Dubai may be one of the easiest places to relocate to, but that doesn't mean it's a walk in the park. Bureaucracy abounds and salaries for expats aren't what they once were. Let Explorer show you the best way to make an easy transition.
Visa requirements for entering Dubai vary greatly between different nationalities, and regulations often change with little or no warning. For most western nationalities, the residency process is easy. There are several ways to obtain a residence visa in the UAE -sponsorship by employer, family sponsorship or residence through investment. New laws are constantly appearing so it is best to check the latest information at www.government.ae
In the last 15 years, Dubai has become a top destination for workers wishing to find employment abroad. Foreigners make up nearly 90% of the population in Dubai and expat workers can be found in every sector, from service and construction to finance and media. Expat workers come to Dubai for a number of reasons: to advance their career, for a higher standard of living, to take advantage of new career opportunities or most commonly for the lifestyle and the experience of living and working in a new culture. Whatever the reason, there are various advantages of working here.
While the biggest bonus of working in Dubai may seem to be tax-free salaries, the benefits of not paying tax has been somewhat outweighed for some nationalities by the increasing weakness of the dirham (it remains pegged to the US dollar) against other currencies, especially the UK pound and the euro. This has resulted in salary packages being less lucrative than they were four or five years ago which, coupled with the constantly increasing rents, means disposable income isn't as impressive as it once was. However, there are other distinct benefits and these are what make people stay.
The job market in Dubai is constantly changing and, unlike 15 years ago, western workers can't just walk into a job that they could have only dreamed of back home. Competition is getting harder for all industries in Dubai, but that doesn't mean finding work is impossible. There are still a lot of great job prospects in Dubai and in many respects it is a land of opportunities for skilled professionals. It is also easier to change industries, as skill sets are less 'pigeon-holed' than in other countries.
New regulations have also made it easier for entrepreneurs to set up their own businesses. The last ten years have seen the rise of several 'free zones' which enable non-nationals to own and run their own business without a local sponsor.
Finding work in Dubai can be stressful, especially if you're looking for a great package. It is usually easier to find work after you've arrived in the city (on a visit visa), but it is always helpful to start your search well before you leave in order to have an idea of what's available. If you're able to find a job before you leave, the company will often offer to pay for relocation costs and help you once you've arrived.
Have a good search on the internet; there are plenty of job sites with Dubai listings. Local paper, Gulf News, has an excellent appointments section and has just started publishing online, so try www.khaleejtimes.com, as well as www.jobsindubai.com, www.uaestaffing.com, www.gulfjobsites.com and www.bayt.com.
BAC Middle East
Talent Management Consultancy
To open an account in most Dubai banks, you need a residence visa or to have your residency application underway. The bank employee dealing with your application will require your original passport, copies of your passport (personal details and visa) and an NOC (letter of no objection) from your sponsor. Some banks will allow non-residents to open an account, so it is best to ask around.
ABN AMRO Bank
Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank
Barclays Bank Plc
Dubai Islamic Bank
Emirates Bank International
National Bank of Abu Dhabi
National Bank of Dubai
The housing market in Dubai is on fire. Rental prices are skyrocketing and new developments shoot up daily. The good news is that most accommodations are new and clean. With the market in such a state, many new residents choose to buy property as an investment. Since 2002, the Dubai government has allowed non-nationals to 'purchase' certain properties under a 99 year lease.
For those who aren't so far-sighted or don't have enough money, choosing to rent in Dubai reveals several options. Renting a room in a shared villa has become a common practice, as it is usually the cheapest option for foreigners. Apartments tend to be expensive and a studio in a very nice part of town will cost around Dhs.4,000 per month. Many landlords require that the full year's rent be paid up front, although some will accept four post-dated cheques.
Many of the newer developments have pools and fitness centres and there has been a recent surge in lower-cost housing, although most of those projects are well outside of the downtown area.