2020 has been quite the year. With the paradigm shift this year introduced, several companies are leading the work-from-home revolution, including – to mention a few – Careem, Shopify, and Twitter. Office centricity is officially almost over.
There is a group of people that are familiar with this lifestyle all too well, years before this revolution even began: freelancers. Freelancers know firsthand the incredible outcomes that distributed teams can deliver. They have long embraced a digital, ‘remote-first’ model. And what greater place to do this than the metropolitan hub of business, the UAE. And with an average annual income of AED 96,000, it is clear that freelancers are thriving in the UAE.
The freelance environment in the UAE has grown exponentially in the last few years, earning it the rank of fourth-best country to freelance in, according to a study released by Expert Market UK.
Several factors come into play when considering what makes a place great for the freelance life; that includes: cost of living, income tax, access to credit, average internet speed, transport networks, free wifi availability, and even the cost of a coffee.
In this post, we’ll go over some of the reasons why the UAE is one of the finest places to be a freelancer.
The Freelance Lifestyle
Before we delve in, let’s go over the general perks of being a freelancer.
As a freelancer, you set your own pace of work. Corporate bureaucracy is almost non-existent, making skill the singlemost important factor. You’re not committed to rigid office hours. You start when you see fit and you stop when you need to. If you are a night owl, you have space to exercise that freedom. There exists no deep hierarchy. You work as you intend for yourself, in alignment with your client.
As long as you submit quality work at the deadline, you are where you need to be.
Opportunities Swarm in UAE
The UAE has long been a hub for expats, venture capitalists, investors, and entrepreneurs from various industries. The diversity of demographics benefitting from freelancing in the UAE is a big reason behind its latest emergence. The UAE has decentralized freelancing in such a way that people from all backgrounds can find work through freelance marketplaces such as Ureed.com, and earn extra to support their families or hobbies.
Dubai Economy recently launched ‘The Great Economic Reset Programme’ in partnership with the the Mohammed bin Rashid School of Government (MBRSG) as part of their efforts to reshape the emirate’s economy towards a more agile, resilient, sustainable post-pandemic future. It enables job seekers to engage in the gig economy and shift to remote work.
Among the opportunities UAE has offered in gearing towards this shift is the newly launched freelancer license, approved by Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (ADDED) that allows both natives and expats to take part in 48 economic activities. This is a huge leap forward for the freelance community in UAE because previously, the license was provided to UAE nationals only.
The UAE Infrastructure is Built for Freelance
The overall infrastructure of the UAE is suitable for freelancers of any background. It’s one of the primary reasons why the UAE made the list. Going back to the judging factors mentioned earlier, let’s consider some of the aspects that facilitate the work environment for a freelancer based in the UAE.
Quality & speed of Internet
To start off, in the UAE, the internet is blistering fast. The fastest in the region. Finding free wifi is very easy in the cities of Abu Dhabi and Dubai. Most hotels, restaurants, cafes offer free wifi for consumers.
If you are not a fan of working from home, coworking spaces may be the remedy for you. Coworking spaces have exploded in the last few years. A space where individuals from different backgrounds and occupations share an office space, usually equipped with internet and other utilities. Coworking spaces are far more cost-effective than getting a dedicated office space and that is because you are only paying for the space and services that you use.
The abundance of coworking spaces has contributed to the streamlining of life for freelancers in the UAE. Such spaces allow for freelancers to bond as well as build a stellar network.
The UAE harbors 37 free zones, and a handful of them offer spectacular opportunities for freelancers. Ajman Free Zone, Fujairah Creative City Freezone, RAKEZ (Ras Al Khaimah Economic Zone), etc. are some of the well-known ones working to create a friendly environment for freelancers (Check out our article for some of the best co-working spaces in the UAE). All you need to do is obtain a freelance license from your preferred free zones depending on your line of work and relish in the perks.
The Emergence of Local Freelancing Platforms
Besides the infrastructure, on the digital front, platforms like the Dubai-based Ureed.com have arisen to accomodate precisely this market, helping clients find their best match among 100,000 freelance experts from different industries. Since its inception, the team has worked relentlessly around the clock to bridge the gap between clients and virtual workers in the UAE, opening up a plethora of work opportunities. Requiring no subscription fee, freelancers are able to place their pitch based on the budget, size and complexity of the project.
The UAE has entered a new era of globalization through empowering freelancers. With numerous opportunities in the air, it’s no wonder why it ranked number four in the list of best countries for freelancers. With the journey it has embarked on, it’s not long before we finally dissolve traditional model of hiring that lacks options and infrastructure. Let us embrace working remotely as the default for everyone in the future – one that represents a huge opportunity and strategic advantage for businesses and freelancers alike.
Kickstart your freelance career now on Ureed.com. Browse through projects from over 150+ industries and connect with top employers from the GCC and beyond.