Living in the United Arab Emirates (UAE)
Moving to the United Arab Emirates is an attractive option for many foreigners with over 80% of the UAE’s population being born abroad.
The authorities in Dubai have set up many ‘free zones’ so expats can set up a business without needing a native sponsor, and the lack of income tax makes investing and doing business in the UAE enticing.
At the same time, it is important to be aware of the culture and traditions of the Arab nations so as to integrate successfully into this society.
What to expect when you arrive in the UAE
A knowledge of Arabic is essential when moving to the UAE. Very different from western European languages, it is read from right to left so investing in a language course and a phrasebook is recommended.
It is important to remember that the UAE is a Muslim nation. While more relaxed than the other Arab countries, it is wise to be aware of its rules and cultural traditions.
Abu Dhabi, the UAE’s federal capital, plays host to many international sporting events such as the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship and its own Formula One Grand Prix.
Dubai also boasts the world famous Burj Al Arab Hotel, the only hotel in the world with a seven star rating.
There are 23 local and 28 foreign banks in the UAE. Opening a bank account varies in simplicity between each institution. You may require a letter of no objection or a letter confirming salary before opening an account. The UAE government website has a section dedicated to opening a bank account, helping you to do your research before choosing who to bank with.
Get support for your settlement in the UAE
Burgeoning expat communities exist, providing access to children’s playgroups and social groups for adults where you can adjust to life in the UAE.
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Working in the United Arab Emirates
Working in Dubai will mean you require a health card, labour card and a residence visa, which will allow you to stay for up to three years. To obtain these documents you must have a contract of employment or sponsor. Short term stays are far easier to plan for. Nationals from 33 countries comprising Western Europe, The United States and Japan are all granted a thirty day visa on arrival in the UAE.
When looking for employment in the UAE international agencies such as Gulftalent.com and bayt.com are a good place to start. Unemployment is extremely low in the UAE at 4.2 per cent, which means there are a wealth of opportunities to find a promising career there. Many employers will also interview applicants via Skype before meeting them in person, which will give you time to prepare and hopefully secure a job before making your move.
The average working week runs from Sunday to Thursday with the typical working week being forty eight hours, although this may be higher if you work in the hospitality sector. During the month of Ramadan, working hours are shortened to allow for fasting and prayers.
Largely founded on the rich oil industry, the UAE’s powerful economy supports exceptional healthcare services in both the public and private sectors.
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