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Start an HR consultancy in Abu Dhabi: 2022 Guide

Monday June 27, 2022

As we move forward from the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses in Abu Dhabi need more support than ever when it comes to human resources. Employee retention in particular is a serious challenge for Abu Dhabi businesses in 2022 – research shows companies are raising salaries by as much as 10% to attract staff. Given this challenging backdrop, it is no wonder that people with HR skills are among the top 20 most sought-after professionals in the UAE in 2022.

If you have a strong understanding of UAE employment law, payroll processes and HR policies, you can provide an invaluable service to companies that need your help. In this blog, you will learn about:

    • Steps to get an HR consultancy licence in Abu Dhabi
    • The cost of starting an HR consultancy in Abu Dhabi
    • Benefits of starting an HR consultancy business in Abu Dhabi
    • How to grow an HR business
    • Working with Creative Zone

Steps to get an HR consultancy licence in Abu Dhabi

To get your HR consultancy licence in Abu Dhabi, the following five steps summarise the key actions you need to take:

1. Choose a company name
Choosing a trading name for your company is the first step to setting up your Abu Dhabi HR consultancy. The name should correspond with your business’s core activities, giving a clear idea of what you do.

For example, Amy Smith Payroll Solutions, or Abdullah Waleed HR Policy would both be suitable company names.

Your Abu Dhabi HR consultancy business name must also comply with the UAE’s business naming laws. Essentially, you must avoid the use of offensive or potentially blasphemous language in your company name.

2. Apply for an Abu Dhabi free zone licence (or mainland)
Entrepreneurs can choose between a mainland licence or a free zone licence to open their HR consultancy business in Abu Dhabi. However, at Creative Zone, we generally recommend starting HR consultancies (and similar businesses) in free zones, thanks to their lower start-up costs and the fact that you pay 0% income tax on earnings. That said, there might be situations where it’s better to be operating from the mainland.

Contact Creative Zone for advice on the right option for your consultancy.

3. Submit all required documents
When applying for an HR consultancy business licence, you must provide a number of documents. If you are unsure about which documents you should collate – or the format to provide them in – Creative Zone can walk you through the process.

Generally speaking, most HR consultancies would need to provide the following kinds of documents:

    • An application form with your registration from the Department of Economic Development, or the free zone authority
    • A copy of your passport
    • A copy of your business plan
    • A copy of your business name approval certificate
    • Your local sponsor’s passport copy (if necessary)
    • An Emirates ID copy
    • Your memorandum of association
    • Your tenancy contract for office lease
    • Copies of employee visas

4. HR consultancy licence will be issued
So long as all your documents have been prepared correctly, your Abu Dhabi HR consultancy business licence will usually be issued in just a few days. At Creative Zone, our consultants have years of experience with business setup in Abu Dhabi, and can advise you on exactly which documents you need and verify they are all correct.

5. Start processing visas
Many HR consultancies employ expatriate staff. If this is part of your business strategy, you will also need to apply for visas for all your foreign employees. At Creative Zone, we can support you with the process of applying for visas for foreign workers.

Cost of starting an HR consultancy in Abu Dhabi

Starting an HR consultancy typically costs between AED 10,000 and AED 30,000. It is generally less costly to go with a free zone licence in Abu Dhabi in order to reduce initial overheads and charges.

Common costs of starting an HR consultancy in Abu Dhabi include:

    • Initial office lease and deposit (usually less expensive at a free zone)
    • Compiling and submitting paperwork
    • Applying for visas
    • Equipment costs (computers, furniture, internet connection)
    • Bills
    • Marketing and advertising

Benefits of starting an HR consultancy business in Abu Dhabi

So long as you have experience and knowledge of HR rules, policies and processes in Abu Dhabi and the UAE, starting an HR consultancy can be a very attractive business idea. Benefits of starting an HR consultancy business in Abu Dhabi include:

    • High demand for skilled and knowledgeable HR consultants
    • Ability to help companies navigate a challenging economic period
    • HR consulting can be highly rewarding – both personally and professionally
    • You can expect to build long-term client relationships
    • Financially rewarding sector

How to grow an HR business?

Once you’ve received your licence for your HR consultancy in Abu Dhabi, you’ll want to develop strategies to grow the company. Here are some tips for growing an HR business in the UAE:

Focus on a niche
The most successful HR consultancies in Abu Dhabi serve one particular niche – be that engineering HR, construction HR, public sector HR or something else. The benefit of focusing on a niche is that you can be more efficient (you won’t need to familiarise yourself with employment regulations in several industries), and can also benefit from word of mouth and networking opportunities more easily.

Market your company
Get your Abu Dhabi HR consultancy’s name out there! Find appropriate ways to promote your services to your target market. That could be through ads in trade magazines, attending networking events, or even sending out cold emails. And of course, setting up a website and getting on social media is a must.

Focus on retainers
HR consultancies are most successful when they have long-term retainers with clients. Knowing you’ve got regular cashflow coming in means you can invest, employ more staff and grow further.

Don’t shy away from sales
A well-trained salesperson can be an invaluable asset when you are growing your HR consultancy. They can seek out potential customers, convert them and help generate leads.

Always monitor cashflow
Cashflow is king for small HR consultancies. Regularly check your company’s income and outgoings, chase up invoices, and build secure financial foundations.

Develop your USP
What is stopping your customers taking their business to a cheaper competitor? You need to identify and constantly calibrate your Abu Dhabi HR consultancy’s unique selling point. Whether it’s sector expertise, the tech you use, high levels of efficiency, or simply great advice, you need to figure out what makes your firm different and emphasise this.

Working with Creative Zone

At Creative Zone, we have helped over 44,000 companies apply for licences to start their businesses in the UAE and beyond since 2010. We have worked with many HR consultants and specialists in related industries who need support with company formation in Abu Dhabi. We understand all the required paperwork and can advise you on the best free zones or mainland locations to launch your business.

What is more, we can provide you with several other services that will make running your HR consultancy a success:

    • Dedicated business setup manager
    • Tax preparation
    • Legal advice
    • HR management
    • Opportunities for business networking

Contact Creative Zone today and start on your journey to building a successful HR consultancy business in Abu Dhabi.


Prices offered by free zones are subject to change without notice. Please get in touch with Creative Zone for an updated price based on the current promotions and availability.


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