Part 1- IHC Humanitarian Organizations and Commercial Companies (FZLLC) Common Regulations
Chapter 3 - Substantive Regulations for Operating in the Free Zone
This chapter sets the compliance duties and the procedures that must be followed by the Humanitarian Organizations and Commercial Entities operating in the Free Zone.
Section 1- Restrictions
Article 26. General Restrictions
a. IHC license is valid for operations in the Free Zone only. The Humanitarian Organization or Commercial Entity cannot operate outside the Free Zone using the License. The Humanitarian Organization or Commercial Entity wishing to operate outside the Free Zone shall do so subject to the applicable Local and Federal Laws.
b. All activities must be in compliance with the Humanitarian Organization or Commercial Entity’s License and restricted to the Property unless otherwise approved by the Authority.
c. Manufacturing of any item is strictly prohibited within the Free zone unless written approval is obtained from the Authority in advance.
d. The following goods are forbidden from entering into the Free Zone:
- Flammable goods except fuels necessary for operations as permitted by the concerned Authority and any other dangerous goods that are part of humanitarian stocks;
- Radioactive materials;
- Arms, ammunition and explosives unless authorized by the Relevant Authorities;
- Goods infringing the laws of protecting commercial and industrial property.
e. With the exception of food or beverages vendors specifically approved by the Authority, retail trading is permitted in the Free zone only after obtaining the written approval of the Authority on a case by case basis.
Article 27. Restrictions Related to Sales & Marketing
a. Humanitarian Organizations and Commercial Entities cannot sell or market their products directly outside of the Free Zone. Any activity undertaken by the Humanitarian Organization or Commercial Entity outside of the Free Zone must be undertaken in accordance with the applicable Local and Federal Laws, and the Humanitarian Organization or Commercial Entity must obtain the approval of the Relevant Authority to undertake such activities.
b. Potential customers may visit the Property of the Humanitarian Organization or Commercial Entity for the purpose of viewing goods.
c. The restrictions in this article do not apply to trade exhibitions which are approved by the Relevant Authority in the UAE or the Emirate of Dubai. Humanitarian Organizations and/or Commercial Entities may themselves display and sell their products at such trade exhibitions in the same way as any other foreign company after getting the UAE or Dubai Relevant Authority’s approval.
d. Humanitarian Organizations and Commercial Entities are not allowed to produce any collateral that includes information or content related to the Authority or the Free Zone without obtaining approval from the Authority on the content to be produced or published.
Section 2- Health, Safety, Environment and Fire
Article 28. General Provisions
a. Paved ground in front and behind warehouses and corridors, between offices of buildings and open areas, between plots of land, are not to be used for the placement or storage of equipment, waste, or other items.
b. With the exception of food or beverages vendors specifically approved by the Authority, cooking is not permitted in any Property.
c. The Humanitarian Organization or Commercial Entity who is using contractors within the Free zone should ensure that all contractors abide by the Authority’s safety and security rules promulgated by the Authority from time to time.
Article 29. Reporting of Accidents or Serious Illness
In addition to contacting the relevant public emergency service, in the event of an Employee suffering any contagious illness or emergency medical condition occurred in the Free Zone, or an accident/ incident/ fire/ food poisoning etc., the Humanitarian Organization and/or Commercial Entity must:
- Immediately report the incident to the Authority;
- Within two (2) Working Days of the illness or accident, present a written report to the Authority, in accordance with any procedures promulgated by the Authority from time to time, giving the Employee’s name, identity number, address and nationality. The report must also include a brief account of the circumstances of the illness or accident and a note of any medical aid provided; and
- Maintain records of any illness or accident adversely affecting any Employee.
Article 30. Waste Management
The Authority will be responsible for the provision of waste management services through an outsourced service provider, including the collection and disposal of domestic waste generated at the Premises of the Humanitarian Organizations and Commercial Entities. For this purpose, skips and pick-up services will be provided to the end users occupying offices, warehouses, open storage space etc.
