Expatriate Life

Dubai and the UAE continue to grow rapidly with 1.4 million people living in the emirate of Dubai, of which 75% are expatriate. Professionals from across the globe have a continued interest in moving to Dubai. But the recent newspaper articles with conflicting reports and information have left many bewildered and wondering what it's really like to live here.

Here, Holborn Assests Limited provides you with an overview, as seen by our employees, giving you first-hand information on what's it's really like to live and work in Dubai and the UAE.

Finding Work in Dubai

When it comes to jobs in Dubai and employment law, there's good and bad news. Skills are widely sought and salaries are generally better paid with the added benefit of no income tax, which makes this a very attractive market to be employed.

But if you're looking for employment rights, or you believe that the right to have protection against discrimination in the workplace on the basis of sex or race is important, then maybe Dubai is not the place for you. The best employers in the emirate protect their workers with their contracts, but as an individual you should take responsibility for this yourself.

If you're British you can visit the emirate unrestricted. Most workers enter on a visit visa and then sort out their residency and work permits once they are in the emirate with the assistance of their employer.

For employment opportunities with Holborn, visit our Careers page.

Restrictions on Entering and Leaving Dubai

You may be refused permission to leave the emirate if you owe money to the government in the form of fines, for example. And what's more, if you have defaulted on a mortgage, loan or credit card and owe money to a bank in the emirate, you may also be refused permission to leave Dubai.

The Cost of Living in Dubai

When it comes to the cost of living, there is again good and bad news. The cost of accommodation can be as much as GBP 15,000 a year for a good rental apartment in a good location, and this is generally paid upfront or with post-dated cheques for a minimum term of one year.

Other than accommodation, the other high cost outlays you need to be aware of include school fees, which are very expensive at the best schools as expats fight for places. Medical insurance and the cost of healthcare is higher than you are likely to pay in your home country, but is equally of exceptional quality and is something that your employer is likely to include in your package. Grocery is average, but alcohol is expensive and can obviously only be bought in hotel bars and clubs or if you have a license, for your own home. Fuel costs are affordable as are vehicle costs when compared to the UK for example.

Living Under Construction

The rate of construction activity in the emirate remains high and living here can sometimes feel like living on a construction site.

Paying a little more for accommodation to ensure you're living in tranquillity, where developments are completed, is well worth it and can make a big difference. You'll certainly get away from the cranes that loiter across Dubai by doing that. Development is fast and the landscape changes quickly as a result, demonstrating quick change and adding to the speed of development in this cosmopolitan city.