartment. He also arranged life insurance to cover the loan. I have since been given a quote by another insurance company for the same level of protection that is significantly cheaper. The estate agent has told me that I have no option but to keep the original policy. Is he right or can I change it to save some money? PC, Abu Dhabi

In this instance, the situation has nothing to do with the estate agent. The restriction is from your mortgage lender. You will need to ask the lending bank if they will allow you to change the plan. If your bank does allow it, it will want details of the new provider and the type of policy to ensure that it provides proper protection. You must make sure that the new policy is on risk before cancelling the old one to ensure you have continuous cover. The plan can be cancelled by stopping the monthly payments, but you should ensure that the new plan is appropriate for your needs and provides the right kind and amount of cover.

Keren Bobker is an independent financial adviser with Holborn Assets in Dubai. Contact her at keren@holbornassets.com

Dubai Rugby Sevens

November 30-December 2, at The Sevens, Dubai

Gulf Under 19

Pool A – Abu Dhabi Harlequins, Jumeirah College Tigers, Dubai English Speaking School 1, Gems World Academy

Pool B – British School Al Khubairat, Bahrain Colts, Jumeirah College Lions, Dubai English Speaking School 2

Pool C - Dubai College A, Dubai Sharks, Jumeirah English Speaking School, Al Yasmina

Pool D – Dubai Exiles, Dubai Hurricanes, Al Ain Amblers, Deira International School

The specs

Engine: 3.0 twin-turbo inline six-cylinder
Transmission: eight-speed
Power: 503hp
Torque: 600Nm
Price: from Dh400,000 (estimate)
On sale: now

5 of the most-popular Airbnb locations in Dubai

Bobby Grudziecki, chief operating officer of Frank Porter, identifies the five most popular areas in Dubai for those looking to make the most out of their properties and the rates owners can secure:

• Dubai Marina

The Marina and Jumeirah Beach Residence are popular locations, says Mr Grudziecki, due to their closeness to the beach, restaurants and hotels.

Frank Porter’s average Airbnb rent:
One bedroom: Dh482 to Dh739 
Two bedroom: Dh627 to Dh960 
Three bedroom: Dh721 to Dh1,104

• Downtown

Within walking distance of the Dubai Mall, Burj Khalifa and the famous fountains, this location combines business and leisure.  “Sure it’s for tourists,” says Mr Grudziecki. “Though Downtown [still caters to business people] because it’s close to Dubai International Financial Centre."

Frank Porter’s average Airbnb rent:
One bedroom: Dh497 to Dh772
Two bedroom: Dh646 to Dh1,003
Three bedroom: Dh743 to Dh1,154

• City Walk

The rising star of the Dubai property market, this area is lined with pristine sidewalks, boutiques and cafes and close to the new entertainment venue Coca Cola Arena.  “Downtown and Marina are pretty much the same prices,” Mr Grudziecki says, “but City Walk is higher.”

Frank Porter’s average Airbnb rent:
One bedroom: Dh524 to Dh809 
Two bedroom: Dh682 to Dh1,052 
Three bedroom: Dh784 to Dh1,210 

• Jumeirah Lake Towers

Dubai Marina’s little brother JLT resides on the other side of Sheikh Zayed road but is still close enough to beachside outlets and attractions. The big selling point for Airbnb renters, however, is that “it’s cheaper than Dubai Marina”, Mr Grudziecki says.

Frank Porter’s average Airbnb rent:
One bedroom: Dh422 to Dh629 
Two bedroom: Dh549 to Dh818 
Three bedroom: Dh631 to Dh941

• Palm Jumeirah

Palm Jumeirah's proximity to luxury resorts is attractive, especially for big families, says Mr Grudziecki, as Airbnb renters can secure competitive rates on one of the world’s most famous tourist destinations.

Frank Porter’s average Airbnb rent:
One bedroom: Dh503 to Dh770 
Two bedroom: Dh654 to Dh1,002 
Three bedroom: Dh752 to Dh1,152 

Top tips

Create and maintain a strong bond between yourself and your child, through sensitivity, responsiveness, touch, talk and play. “The bond you have with your kids is the blueprint for the relationships they will have later on in life,” says Dr Sarah Rasmi, a psychologist.
Set a good example. Practise what you preach, so if you want to raise kind children, they need to see you being kind and hear you explaining to them what kindness is. So, “narrate your behaviour”.
Praise the positive rather than focusing on the negative. Catch them when they’re being good and acknowledge it.
Show empathy towards your child’s needs as well as your own. Take care of yourself so that you can be calm, loving and respectful, rather than angry and frustrated.
Be open to communication, goal-setting and problem-solving, says Dr Thoraiya Kanafani. “It is important to recognise that there is a fine line between positive parenting and becoming parents who overanalyse their children and provide more emotional context than what is in the child’s emotional development to understand.”


