Ask Atlas: A Practical Guide to HR Practices and Compliance in the Middle East

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Atlas Team

Atlas helps innovative companies like yours to expand, onboard, manage and pay international teams in 160+ countries.

Published: 26 Apr 2024

The Middle Eastern market is becoming an increasingly popular region for international companies to expand into. With huge pools of talent in industries like engineering, construction, IT, and finance, countries like Saudi Arabia, Israel, and the UAE are garnering huge international interest from expanding organisations. 

However, the region also poses unique challenges in human resources and compliance.  

During a recent webinar hosted by Atlas, global expansion experts Sushmita Acharjee and Beatrix Chow highlighted several key aspects that businesses need to consider when planning to expand or hire in the region. 

1. Compliance and Local Support

One of the fundamental questions raised by businesses that want to expand into the Middle East is about compliance: Are they adhering to local laws and regulations?  

It's essential to have a dedicated team that understands the nuances of local HR requirements. This includes everything from legal compliance to managing tax obligations and local employment laws.  

In the session, Beatrix emphasized the importance of knowing what you're doing in the HR field to avoid legal pitfalls. 

2. Independent Contractors vs. Local Entities

Another topic discussed was the complexities associated with hiring independent contractors versus setting up local entities. Susmita and Beatrix outlined the benefits of having a local entity, which means you care hire your talent as employees and simplify the management of legal and tax compliance.  

This arrangement also enhances the employer's ability to directly manage their workforce and ensures adherence to local employment standards. 

3. Record Keeping and Management

Record keeping is crucial, especially in managing legal and tax compliance for employees. The webinar discussed how companies could leverage local expertise to handle the intricacies of HR management, ensuring that all employment records are maintained accurately and lawfully. 

4. Contractual and Legal Compliance

The importance of thorough contractual agreements that comply with local laws cannot be overstated. From setting wages to defining working conditions, every aspect must be meticulously managed to ensure full compliance. Companies must work closely with HR experts to draft contracts that meet legal standards while protecting both the employer and the employee. 

5. Attracting and Retaining Talent

Lastly, the discussion turned towards the strategies for attracting and retaining top talent in the Middle East. Not only does this include offering competitive wages and benefits, but also ensuring that these benefits meet the expectations and norms of the local market.  

Employers must focus on comprehensive benefit packages that address health, retirement, and other social security needs, which are crucial for long-term employee retention. 

Navigate and Thrive: Master Middle East HR Practices

Navigating the complexities of human resource management in the Middle East requires understanding local laws and cultural nuances that influence business operations.

Replay the workshop

Navigating HR practices and compliance in the Middle East requires a deep understanding of local laws, robust record-keeping, and effective management of legal and tax obligations.  

Instead of trying to manage all of this by themselves, many international organizations are now turning to Employer of Record (EOR) service providers like Atlas to help them expand quickly and compliantly.  

With the support of an EOR partner, companies no longer have to worry about onboarding, managing, or paying their staff compliantly. Instead, they can focus on getting the most out of their talent. 

To find out more from our global expansion experts about the complexties of expanding into Europe, sign-up to our upcoming Ask Atlas workshop — Practical Guide to HR Practices and Compliance in Europe — now. 

Navigate and Thrive: Master HR Practices in Europe

Navigating the complexities of human resource management in European countries requires understanding local laws and cultural nuances that influence business operations.

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