UAE Overhaul of Laws Benefits Australian Expats – the United Arab Emirates (UAE) government has recently approved Federal Law-Decrees to amend the Personal Status, Civil Transactions, Penal Code and Criminal Procedural laws which will greatly benefit Australian Expats in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and surrounding emirates.

With a vast expatriate population the UAE is home to more than 200 nationalities and the recent changes are aimed at accommodating the needs of this diverse resident base.

Some of the key changes that affect Australian expats include:

  • Cohabitation of unmarried couples – many young Australian expat couples find their way to the UAE however have always found the rule of no cohabitation whilst unmarried difficult to manage. Under the newly announced rules unmarried couples are now legally allowed to live together.
  • Estate Planning – as the UAE is a country based on Sharia law the division of assets at the time of death has always been a complicated matter for Australian expats in the UAE however under the new law changes the rules stipulate that any inheritances would be dealt with as per the nationality of the deceased person. Should any post mortem terms be included in the will then they would be dealt with according to the law of the country specified in the will. If there is no specific mention in the will regarding the applicable law then the law of the country that the deceased is a citizen of will be applied. Should the deceased expat own property in the UAE then the normal UAE laws will apply and we recommend that Australian expats register a will in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC).
  • Divorce – for Australian expats who get divorced in the UAE, rather than the old rules of the law of the country of the husbands nationality at the time of the marriage occurred being applicable the new rules state that the laws of the country where the marriage took place are to apply.
  • Alcohol – not that alcohol was ever hard to legally obtain in the UAE with the requisite licenses but the new rules decriminalize alcohol consumption. Anyone who drinks or is in possession of alcohol in authorised areas with out a license will not face penalties.


About Atlas Wealth Management in the UAE

Atlas Wealth Management is the leading provider of Australian expat tax financial advice and wealth management services. With clients in over 30 countries, we are the only Australian financial services firm that specialises in providing financial planning and wealth management services to Aussie expats.

With offices based in Dubai and Australia we are also the only firm based in the UAE that is regulated by both the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) and the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) to provide specialised tax financial advice to Australian expats in the UAE as well the greater middle east region.

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