Dubai is well-known amongst the business community for being a hot-hub for entrepreneurs, but of the other seven emirates that make up the UAE there’s another destination that’s coming up in the ranks – Ras Al Khaimah.
Ras Al Khaimah (or RAK as it’s most commonly referred to) is now recognized as one of the most attractive industrial and business destinations in the Middle East with over 7,000 companies from around the globe putting down their roots in RAK. Only a 45 minute drive from Dubai, it offers the same Free Zone benefits of its neighbours but also comes with low living costs – perfect for foreign investors who want to seek out new territories.
Here are some more reasons why entrepreneurs are setting up their business in RAK:
· 100% tax exemptions - no corporate or personal tax
· 100% repatriation of capital and profits
· 100% foreign ownership of companies
· Competitive lease rates
· No restriction on hiring expatriates
· Fixed exchange rate against the US dollar
· Affordable office and warehouse space
RAK also offers a Non-Free Zone option which is popular amongst export companies who want to benefit from custom duty free trade with countries within the Gulf Cooperation Council and Greater Arab Free Trade Area.
RAK has two industrial parks – Al Hamra and Al Ghail. Al Hamra is suitable for light industries and with its close proximity to the city and its living and leisure facilities (including a golf course, shopping malls and waterpark) it’s a no-brainer choice for many foreign entrepreneurs. For investors with bigger projects, Al Ghail is able to deal with larger-scale operations including land plots of 5000m², 25 year leases plus the possibility of constructing warehouses, offices and workers’ accommodation.
On the subject of employees, RAK provides visa sponsorship services. Depending on the size of the company and certain requirements, 3-year visas can be arranged for investors, partners and shareholders. Employment visas are valid for 2 years and family visas can be issued as long as the family do not stay outside the UAE for six consecutive months.
Companies from all over the world have gone through the RAK system in order to successfully grow and expand their business. For example, Saverglass - a French company that makes luxury glass bottles - chose to set up their manufacturing plant in Al Hamra park in 2013 due to its close proximity to key shipping destinations; Eternity Technologies - a UK based company that makes batteries – came to RAK in 2011 because of the ready availability of land, skilled manpower and the secure power supply; and Korean-based Young Kwa Construction & Engineering Ltd located to RAK back in 2006 for the low operation and accommodation costs.