Dubai continues to be a popular option for European professionals looking for a new challenge – as of 2016, expats made up 7.8 million of the 9.2 million residents of the UAE.1 If you’ve recently made the move, or are considering moving to the Middle East in the next few weeks, you’re bound to see
Dubai is a cultural melting pot, a cosmopolitan oasis built in the harsh Arabian desert. This rapidly growing new city has become the major success story of the Middle East, heralding a new era of economic development in the region.
But what is it actually like to live there? While it may have become an icon for its lavish and sometimes brash architecture – and lifestyles to match – the reality can be a little different. Here are just some of the things you’ll need to consider.
Tax Free Salary
The high tax free salary is one of Dubai’s major draws for expats looking to relocate. However, the rising costs, expensive rents and high school fees can be major expenses to consider. The day- to-day costs have been slowly creeping up but the salaries have not increased to match this.
Dubai is one of the best places for foodies; there are thousands of restaurants serving cuisine from all over the world. From high-end restaurants like Nobu to cheap Pakistani canteens like Ravi’s, there is something for everyone and most of the restaurants will deliver to your door.
There is a misconception about alcohol in Dubai – contrary to popular opinion, there are thousands of bars that are open to expats. You do, however, need a special licence to buy alcohol from an alcohol shop; these can be obtained fairly easily through your company once you start work. There is a monthly limit on the amount you can spend on booze each month, dependant on your salary.
There are loads of things to do in Dubai if you are an outdoor enthusiast, but only in the winter, as the summer is way too hot. There are great road trips you can take into the mountains in one of the other Emirates, Ras al-Khaimah, while Oman has fantastic rock climbing and hiking.
You can take a scuba diving trip to Musandam, where you’ll be able to get up close and personal with the likes of whale sharks, mola molas, barracudas, turtles, various rays and a wide range of tropical reef fishes. Kite surfing is also very popular in Dubai, with lessons readily available and designated kite zone areas on the beaches.
If that doesn’t take your fancy, you can head down to Al Ain, where there is a huge man-made surf pool and white-water rafting facility. There are also lots of fantastic water parks, such as Wild Wadi and Aqua Adventure, perfect for spending the day frolicking in a tube on a lazy river
If animals and wildlife is more to your taste, there are several places to choose from, including Desert Islands Resort, Al Ain Zoo, Emirates Park Zoo, Atlantis Aquarium and Qasr Al Sarab.
Dubai Strategic Business Location
Many businesses in the region take advantage of Dubai’s strategic location, bridging East to West. Not only is it a stepping point to other Gulf Cooperation Council countries in the region, but also can be strategic to expanding businesses into North Africa and the Far East.
How to find a role in Dubai
It is always easier to find a role if you are already in Dubai, especially for business support roles. Dubai’s job market is extremely competitive and if you do want to show you are committed it is better to fly out on a visit visa while you look for a role. Please contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about finding business support roles in the region.