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  • Shahid Bolsen, Radha Stirling

Risky Business for Indians in the UAE

With an estimated 2 million migrants, Indians form easily the largest expat population in the UAE. They are an integral part of the business community, the labor force, and the society as a whole. Living and working in the UAE offers Indian expats many opportunities to prosper, and this has made the Emirates a very popular destination. However, Indians face the same potential for legal problems as any other expat group. Indeed, because of their considerable presence, and the persistence of racial bias in the society, Indians may tend to be even more at risk than other expats.

Indians own the majority of SMEs in the UAE, most often with local partners, and, while these businesses can be highly profitable, we have seen all too often that doing business in the Emirates can also be incredibly risky. If for any reason the business suffers losses, if loans cannot be repaid, or if unscrupulous local partners exploit their access to company bank accounts for personal gain, the Indian owners will be held liable. One expat client told Detained in Dubai "Everything was going smoothly until our supplier deliberately bounced cheques that were for future deliveries and were not supposed to be presented yet”.