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Seven New Dubai Rules and Laws From 2021

20 January 2022

Seven New Dubai Rules and Laws From 2021

The year 2021 was a year of change in Dubai. There were changes to laws and regulations on many fronts covering social issues, marriage, drug laws, and of course COVID restrictions. Here are the top seven changes from 2021.

Law Changes for Relationships

The President of the UAE HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan approved several changes to social rules in the country, forty in total, and they all went through on 28th November 2021.

Among the largest set of legislative changes in UAE’s history, they became effective on 2nd January 2022 and included:

  • - Eased restrictions on children conceived outside of marriage including extra-marital relationships. Unmarried couples are now not required to marry on the condition that the child is acknowledged and receives proper care
  • - Both parents are required to provide travel documents and ID as regulated by their country of residence
  • - Failure to provide such documentation will lead to criminal prosecution with prison sentences of up to two years

Dubai Changes to Cyber laws

On the same date as the relationship measure changes, tighter regulations were introduced on so-called “cyber-bullying” and online harassment, and a crackdown on fake news.

Further, a new law across the UAE will “address concerns raised by online technologies and their applications and abuse.” This law covers other areas of concern online such as:

  • - False advertising and fake promotions
  • - Unlicensed crypto-currency trading
  • - Unregulated sales of medical products and supplements

This new law provides courts with new powers to confiscate software, hardware, and other content used pursuing the above. They also have the power to order such information deleted.

New Labour Laws in Dubai

The working week in Dubai has always been Sunday to Thursday. However, government workers now follow a Monday to Friday pattern. While not required, most private businesses have already followed suit. This change became effective from Monday 3rd January 2022.

Further labour laws include flexible working hours for the private sector; employees can opt for flexible or temporary work, including expansion of right to freelance, work sharing, and condensed hours. This latter part of Federal Decree-Law No 33 of 2021 permits 40-hour-per-week employees to work a three-day or four-day week if they desire.

New Dubai Travel Restrictions in 2021

Currently, any new arrivals in the UAE are required by law to take a Covid-19 PCR test. Entry is only permitted following a negative result. When this test must be taken varies from country to country though it is typically in the range of 48-72 hours (2-3 days). New regulations in Dubai means that the unvaccinated citizens of UAE are not permitted international travel from 10th January 2022.

From the same date, those who are vaccinated must have received the third (booster shot) before travelling.

Changes to Covid-19 Laws and Regulations

For understandable reasons, the regulations and rules surrounding pandemic mitigation measures were subject to constant change throughout 2021. From 21st December 2021 those rules were:

  • - On social distancing, previous regulations requiring people keep a two-metre gap was reduced to one metre
  • - Up to ten guests per table in a restaurant. Up to six on a table for cafes
  • - Dancing not permitted
  • - A green pass is required on the Al Hosn app for anyone wishing to enter any government facility
  • - Hotels may run at 100% of capacity but entertainment facilities are restricted to 70%
  • - Weddings may take place, limited to one hundred people and all guests and staff must test negative for COVID-19
  • - No more than thirty people at a home gathering such as a party
  • - Face masks required in public

On 29th December 2021, a new regulation was introduced that guests may not consume drinks or food at a bar. Table seating is required.

New Drug Laws for 2021

Also on 28th November 2021, several UAE drug laws were relaxed, most notably reducing sentence length for first-time offences which has been reduced from two years to three months. Further, those convicted will face a fine of anything between Dhs20k-100k.

Now, those convicted of possession and use may attend a secure centre offering drug education and addiction treatment in place of prison detention.

Expats in UAE are now not automatically deported, the decision on sentencing and deportation now solely up to the presiding judge.

Changes to Bounced Cheque Procedures

From 26th December 2021, bounced cheques in Dubai are decriminalised except in cases of pursuit of fraud. Such cases are now settled out of court as a civil matter to resolve such issues far more quickly.

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