How to start a recruitment agency in Dubai, UAE


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There comes a point in the life-cycle of any growing business when the time comes to make a new hire.

But recruiting new staff can be something of a minefield, and the consequences of getting it wrong can be severe. A bad hire can cost thousands, not to mention the time taken to train your new employee.

That’s why many businesses in Dubai and the UAE turn to the specialist services of a recruitment agency to attract and employ the best talent. As business morale and recruiting volume resume at normal levels in 2022, the employment market in the UAE is expected to continue improving.

This bustling employment market can be lucrative for the UAE’s recruitment agencies. And, provided you’ve got the business know-how and drive to make it a success, it’s easy to start a recruitment agency in Dubai, UAE.

How to open a recruitment agency or HR consultancy in Dubai

Whatever your industry, there are a couple of steps that need to be taken when starting a business in the UAE before you can apply for your license.

The first is to outline your business activity. There are thousands of permitted activities to choose from. When you open a recruitment agency in Dubai or decide to become a recruitment consultant in Dubai, there are several activities to choose from. Some activities cover you to broker between employers and employees, while others allow you to operate as a temporary employment agency. It’s important that your chosen activity aligns exactly with the activities you wish to carry out.

The next step is to choose a company name. This takes a little more thought in the UAE than in other parts of the world. Why? Because the UAE has a strict, yet easy-to-follow, set of naming conventions. An expert in company formation can help you make sure you adhere to them.

In short, you should avoid any offensive or blasphemous language. Avoid names of well-known organisations and avoid abbreviations if naming your company after yourself – i.e. Ann Smith Consulting, rather than A Smith Consulting. You must also check that your chosen name is available to register.

The final step before making your license application is to decide whether you wish to establish your business in a free zone or on the mainland.

There are many advantages to both. Free zones offer benefits such as a quick and easy incorporation process, ongoing business support, and financial incentives such as tax exemptions and zero currency restrictions.

Mainland setup, on the other hand, allows you to trade directly with the UAE market and take on potentially lucrative government contracts.

The setup that’s right for you will depend on the nature of your business. Again, a company formation expert can advise on the best approach.


If you are looking to get your company license in the UAE, free zone, or mainland, or even in Qatar and Saudi Arabia –  then our team can help. We also offer monthly installment plans for UAE company registration.


Applying for your license for recruitment agency

With your name, activities and setup type decided upon, you can now make your license application to open your recruitment agency or start a HR consultancy in Dubai, UAE. In most cases, you will require a commercial license to operate as a recruitment agency in Dubai and the UAE.

You can make your license for recruitment agency application either directly to the Department of Economic Development (DED) or direct to one of the UAE’s many free zones.

Free zones are often the most straightforward and cost-effective way to start a recruitment company and offer many attractive benefits including zero percent personal and corporate income tax and 100% exemption from customs tax. Also, unlike in many other countries, UAE free zone businesses also benefit from the freedom of being able to repatriate all invested capital and profits. There are also no foreign exchange controls or currency restrictions.

As well as applying for your business license, you’ll also need to register your company with the Ministry of Labor in Dubai. Finally, you must also appoint a manager who holds a license to carry out specific recruitment-related activities. This manager must be a UAE national.

Start a recruitment agency in UAE

Ready to start your recruitment agency in the UAE?

While the steps needed to start a business in the UAE are not overly complex, it does require a level of prior knowledge of the process. What’s more, it is important to note that the application process is only straightforward if your business application is complete at the time of submission and free from errors.

To help you ensure that this is the case, it’s a good idea to work with a company formation specialist when establishing a new company in the UAE.

We are the team of Set Hub, your best business setup advisor across the Gulf Region. If you are looking to open your company in Dubai, across the UAE, in KSA or Qatar, get a free zone license, or start a business in the mainland, then we can help. From visa applications to all the necessary admin tasks, we handle it all – leaving you free to get on with your business.