Article 31. Fire Protection, Prevention and Emergency Control
a. The Authority shall implement appropriate fire preventive and fire control measures in accordance with any regulations and practices promulgated by the Authority from time to time.
b. Firefighting personnel are authorized by the Authority to take full control of a firefighting situation. Where a Humanitarian Organization’s or a Commercial Entity’s Property is unguarded, closed or locked, firefighting personnel are authorized to make forced entry where there is reasonable doubt (including a subsequent false alarm discovery), and / or where failure to do so could result in significant losses to any Humanitarian Organization or Commercial Entity, the Authority or other third party.
c. The Humanitarian Organization and/or Commercial Entity shall cooperate and comply with the fire protection, fire prevention and emergency control measures taken by the Authority in accordance with the regulations and best practices issued by the local authorities.
d. Where there is threat of immediate, or actual, danger to health, safety or the environment, the Authority will issue a “prohibition notice”, which requires the Humanitarian Organization and/or Commercial Entity to immediately cease all operations until such time as the required remedial action has been implemented by the Humanitarian Organization and/or Commercial Entity, to the satisfaction of the Authority.
Section 3- Security
Article 32. General Provisions Related to Security
a. The Authority is responsible for the safeguard of personnel and property within the Free Zone area and for authorising all movement of vehicles and personnel in and out of the Free Zone. In the event of any Humanitarian Organization and/or Commercial Entity becoming aware of any fire, theft, or other violations of security, it shall immediately notify the Authority in the first instance. Where appropriate, the Authority shall in turn, notify or involve the Dubai Police or the Dubai Civil Defence, or any other Relevant Authority.
b. For security reasons, the Humanitarian Organization and/or Commercial Entity must inform the Authority in writing about any shift working arrangements outside of normal business hours.
c. Vehicles entering and exiting the Free Zone may be subject to a security check at the various entry and exit gates to the Free zone.
d. The Humanitarian Organization or Commercial Entity who leases any Property must ensure that a second key is lodged with the Authority, and in the event that locks are changed a second key for the changed locks must be lodged with the Authority.
e. Humanitarian Organizations and Commercial Entities must provide the contact details of their nominated Employee to the Authority, who shall be their point of contact in the event of fire, burglary or other incident.
f. For any serious traffic violation occurring within the Free zone, the Authority may notify the Dubai Police for them to take appropriate action. For minor offences not involving accidents, the Authority shall issue a warning to the offending driver and concerned Humanitarian Organization or Commercial Entity.
g. Firearms and weapons are strictly not allowed in the Free zone. Any violations will be notified to the Relevant Authority.
h. Photography or video recording within the Free Zone are admitted only upon approval of the Authority.
i. Traffic accidents or violations shall be reported to the Authority.
Article 33. Access Cards for Working in and Visiting the Free Zone
a. Humanitarian Organizations and Commercial Entities must obtain the following Access Cards for all Employees working, volunteering or interning in, or persons visiting, the Free Zone:
- Employee card for regular employees of Humanitarian Organizations and Commercial Entities.
- Temporary Access Card for the use of Employees on missions, short-term, volunteers.
- Visitor passes which are one day passes conditionally issued to visitors with access limited to designated floors.
- VIP visitor pass. The Pass will be rendered available for VIP visitors, with prior notification (minimum 2 hours) to the Authority’s security focal point, the CEO office and security in charge.
- Contractor pass issued for contractor staff with access and duration limited to services.
b. Any exception to the above procedures must be addressed to the CEO office of the Authority and the security in charge as recommended for the VIPs access.
c. Any Employee arriving at the Premises without access card can obtain a visitor card upon presentation of a valid identification document issued by Government authorities.
Valid Identification documents are considered to be those issued by official Government entities, having validity and reporting an expiry date. For avoidance of doubt, IOI Cards and UNLP are considered as identification document issued by official entities.
Section 4- Traffic Affairs
Article 34. Free Zone Roads
The roads in the Free Zone must be treated as public roads. A driver or operator of a vehicle or equipment, including those whose operations are confined to the Humanitarian Organization or Commercial Entity’s Property, must be in possession of a valid driving license issued by the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) and any other Relevant Authority, and suitable for the class of vehicle or equipment being driven or operated.
Article 35. Free Zone Parking Areas
Vehicles shall only be parked in the designated parking area; violators may be referred to the Law Enforcement Authorities.
