5 Reasons to Work in Dubai and 5 Reasons Not To

Burj-al-Khalifa-Dubai

After working in Dubai for almost five years now, I thought I’d come up with Five Reasons to Work in Dubai for the curious and Five Reasons Not To for the skeptical.

1. Financial - If you work in Dubai or anywhere in the United Arab Emirates for that matter, you enjoy an income tax free salary that will enable you to save up until you get tired of desert life and pack up your bags to jump into a plane to your next destination.

2. Multi-culture experience – In my current work, I am able to mingle with people from different nationalities learning about their language, culture and religion. Personally, I have learned to look beyond what is negatively portrayed in the media regarding Muslims (majority of my work colleagues are Muslims).

~ me (right most) with my work colleagues ~

3. Adventure - Now that I’ve mentioned the financial part (must be the most important aspect of any relocation), we can discuss about what’s in store after work or during your holidays. Dubai is a perfect starting point to exotic destinations you can think of: the neighboring Middle Eastern countries like Jordan, Syria or Egypt. Europe is not that far with London only a 7 hour flight as going to Bangkok and Singapore. Maldives is nearer too.

4. Free trip home – Expat packages include 30 days of paid vacation every 12-18 months (depending on your company/employer) including round trip ticket to home country. I never got this while I was an expat in Japan!

5. That resume appeal – Including a “difficult region” (Middle East) in places you’ve worked will definitely make your curriculum vitae pop out from the bunch.

…and five reasons NOT to.

1. Heat - This one is the most obvious. If you despise the heat, forget about moving to Dubai. It is hot 8 months of the year with humidity soaring up to more than 90% at the peak of summer. It would be difficult to walk to work even if you live nearby.

BUT – though many people criticize the heat here and think that we expats living here are living loony masochists happily suffering in the heat, I have to point out a word called “acclimatization”. The first summer is worse but after that, you won’t believe you’d be able to say that 30C is quite “cool”. Also, since all of the buildings including residences have centralized air conditioning system, I can vouch that it is far easier spending the summer here in Dubai than in Japan or the Philippines, two places I previously lived.

2. Multi-cultural experience – While this can be a good thing for others, I know people who do not like to work with other nationalities but their own. And I fully understand! There are cultures and working styles to adjust.

3.  Driving - It is said that there are 200 different nationalities living in Dubai. That means, people put various meanings and practice to what is called “safety driving”. To be blunt, there are idiots on the road and you’ve got to practice defensive driving! As a personal experience, I’ve been driving in Japan for 7 years before coming here.

The difference is like heaven and hell – there are almost no courtesy in the roads, some drivers are rogue and never give way. It’s been better now than we first arrived in 2007 because the Roads and Transport Authority have tightened their rules in the driving schools.

4. Noise - Dubai is a city that’s not finished yet. It’s a work in progress everyday with construction going on left and right – contrary to what you’ve read in the tabloids that bash Dubai like it’s a new Olympic sport, it’s not a ghost town around here.

So if you live or work in a construction area, expect noise pollution. Or when you reside near a mosque, be prepared to be startled by the call to prayer five times a day starting before 6am! * The mosque is what we look out for when looking for a place to live here. We prefer away from it.

5. Second class citizen – You are in another country not your own so that categorizes you as a guest and in some cases, second class citizens, always next to locals or the white people (if you are Asian). You’ll be treated with good hospitality, yes but always be aware of your boundaries – and memorize the line: “This is their country, not mine.”

Whatever the reason or wherever you choose to go to live or work I guess there’s always two sides of the coin. I am sure there are other reasons to work here and not to, depending on the expat you ask but this is my list and things might be added when I have that random light bulb moment.

Comments

comments

Comments

  1. yanix says

    dli mn kaau discouraging ang dli maayo nga reasons dli mag work dha. challenging man.

    excited nako maka landing dha inday. tabangi ko ha. :)

  2. says

    I don’t know, I think the pros outweigh the cons. It sounds like a neat and fascinating experience. Of course living anywhere forever is another story. I would love to go to that ski resort on a sweltering summer day too!

  3. says

    Those are very interesting pros and cons-Like a few other people, the pros look pretty good over the cons, but like you said, to each their own :)

    I really love the picture of you and your colleagues!

  4. says

    Every time I read this kind of post, it makes me consider relocating in Dubai.

    Tax-free salary, adventure, and free trip home are really enticing!
    I’ve gotten used to “not to” reason #5. But maybe I couldn’t stand the heat. Still, it’s 1 vs 3.

    Are there a lot of IT opportunities in Dubai? :D

  5. says

    Am processing my documents to come to dubai and i will be there this month. Am a computer technician but one thing is worrying me, people are saying that there is no job in dubai so am affraid, i don’t know if i can get job there when i come there.

  6. Jason Z. says

    Likewise, Edem, my documents are also being processed now and I shall be leaving for Dubai on the 20th or 21st. Am quite excited with this new adventure! Will be working as a recruitment consultant for a British Company….

