What Is ESR in UAE?

What Is ESR in UAE?


Wissam Kassouf


Thinking of starting a business in the UAE, but not sure about the ESR regulations? Asking the question what is ESR in UAE? Rest assured, you’re not the only one who finds this confusing.

But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with everything you need to know.

Read on to find out what conditions businesses must meet under the ESR regulations:

So, What Is ESR in UAE?

The Emirates Startup Regulations, also known as the ESR, are a set of laws that govern how startups can operate in the United Arab Emirates.

If you’re not familiar with them, it’s important to learn about them before starting your business.

The ESR was introduced in 2014 as part of the UAE’s goal to become one of the most startup-friendly countries in the world.

They provide several benefits to startups including reduced licensing fees. There are no minimum capital requirements and no restrictions on foreign ownership.

ESR in UAE stands for the Economic Substance Regulations. These regulations are designed to ensure that businesses operating in the UAE have a sufficient economic presence in the country.

The ESR regulations in UAE were introduced in 2019, and they apply to all companies registered in the UAE, with a few exceptions. Businesses must comply with the regulations if they want to continue operating in the UAE.

Here are some more things that they insist on if you are planning to start a business in the UAE:

They Must Be Physically Present in the UAE.

The United Arab Emirates is a country with a strong economy. There are many businesses in the UAE, and to do business here you must meet some requirements.

First, businesses must have a physical presence in the UAE. This can be an office, warehouse, or any other space where business activities take place.

Second, businesses must have employees based in the UAE who are involved in the day-to-day operations of the company. Finally, businesses must show that they generate income from economic activity within the UAE.

This income must be enough to make it worth the company’s time to be in the country. If the income is high enough, businesses can take advantage of the many opportunities for entrepreneurs in the UAE and help their economy grow.

To make sure they are following ESR regulations, businesses need to meet these requirements. This will allow them to operate legally in UAE.

They Must Make Money From Activities in the UAE.

The ESR requires businesses to make money from activities in the UAE. This rule was created in 2019 to make sure that businesses were actually doing business in the UAE, and not just using it as a home for their work.

Businesses must show that they make money from activities like production, selling, and providing services. They must also have a physical presence in the UAE, with employees who have the right qualifications and experience.

The ESR has helped make the UAE a more attractive place for businesses. This is because it provides certainty and transparency around the legal requirements for doing business in the country.

If businesses do not meet these requirements, they can face significant penalties. This can include fines and the revocation of their business licenses. So businesses must comply with the ESR before operating in the UAE.

They Need Enough Employees Working in the UAE.

Businesses in the UAE must follow a set of rules that are designed to protect workers. These rules are called the Employment Security Regulation (ESR) and they must be followed.

One of these rules is that businesses must have a minimum number of employees working in the UAE.

This makes sure that companies are not overworking their staff and that workers have enough time to rest and recover between shifts.

The ESR also requires businesses to provide workers with health insurance, paid leave, and end-of-service benefits.

These benefits help to ensure that workers are treated fairly and can live in the UAE without fear of exploitation or abuse.

Meeting these regulations is important for businesses as it creates a safe and fair working environment for their employees.

Additionally, the ESR regulates the maximum length of shifts, breaks, and overtime hours. This helps to create a healthier and more sustainable work environment for employees.

Meeting these regulations is important for businesses as it helps to create a safe and fair workplace while also meeting their legal obligations.

They Must Spend a Certain Amount of Money on Expenses in the UAE:

The UAE has several requirements for businesses operating within its borders. One requirement is the ESR, which stands for ‘Expenses Spend Ratio’ and this is a critical factor to understand.

This basically means that businesses must prove that they are spending a certain amount of money on expenses within the country.

The purpose of this is to make sure that businesses are contributing to the local economy and not just exploiting it for their own gain.

To meet the ESR requirements, businesses must keep track of their spending. They must also provide documentation to the authorities.

If they don’t do this, they might have to pay a lot of money or even get shut down. But by following these guidelines, businesses can make sure they are complying with the ESR regulations and stay open in the UAE.

They Must Have Their Headquarters or Principal Place of Business in the UAE:

The ESR regulations are in place to make sure that businesses in the UAE are playing by the same rules. This helps to create a fair environment for businesses and also ensures that they are paying their fair share of taxes.

To meet these requirements, businesses must have their headquarters or main place of business in the UAE. They must also keep accurate records of their income and expenses, and file their returns on time.

Additionally, businesses must disclose any changes in their ownership or structure to the authorities. If you don’t follow these requirements, you may have to pay fines and penalties.

So it is important to make sure that you are following the ESR regulations. This will help businesses stay competitive in the UAE and avoid paying costly fines.

They Must Be Managed and Controlled by the UAE:

The Employment of Nationalities Law, also known as the ESR Regulations, requires all businesses in the UAE to have Emirati nationals in control of their business.

This includes having a board of directors that is majority Emirati-controlled and having a corporate structure that is at least 51% owned by Emiratis.

The Emirati-owned business regulations state that businesses in the UAE must have an Emirati general manager or CEO. They must also employ a certain percentage of Emirati nationals in management positions.

However, businesses that meet these requirements will be able to operate without any restrictions.

This means that the ESR Regulations provide an important framework for ensuring that Emirati nationals manage and control businesses in the UAE.

However, businesses that do not meet these requirements will be subject to certain restrictions, such as quotas on the number of foreign employees they can hire.

They Must File an Annual Report With the Authorities:

To comply with ESR regulations, businesses must do several things. First, they must file an annual report that tells the authorities about their compliance. This report must be filed six months after the end of their financial year.

Second, businesses must keep accurate records of their compliance. The authorities can request these records from businesses. Employees must comply with the regulations when they are working.

If they don’t, the company can get fined a lot of money or even go to prison. The ESR regulations are designed to help businesses in the UAE contribute to the economy.

If businesses do not meet the requirements, they may be subject to penalties, including fines and revocation of their business licenses.

If you’re thinking of starting a business in the UAE, it’s important to make sure you understand the ESR regulations and how they apply to your business.

Failure to comply with the regulations could result in serious consequences for your business.

Ready to Start Your Business in the UAE?

The ESR regulations are laws that businesses in the UAE must obey. These laws are in place to protect the rights of employees and to make sure businesses follow the country’s labour laws.

Under these regulations, businesses must provide their employees with certain benefits, like health insurance and paid leave.

They also must comply with certain working conditions, like maximum hours of work and minimum wage standards. Plus, businesses must register their employees with the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation.


If you’re looking to start a business in the UAE, you must understand what is ESR in UAE and comply with the regulations.

To learn more about what is required under these laws, be sure to check out our blog for more articles like this one.

Our team of experts are here to help guide you through every step of setting up your business, so don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions.

Reach for your dreams.
Create your legacy.




Quarter Deck
QE2, Mina Rashid
P.O. Box 554789
Dubai, UAE

Copyright © 2024 Duqe. All rights reserved. | Website by Wild Creative