Article 36. Licenses Requirements
Vehicles and mobile equipment’s such as forklifts, high level access, etc. including those whose operations are confined to the Humanitarian Organization or Commercial Entity’s Premises, need to be properly licensed by the RTA before they are put into use. Operators and drivers of such vehicles and equipment must be in possession of valid driving licenses issued by RTA suitable for the class of vehicles being driven.
Section 5- Insurance
Article 37. Third Party Liability Insurance
Humanitarian Organizations and Commercial Entities must obtain a third party liability (or public liability) insurance to cover against third party claims that may arise through death or personal injury or in respect of damage to property occasioned and for which the landlord is liable pursuant to any applicable laws.
Article 38. All Risks Insurance
Humanitarian Organizations and Commercial Entities must obtain all risks insurance to cover the internal fixtures and fittings of the Property and all other of the Tenant’s assets contained at the Property at replacement value. All risks insurance of the “contents” of any Property shall be at the discretion of the Humanitarian Organization or Commercial Entity. The Authority will not be liable for any loss or damage to these contents, due to any reason whatsoever, including theft or natural calamities or resulting from any act or omission of the Authority.
Article 39. Workmen Compensation Insurance
Workmen compensation insurance to cover against claims that may arise in relation to the Sponsorship Agreement, in the amount of AED 500,000 per Employee, that covers every Employee, and which covers injury and disability compensation and related medical expenses in accordance with both the Labour Law and the Sponsorship Agreement. The values listed in this Section must be for any single occurrence, and there shall be no limit in the insurance policy as to the number of occurrences.
Article 40. Evidence of Compliance to Insurance Duties
Humanitarian Organizations and Commercial Entities must provide the Authority with evidence that they have obtained the insurance policies detailed in articles 37, 38 and 39, within sixty (60) Working Days of their first License issue date or executing the first Lease or Sponsorship Agreement. In the case of renewal of any License, Lease or Sponsorship Agreement, the Humanitarian Organization and/or Commercial Entity must provide the Authority with evidence that it has renewed the above-mentioned insurance policies at the time of renewal of the License, Lease or Sponsorship Agreement.
Section 6- Employee Affairs
Article 41. Sponsorship
a. The Authority is authorized by the Government of Dubai to sponsor staff engaged to work for the Humanitarian Organizations and Commercial Entities operating in the Free Zone.
b. Humanitarian Organizations and Commercial Entities must enter into a Sponsorship Agreement with the Authority to sponsor Employees who will work in the Free Zone. Humanitarian Organizations and Commercial Entities must at all times comply with all terms and conditions stipulated in the Sponsorship Agreement and any applicable provisions in these Regulations.
c. Whenever the sponsorship by the Authority is needed to sponsor Employees who are to be employed by a UN Organization, Agency, Fund or Program in order to work in the Free Zone, the UN Organization, Agency, Fund and/or Program must sign the related Undertaking provided by the Authority.
Article 42. Employment of Non-Sponsored Employees
a. Humanitarian Organizations and Commercial Entities must not employ a person, whether temporarily or permanently, who is not sponsored by the Authority or approved by the Authority, exceptions are made under the following conditions:.
- The employee is a UAE or GCC National;
- The employee is sponsored by a relative;
- The employee is already employed by a parent or affiliate company of the Humanitarian Organization or Commercial Entity which is registered and licensed in the UAE;
- A volunteer not being paid by the Humanitarian Organization or Commercial Entity, including interns and work experience placements;
- An employee of a UN Organization, Agency, Fund or Programme permitted to operate in the UAE given that he/she holds a diplomatic identification card or an ID card issued by the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.
Article 43. General Rules
a. The Humanitarian Organization and/or Commercial Entity shall execute an Employment Agreement with every Employee that it employs.
b. Humanitarian Organizations and Commercial Entities must submit a letter notifying the Authority with the names of Employees that are authorized to communicate with the Authority in respect of all administrative matters and correspondence. Any changes to the authorized Employees should be immediately notified to the Authority in writing.
