The BCB offers UK companies a twenty four month incubation period in the UAE. Upon completion of its second year, a business must then decide the next step with regards to permanent long-term establishment in the UAE.
BCB client companies will be operating ‘on shore’, so the natural progression for most companies will be to continue with the Foreign Branch set up with the BCB, albeit on its own (with a new Service Agent and its own office premises). The BCB will assist with this transition process – including support to identify a new Service Agent.
The Free Zones are a very popular route to market for many foreign companies wanting to operate in the UAE (there are circa 40 Free Zones throughout the Emirates). These dedicated areas offer a foreign company 100% ownership. However, Free Zone companies cannot legally trade with on-shore companies or government departments. The BCB will actively facilitate introductions to Free Zone operators for any client company looking to take that route.
The Free Zone vs On Shore question is probably the most fundamental issue that new companies in the UAE have to deal with. The BCB’s on shore location means all our clients have full market access and can continue to operate on the same basis once the 24 months with the BCB is complete. The BCB can also be used as a stepping stone into the Free Zones and we recommend to all firms that a lawyer is consulted so that the right option for each company is identified.