2000: Israel withdraws from Lebanon after nearly 30 years without an officially demarcated border. The UN establishes the Blue Line to act as the frontier.

2007: Lebanon and Cyprus define their respective exclusive economic zones to facilitate oil and gas exploration. Israel uses this to define its EEZ with Cyprus

2011: Lebanon disputes Israeli-proposed line and submits documents to UN showing different EEZ. Cyprus offers to mediate without much progress.

2018: Lebanon signs first offshore oil and gas licencing deal with consortium of France’s Total, Italy’s Eni and Russia’s Novatek.

2018-2019: US seeks to mediate between Israel and Lebanon to prevent clashes over oil and gas resources.

The specs

Engine: 3.9-litre twin-turbo V8
Power: 620hp from 5,750-7,500rpm
Torque: 760Nm from 3,000-5,750rpm
Transmission: Eight-speed dual-clutch auto
On sale: Now
Price: From Dh1.05 million ($286,000)

The Specs

Engine: 1.6-litre 4-cylinder petrol
Power: 118hp
Torque: 149Nm
Transmission: Six-speed automatic
Price: From Dh61,500
On sale: Now

Diriyah project at a glance

- Diriyah’s 1.9km King Salman Boulevard, a Parisian Champs-Elysees-inspired avenue, is scheduled for completion in 2028
- The Royal Diriyah Opera House is expected to be completed in four years
- Diriyah’s first of 42 hotels, the Bab Samhan hotel, will open in the first quarter of 2024
- On completion in 2030, the Diriyah project is forecast to accommodate more than 100,000 people
- The $63.2 billion Diriyah project will contribute $7.2 billion to the kingdom’s GDP
- It will create more than 178,000 jobs and aims to attract more than 50 million visits a year
- About 2,000 people work for the Diriyah Company, with more than 86 per cent being Saudi citizens

Company profile

Name: WonderTree
Started: April 2016
Co-founders: Muhammad Waqas and Muhammad Usman
Based: Karachi, Pakistan, Abu Dhabi, UAE, and Delaware, US
Sector: Special education, education technology, assistive technology, augmented reality
Number of staff: 16
Investment stage: Growth
Investors: Grants from the Lego Foundation, UAE's Anjal Z, Unicef, Pakistan's Ignite National Technology Fund

UAE medallists at Asian Games 2023

Magomedomar Magomedomarov – Judo – Men’s +100kg
Khaled Al Shehi – Jiu-jitsu – Men’s -62kg
Faisal Al Ketbi – Jiu-jitsu – Men’s -85kg
Asma Al Hosani – Jiu-jitsu – Women’s -52kg
Shamma Al Kalbani – Jiu-jitsu – Women’s -63kg
Omar Al Marzooqi – Equestrian – Individual showjumping
Bishrelt Khorloodoi – Judo – Women’s -52kg
Khalid Al Blooshi – Jiu-jitsu – Men’s -62kg
Mohamed Al Suwaidi – Jiu-jitsu – Men’s -69kg
Balqees Abdulla – Jiu-jitsu – Women’s -48kg
Hawraa Alajmi – Karate – Women’s kumite -50kg
Ahmed Al Mansoori – Cycling – Men’s omnium
Abdullah Al Marri – Equestrian – Individual showjumping
Team UAE – Equestrian – Team showjumping
Dzhafar Kostoev – Judo – Men’s -100kg
Narmandakh Bayanmunkh – Judo – Men’s -66kg
Grigorian Aram – Judo – Men’s -90kg
Mahdi Al Awlaqi – Jiu-jitsu – Men’s -77kg
Saeed Al Kubaisi – Jiu-jitsu – Men’s -85kg
Shamsa Al Ameri – Jiu-jitsu – Women’s -57kg

Company Profile

Company name: Namara
Started: June 2022
Founder: Mohammed Alnamara
Based: Dubai
Sector: Microfinance
Current number of staff: 16
Investment stage: Series A
Investors: Family offices

Jawab Iteiqal
Director: Mohamed Sammy
Starring: Mohamed Ramadan, Ayad Nasaar, Mohamed Adel and Sabry Fawaz
2 stars

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