Dubai is such an appealing and exciting destination on the surface. Myths and urban legends about the city and emirate of the same name make many of us intrigued and determined to learn more about living and working in Dubai, but sadly there is a real lack of information available on the web.
Is it true that Dubai is tax-free for example? Is it true that salaries are really high and work conditions are fantastic? Can women work in Dubai, and can unmarried couples really not live together? There are so many questions from us Westerners who would love the chance to sample the exotic lifestyle we read about in Dubai, but few answers are forthcoming. Which is the reason behind the penning of this article!
If you want to know what it’s like living and working in Dubai, read on!
Dubai in the United Arab Emirates is one of the fastest growing cities in the world. Every month the population expands as more and more expatriates move to live and work in an emirate where there is no income tax levied on personal wages, where the standard of living is incredibly high, the climate is exceptionally attractive, and where real estate is the embodiment of the word luxurious.
These expatriates have to be sponsored by an employer to be allowed to live and work in Dubai, therefore many have found work in advance of their relocation and have never actually visited Dubai before they move there! This can be a huge culture shock as Dubai is a relatively strict Muslim nation where you are expected to understand and observe local laws and customs, or suffer the very real and often harsh consequences.
If you do understand the way women should dress conservatively, that unmarried couples cannot live together, that you cannot consume alcohol on the street or purchase it for home consumption without having a license, and that if you are a single woman who falls pregnant when in Dubai you need to leave immediately, then you will find living in the emirate very easy! In other words, do your research into what will be expected of you when you relocate and you will never fall foul of the authorities, and subsequently your experience of living in the emirate will be a purely positive one.
Working in Dubai, similar advice is applicable. You need to understand the business etiquette of the nation, your place and role within a company, and that in Dubai you work very hard and can, if you so choose, play even harder! The lifestyle available in Dubai city is incredible. There are the best shopping, leisure and entertainment facilities and amenities in the world in Dubai – and with a tax-free salary burning a hole in your pocket, you are likely to have the resources available to you to make the most of your time in the emirate.
If you have children and are thinking of moving to Dubai then you will be pleased to know there are some incredibly good private international schools available to you. However, they are expensive…as is housing! So, if you are sponsored by an employer to move to the emirate, try and negotiate school fees and money towards accommodation into your ‘package.’ When you do find a job in Dubai and have gone through the process of sorting out your employment package, your employer will sponsor your work visa as mentioned. It is worth noting that it is not so straightforward to change employer should you determine that the job is not 100% right for you after a few months. Depending on the level you’re working at and the qualifications you have, you are only permitted to change employer a set number of times!
What’s more, your current employer has to effectively give you permission to leave your job and go and work elsewhere! This is just one reason why it’s important to ensure you apply for the right job and negotiate the right package at the outset. Good sources of advice are forums and blogs dedicated to living and working in Dubai. The latter tend to paint a realistic picture of life in the emirate, warts and all, whilst forums give you the chance to do more research into any questions and concerns that you have about relocating.
There’s no doubt about it, Dubai continues to be an incredibly exciting destination attracting record numbers of expatriates each month – even in these tough economic times. So, if you fancy a tax-free lifestyle in a vibrant and exotic destination, do your own research into how life could suit you in Dubai, and then ultimately, with everything in place and yourself well prepared for the move – go for it!