All Indian expats working in UAE must register online

From January 1, those with job visas in 18 countries must sign up on emigrate portal

Dubai: The Indian government’s new online registration will be applicable to all Indians working in the UAE and 17 other notified countries from January 1, 2019, Gulf News can reveal. Those who fail to do so will not be allowed to board their flights to these countries.

On Tuesday, Gulf News reported that India made online registration mandatory for all Indians holding non-emigration clearance required (Non-ECR or ECNR) passports who have employment visas to 18 notified countries, including the UAE. Now, Indians already working in these countries also have to register when they visit their home country, a senior official confirmed.

Speaking over phone from New Delhi, M.C. Luther, joint secretary for overseas employment and protector general of emigrants, clarified that only one-time registration is required as long as an Indian remains on the same company’s employment visa. It is not necessary to register every time one goes back home unless there is a change in visa.

Registration must be completed on the eMigrate portal between 21 days and 24 hours prior to the date of travel.

Those who fail to do so will be offloaded, according to a recent advisory issued by the Ministry of External Affairs.

Emigration Clearance Required (ECR) passport holders who change their passport status to ECNR after three years of overseas employment will also have to complete the ECNR registration.

Explaining the rationale behind the move, Luther said: “It is to obtain details such as who the employer is, their contact and address details and who we can reach in case of an emergency. The idea is to be able to reach them [applicants or their emergency contact] in India and abroad if there is a need for assistance.”

Equating the ECNR registration form to the departure card issued by the Bureau of Immigration, which was discontinued in July 2017, Luther said this new move is a “completely non-intrusive form to respect the privacy of individuals and their employers”.

He stressed that the registration will not be used to tackle cases of bogus job offers or contract substitution. In such cases, workers have to use existing methods of grievance redressal. However, officials can check recruitment done through approved agents since the latter also have to provide these details on the same portal.

Luther pointed out that about 40,000 ECNR passport-holders have voluntarily registered after approved recruitment agents were intimated about the pilot phase.

Key points

All Indians holding ECNR passports with overseas employment visa should register on before flying out of India.

Registration is mandatory for Indians taking up jobs in 18 notified countries: Afghanistan, Bahrain, Indonesia, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Malaysia, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, South Sudan, Syria, Thailand, UAE and Yemen.

Those already working on employment visas in these countries will have to register when they visit India and fly back again.

They need to re-register only if their work visa has changed.

Details to be furnished include personal, visa and travel details, emergency contact details in India and destination country and contact details of foreign employer/sponsor in the destination country.

On successful completion of registration, the applicant will receive an SMS/email.

From January 1, 2019, failure to register will result in applicant getting offloaded.

News source from : Gulf News

Tourists to receive VAT refunds from November 18

FTA said more than 4,000 retail outlets will participate

Tourists will be able to claim back Value Added Tax (VAT) on any purchases they make in the UAE from November 18, it was announced yesterday.

The Federal Tax Authority (FTA) said that the Tax Refund for Tourists Scheme would go into effect next month, allowing eligible tourists to request refunds of the five per cent VAT incurred on their purchases.

 The first phase will see the digital system of the Tax Refund for Tourists Scheme implemented at Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah International Airports, a statement from the FTA said.

As of mid-December, the system will be fully operational to include all airports and land and seaports in the UAE as stipulated in the Cabinet decision. The government says the move aims to strengthen the UAE’s position as a major global tourism destination.

The FTA explained that tax invoices issued starting from November 18, 2018, will qualify tourists who are eligible for a tax refund to reclaim taxes incurred on their purchases.

FTA Director-General Khalid Ali Al Bustani said in the statement that more than 4,000 retail outlets across the UAE will be connected electronically to the system, clarifying that only the invoices issued by retail outlets registered in the scheme and connected to the system are eligible for a refund.

These eligible outlets can be identified with posters displayed on their storefronts and visible to visitors, he said.

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VAT on entertaining staff ‘non-recoverable’: Tax authority

The Federal Tax Authority has clarified the law on gifts, parties

Entertainment services supplied to employees, such as staff parties and retirement gifts, should not be exempt from Value Added Tax (VAT), the Federal Tax Authority (FTA) has said.

The authority noted in a statement posted on its website Monday that according to the federal law on VAT, the five per cent tax incurred on goods or services purchased to be given away to staff free of charge, in order to reward them for long service, should be blocked from recovery.

 Examples of these gifts include long service awards, Eid gifts and gifts for other festivals and special occasions, or a dinner to reward service.

The clarification issued by the FTA is the latest in a number of statements regarding various technicalities surrounding the tax system.

In a recent press statement, the FTA clarified that entertainment services consist of “hospitality of any kind,” including the provision of accommodation, food and drinks which are not provided in a normal course of a meeting, access to shows or events, or trips provided for the purposes of pleasure or entertainment.

Meanwhile, the FTA added that for VAT registrants who are not designated government entities, input tax cannot be recovered if it is incurred providing entertainment services to customers, potential customers, officials, shareholders, or other owners or investors.

Khalid Ali Al BustaniFTA Director-General Khalid Ali Al Bustani said in a statement that if a designated government entity provides entertainment services to anyone not employed by the entity, it will be able to recover the input tax incurred on those costs.

This exception pertains only to entertainment services provided to non-employees, including meetings with delegations from other countries where lunch or dinner is provided, meetings with representatives from other government entities to discuss official business, where refreshments are provided, or ceremonies held to mark significant political events.

However, all companies, including designated government entities, which provide entertainment services to its employees, are prevented from recovering any VAT included on such costs.

There are a handful of circumstances in which a taxable person is entitled to recover VAT on such costs, including where it is a legal obligation to provide those services or goods to those employees.

As for employee expenses, the authority outlined certain circumstances where a taxable person will fund or reimburse an employee for certain costs that the employee incurs for business purposes, in the course of performing his/her role. These include cases where an employee is on a domestic business trip and requires overnight accommodation, the VAT incurred on hotel costs, for example, would be recoverable.

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