Article 44. Employment
a. Humanitarian Organizations and/or Commercial Entities wishing to employ any Employee pursuant to the Sponsorship Agreement or undertaking are responsible for the following advanced costs to the Authority:
- Cost of processing the entry permit for the proposed Employee;
- Cost of air ticket from the proposed Employee’s point of origin to Dubai;
- Cost of processing the proposed Employee’s visa and Employee Card;
- Any other costs notified by the Authority relating to the sponsorship or employment of the proposed Employee or set out in the Sponsorship Agreement, where applicable.
b. In case of Commercial Entities, bank guarantee or company cheque in accordance with the Sponsorship Agreement should be provided to the Authority.
c. Humanitarian Organizations and/or Commercial Entities may not charge the costs identified in this Section to the proposed Employee or deduct the costs from the Employee’s salary.
d. An Employee shall sign the Employment Agreement which shall offer the minimum acceptable conditions of employment. Humanitarian Organizations or Commercial Entities may use the Employment Agreement template provided by the Authority for all their Employees to be sponsored by the Authority. However, the Humanitarian Organization or Commercial Entity and the employee may negotiate the terms and conditions of employment, provided the agreement is not contrary to these Regulations and is in accordance with the Labour Law.
e. Humanitarian Organizations and Commercial Entities shall submit any proposed Employee’s entry permit, passport and Employment Agreement, within thirty (30) Working Days of arrival of such Employee in the UAE, to the Authority in order to initiate the formalities of employment visa stamping in the passport.
f. Where the Employee is sponsored by the Authority, the Authority may provide, at the written request of the Humanitarian Organization or Commercial Entity, a salary certificate comprising the following information:
- The name of the Humanitarian Organization or Commercial Entity;
- The name of the Employee; and
- The monthly salary of the Employee provided the information is consistent with that information held for the Employee by the Authority.
Article 45. Employee Records
a. All Sponsored Employees’ records must be retained by the Humanitarian Organizations and Commercial Entities for at least five (5) years.
b. The Authority may monitor the Humanitarian Organizations and Commercial Entities and their Employees, and request records from them, to ensure that it observes all applicable laws and regulations, as well as the Sponsorship Agreement, where applicable.
c. The Authority may request further clarification or information in respect of any Employee or the Sponsorship Agreement and the Humanitarian Organization or Commercial Entity must respond within three (3) working days.
Article 46. General Rules Related to Termination of Employment Agreement
a. Where the Humanitarian Organization or Commercial Entity intends to terminate the employment of any Sponsored Employee, it must notify the Authority within ten (10) Working Days of the termination.
A confirmation that the Employee is in receipt of the end of service entitlements must be submitted to the Authority.
b. The Authority is to be notified through a signed notification of any disciplinary action taken against a Sponsored Employee within ten (10) days of the action being taken. The following information shall be provided to the Authority:
- Employee Name and Employee Card number;
- Date of the alleged offence;
- Nature of the alleged offence; and
- Disciplinary action taken.
Article 47. Absconding Employee
a. An employee unexplainably absent for a period more than seven continuous calendar days shall be deemed to be an absconding Employee. In such event, the Humanitarian Organization or Commercial Entity shall within five (5) days of an Employee being deemed to be absconding notify the Authority in writing of the same.
b. The Authority shall, upon receiving notification, inform the General Directorate of Residency and Foreign Affairs and may also advertise the absence of the absconding Employee in the local press. The cost of such advertisements plus related costs will be chargeable to the Humanitarian Organization or Commercial Entity as per the tariffs.
Article 48. Resolving Labour Disputes
a. In the resolution of any labour disputes that may arise, the Labour Law and any regulations promulgated by the Authority shall apply.
b. In the event of a labour dispute arising between a Humanitarian Organization or Commercial Entity and a Sponsored Employee, the Authority will, at the request of the Humanitarian Organization, Commercial Entity or the Employee, issue a letter referring the dispute to the Ministry of Labour. The Ministry of Labour may, in turn, refer the matter to Dubai Courts.
c. No labour dispute may be referred directly to either the Ministry of Labour or the Dubai Courts without being first referred to the Authority, who may refuse to make a reference at its sole discretion.
d. The concerned Humanitarian Organization or Commercial Entity shall submit a copy of the verdict issued by the Court to the Authority. The Authority shall implement any decision or order of the Ministry of Labour or Dubai Courts with respect to a labour dispute.
