As of the first day of 2023, residents of the UAE have reason to feel optimistic about not just the new year, but about living in a country that is prioritising the needs of all its people. A number of new laws that were revealed months ago – which point to a distinct and positive shift in the UAE – have now begun to apply to all those who call the country their home.
The unemployment insurance scheme, for example, is a safety net that will help those who lose their jobs to stay until they secure another. The laws are a set of improved and progressive legislation, with a few to roll out in the coming months. Seen in their entirety, these measures undoubtedly further the country's social development. Even so, they are essentially add-ons to already established positive trends in the country. Whether the new laws concern social security, unemployment insurance, the change in family law, Emiratisation in the private sector, or corporate tax, their purpose is clear: to bolster the UAE's legal framework and to provide stability to all its residents.
As President Sheikh Mohamed said in his new year greetings, "We reflect with gratitude on how far we have come as a nation and renew our commitment to creating an even brighter future together."
By formulating and setting into motion these new laws, it is clear that the leaders want to provide a better quality of life for all who live here. It is not the case that only a small percentage of people are affected by the changes; these laws affect everybody. They are even a lifeline for people who may be enduring an especially challenging period in their lives, either between jobs or resolving personal matters. For them too, witnessing first hand the progress on crucial legal fronts will provide relief and a form of protection, as it will to everyone living in the country.
In a world fraught with turmoil and with global economic forecasts spelling uncertainty for 2023, these laws go an especially long way to ease the worries in any household, big or small, across the country. That is the consideration at the core of what the UAE strives for and it is clear from the wishes of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, for the new year, when he said: "We will embrace 2023 with a relentless spirit to achieve no less than the best." By every indication, this is bound to be an important year for the UAE, with a hallmark being Cop28, the international climate summit, which it will host towards the end of the year.
As time goes on, fruits of the UAE's new and wide-ranging laws will become increasingly evident. Already in the year 2020, during the peak of the pandemic, the UAE had embarked on a path to ease the lives of its residents, when it brought in one of the biggest overhauls in the legal system in years, pertaining to family and social law.
The country's subsequent changes to visa rules in 2021 addressed the new reality of workplaces, brought on by Covid-19, by making it possible for remote workers to get a one-year residency permit and work from the UAE.
These steps reflect a mindset that caters to future needs of the UAE's diverse workforce. Examined broadly, that the country continues on such a path, of progress and progressiveness, is a hopeful note on which to begin the year.