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Many European and Russian expatriates in UAE are choosing freelance work as an alternative

UAE employment visa applications will climb by about one-third this year, with many expatriates from Europe and Russia opting for freelancing work. The managing director of recruitment and HR consultancy Connect Freelance told AGBI.

The prediction made by Mr. Aaron Portero suggests that it is expected to be a significant increase(more than 25%) in the number of individuals applying for Freelance visas in the year 2023. Factors such as a robust job market, a growing economy, or a specific industry or sector experiencing growth could all contribute to an increase in job visa applications in the UAE.

This information suggests that in the year 2022, there was high demand for visa applications in the fields of blockchain and fintech. This could be due to a growing interest and investment in these industries, as well as an increasing need for individuals seeking to live a better quality or standard of life.

An increase in the number of ex-pat workers, or individuals who are working in a country other than their home country, can potentially lead to a healthy increase in new companies being formed. Expat workers often bring new ideas, skills, and connections to a country, which can help to spur economic growth and innovation. They may also be more likely to start their own businesses or invest in existing ones, as they have international experience and often a global perspective. Additionally, an increase in ex-pat workers can also lead to a more diverse workforce, which can bring new perspectives, ideas, and knowledge to the companies.

UAE freelancing visa reforms have contributed to an increase in the country’s self-employed workforce. Connect Freelance witnessed a 450% annual increase in the Freelance Visa application alone.

There’s a great demand among businesses for freelancers – both because organizations are constrained by costs or are trying to fill roles that don’t need a full-time commitment,” Portero said.

Portero said they also see a lot of people migrating from Russia, “using the freelancing visa option to bring themselves and their family to a safer and better location. Consulting, content developers, tutors, fitness trainers, and IT professionals are among the most popular freelancing businesses.”

According to Connect Freelance, around 60% of freelance visa applications are from UAE citizens, while 40% are from those living overseas who desire to move to UAE.

“One of the key reasons why UAE citizens are converting to freelancing visas is because firms prefer to recruit people who already have a visa,” Portero explained.

The UAE is always open to doing business with Russian people and organizations. We have noticed an increase in Russian foreign direct investment (FDI) at AGBI. We observed a more than 34% rise in market entrants in 2022, with trade being the most sought-after company activity, according to a spokeswoman.

“Despite the EU sanctions against Russia staying in place, we continue to expect FDI and new market entrants to rise, with Russian enterprises expected to have a 20 percent market share in the UAE by the end of 2023.”

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