Section 7- VAT
Article 49. Registration for VAT
Humanitarian Organizations and Commercial Entities must register for VAT on the Federal Tax Authority online portal and obtain a Tax Reference Number if their taxable supplies/ expenses exceed the mandatory registration threshold of AED 375,000/-. They may choose to register voluntarily if their supplies are less than the mandatory registration threshold but exceed the voluntary registration threshold of AED 187,000/-. Humanitarian Organizations and Commercial Entities having taxable supplies/expenses less than AED 187,000/- should not register for VAT.
Article 50. IHC: a Designated Zone
The benefits of IHC being a Designated Zone include:
- Non-applicability of VAT on transfer of goods between IHC and another Designated Zone where goods, or part thereof, are not released, and are not in any way used or altered during the transfer between the Designated Zones.
- Non-applicability of VAT on goods imported to IHC in order to be exported.
Section 8- Movement of goods: Import and Export
Article 51. Customs System Control
All cargo’s importation or exportation should pass through Dubai Customs System (E-Mirsal).
Article 52. Customs Physical Control
Considering that IHC is part of the JAFZA and DWC cluster, Dubai Logistics City Gate Number 4 shall work as IHC customs gate for customs physical control purposes. Customs physical control is required in the following cases:
- E-Mirsal requests a random inspection for shipments that are moved within JAFZA.DWC.IHC cluster.
- E-Mirsal requests a random inspection for shipments imported from Dubai International Airport.
- The imported cargo is sealed.
- The shipment is imported from local market, in order to allow the VAT refund by the supplier.
Article 53. Exportation of Warehoused Goods to the Rest of the World and Customs Duty Deposit Refund
a. Goods stored in IHC Free Zone may be exported from Jebel Ali port, DWC or to the rest of the world under FZ transit out declarations without presenting cash or bank guarantees equivalent to the payable customs duties, provided that such goods are exported from the same customs office.
b. Goods must be exported within thirty (30) days from the date of processing their customs declarations. In case of failure to export the goods within the prescribed timeframe, customs measures shall be taken in accordance with the GCC Common Customs Law and instructions issued pursuant thereto.
c. For the purpose of proving such exportation, a request for settlement of declarations must be registered electronically followed by the submittal of the following supporting documents to Customs Refund and Maqasa Department within sixty (60) days from the date of processing the customs declaration:
- A copy of FZ Transit out declaration and a Customs Exit/Entry Certificate, signed and stamped by the competent officer, proving that the goods were exported from the Free Zone to the rest of the world.
- In the event of failure to clear and settle the customs declaration, applicable customs duties shall be levied when payable in accordance with the effective unified GCC customs tariff schedules and penalties shall be imposed in accordance with common customs law and regulations in force.
- In case of delay to export and/or delay to clear and settle the customs declarations after the timeframe prescribed by customs, penalties shall be imposed, and respective fines shall be charged in accordance with the Common Customs Law.
Section 9- Fundraising
Article 54. Ability to Fundraise
Humanitarian Organizations may conduct fundraising events and campaigns by adhering to the Fundraising Regulations that are issued by the Authority in line with the laws and regulations regulating the raising of donations in the Emirate of Dubai. Commercial Entities are not allowed to conduct fundraising activities.
Article 55. Prohibition of Publicity
Humanitarian Organizations are not allowed to announce fundraising events or campaigns or any direct donation through any communication tool without first obtaining the approval of the Authority and the Relevant Authorities.
Section 10- Emergency Response
Article 56. Emergency Task Force
In the event of a high impact disaster (natural or complex emergency) and in case of need for filling humanitarian gaps, the Authority shall proactively activate an internal Task Force for strengthening the Humanitarian Organizations’ response capacities. The Emergency Task Force shall be governed by internal documents issued by the Authority.
Section 11- Awareness and Public Social Activities
Article 57. Awareness and Public Social Activities
Any Humanitarian Organization wishing to conduct awareness and/or public social activities in the UAE should notify the Authority in writing three (3) months prior to the event, where the Authority’s sponsorship or patronage is required. If the Authority’s sponsorship and patronage is not required, the notice should be provided to the Authority in writing one (1) month in advance of the event.
Section 12- Provision of Information
Article 58. Activity Reports
a. Humanitarian Organizations and Commercial Entities are requested to submit annual activity reports on or before the first Working Day of February of each calendar year detailing their activities and accomplishments to the Authority. The Authority reserves the right to use such information in its marketing collaterals and communication tools to highlight the strengths and benefits of the Authority and its Members.
b. The activity report shall include the following information:
- The total amount spent on humanitarian projects during the year;
- The total quantity and description of goods imported/ exported;
- Details of commodities or supplies donated/ delivered to respective humanitarian projects;
- Breakdown of value handled;
- Details of procurement handled;
- Details of services rendered;
- Details of beneficiaries;
- Details of donations collected from UAE with breakdown details of donors, amounts, in.kind, contributions, etc…;
- List of activities run from Dubai branch including, fundraising activities, awareness campaigns , seminars, conferences, trainings, etc…;
- Information on corporate, humanitarian, charitable, environmental or other non-profit activities.
c. Humanitarian Organizations and Commercial Entities shall submit the annual activity report as per the template provided by the Authority. Additional information may be added separately.
Article 59. Financial Reports
a. The Authority will maintain a list of approved auditors and the Humanitarian Organization or the Commercial Entity shall appoint an auditor from this list for the purpose for which an auditor is required under these Regulations.
b. Humanitarian Organizations and Commercial Entities shall submit a copy of their certified auditor’s report specific to their operations and duly signed by the certified auditor to the Authority within six (6) months from the end of the financial year, provided this is not less than once per calendar year.
Article 60. Right to Obtain Additional Information
a. The Authority may, by notice in writing served on the Humanitarian Organization or Commercial Entity require at any time or intervals and in respect of any periods as may be specified in the regulation or notice:
- Any information as may be deemed reasonably required for the performance of its functions;
- a report on any aspect of any matter to which the Authority may require information;
- any documents of any description as may be specified in the regulation or notice.
b. The Authority may request documentation pertaining to the Humanitarian Organization’s or Commercial Entity’s Employees, activities and finances and the Humanitarian Organization or Commercial Entity must comply with that request within thirty (30) days or within the time specified by the Authority, or any time frame specified in the notice.
Section 13- Inspection by the Authority
Article 61. Investigation of Humanitarian Organization or Commercial Entity
a. The Authority may appoint an inspector or may recourse to the local Law Enforcement Authorities to investigate and report to the Authority on the nature, conduct or state of the Humanitarian Organization’s or Commercial Entity’s business or any particular aspect of it; and compliance with the License, or the ownership or control of the Humanitarian Organization or Commercial Entity.
b. The Authority may, for the purposes of this article, give notice in writing to the Humanitarian Organization or Commercial Entity.
c. An Inspector may also, for the purposes of exercising his powers under this article, investigate the business of any other corporate body which is closely linked to the Humanitarian Organization or Commercial Entity.
d. The provisions of this article shall apply to a former Humanitarian Organization or Commercial Entity, provided that where this former Humanitarian Organization or Commercial Entity is incorporated, established or formed outside of the Authority; it shall only apply to a branch located in the Free Zone in respect of such former Humanitarian Organization or Commercial Entity.
Article 62. Inspection of the Property
a. The Authority may inspect by itself or through Law Enforcement Authorities any Property from time to time and at any time to ensure compliance with these Regulations.
b. The Authority may inspect any Property for the purposes including but not limited to the following:
- To inspect any work or building activities being undertaken by the Humanitarian Organization or Commercial Entity;
- To examine any process or object causing the discharge of any unusual, noxious or offensive substance, noise or smell;
- To examine any process or object that may threaten or does threaten health, safety or the environment;
- To apply tests, take samples, conduct experiments and generally make inqueries as deemed necessary or proper in order to confirm compliance with these Regulations and any other applicable laws or regulations;
- To confirm that the terms of the Sponsorship Agreement, or any other agreement executed between the Humanitarian Organization or Commercial Entity and the Authority, are being complied with.
Article 63. Facilitation of the Inspection
Humanitarian Organizations and Commercial Entities must make available all necessary facilities leased, owned or controlled by them in the Free zone for entry, inspection, examination and testing, when requested by the Authority.
Article 64. Inspection by Unauthorized Party
Any Humanitarian Organization or Commercial Entity being approached by any unauthorized party to inspect any Property or request information about the Property must notify the Authority immediately.