    Would like to get to know more friends … Anyone interested, please get in touch at w.zhang@live.co.uk

    Cheers!

    • lisa says

      someone can help you come here; either you get a visit visa then find a job here; pay for it;or directly hired from your country from any travel agency; ofcourse visit visa is faster if you know someone who can get you there

  7. Darren says

    Working in Dubai sounds great. Does anybody know what the best way to find a job in accounting or finance is? I’ve heard there are a lot of scam websites out there.

    • gina says

      you can get a job through Gnads4u.com that is gulf news. go to jobs..search as per what you want; secretarial, admin, accounting,etc. but most of the employers like someone who is ofcourse already in here under visit visa or under husband/father’s visa and other kinds of visa needed for the job

    • andy says

      go to Gnads4u.com or gulf news and go to jobs..try to send your cv or resume online through your mail but they(employers) prefer people who are already in dubai itself..try, maybe they will get you directly, depends on the arrangement

  8. says

    Can someone please forward as much info as possible please I am living in the uk just think every day living here is shit same old thing with no enjoyment at all won’t to move and work away from uk

    • emma says

      here in dubai, you may get an employment visa directly or visit visa..depends on the nationality also as well..check gnads4u.com for jobs..or gulf news.

  9. Philip says

    Grace,

    Grass in the picture! No grass here in Mexico, well, not much good growing here, anyway. I used to own a landscape corporation, which would mean working outside if that’s what I did… So, good thing I have lots of experience with lots of things from security to construction to 8 years of truck driving to playing music.

    I contacted a website that promised to find me a job in Dubai, but deeper in they wanted a substantial fee from me so I moved here to Mexico instead. No money here. Now, again, I want to go to Dubai.

    Please let me know the best way to get hooked up with a good job. I need to be able to pay for my land here in Mexico, quickly. Thanks.

    Philip

  10. Ally says

    Hi,
    I am interested in working in Dubai for 1 or 2 years. I am a South African Occupational Therapist.
    Can anyone tell me how do i go about this? Do i need a visa/work permit. Do i need to write some sort of entrance exam to practice as a health professional?
    Thanks

  11. Imran Ahmed says

    Hi, my name is Imran and I am from India. I am a finance professional having over 4.9 years of exp. i am looking for job in Dubai for last 6 months but unfortunately i did not get anything. Help me guys i have searched all websites, would be happy if you direct me to any consultant or company recruiters. 

  12. says

    Dubai seem awesome despite the nature of the dessert city. I would like to know the major language spoken there cause i believe that language barrier could pose a problem while looking for a job there. I would like to be enlightened about how to counter this. Thank. Email is donvalentino09@yahoo.com

    • Grace says

      English is the medium of language used in businesses and work. You will not encounter a language barrier here.

      • says

        I am very grateful for the reply. I would also like to know their currency equivalence to a Us dollar. I would like to know if one could come on his own and decide to look for job. Please where do you live exactly? Thank you!

  13. Akinbo Ishola Samson says

    Grace, please I am a Registered Nurse in Nigeria, wanted to relocated to Dubai for a Nursing job. Would I get a nurse job and how can you assist me, my mail is above, waiting to hear from you soon

  14. Elena says

    Hy,
    I want to come to work in Dubai but I have a 8 years old son and a 4 years old doughter.Can you tell me something about school,are expensive,have you an ideea how much?
    Thank you!

  15. John David McGuigan says

    I just got offered a position in Dubai, starts off pretty low at 150,000US a year but comes with the house, car and education allowance. would i be comfortable at this rate to start? what is the price of living?

    • Andy T says

      Dear John
      You’ll never survive on that – I will gladly accept on your behalf however!

      Most people that live in Dubai currently are, to be honest, quite surprised that offers like that still exist and would gladly push you out of the way to accept such an offer.

      Good luck with your move!

    • says

      John, sounds like the kind of package offered to the privileged few. From what I know, most expats in Dubai are not being this kind of package anymore. Cost of living widely depends on your lifestyle, but I don’t think anyone’s lifestyle will be hindered by your type of package. Don’t forget, if you are a US citizen you will still owe taxes on your worldwide income.

  16. Matt Coffey says

    Hi My names Matt, Can some one help me with a thew questions. Im from the uk and will be relocating to dubai in january.
    I am having problems with the rental prices advertised for studio and 1 bed flats at around 25,000 dirahms for the year which equals to £5000 british pounds is this right??? seems cheap! and i f i am working for 50-70k in british pounds can i live of this???
    Thank you would really appretiate some help, matthewcoffey@hotmail.co.uk

  17. says

    Currently i intend to take a course in Dubai, and yeah the Heat might be a big deal,but i guess i can get used to it, i intend to work in the Web Development Area / IT, but gladly i like your article on the reason “to” and “not”.luckily i am a deep sleeper who can have a good sleep even during a shoot-out so i guess i’m covered. keep it up

  18. ashenafi tesfu says

    i wont come in dubay am a stylist in ladys hair salon but i have some options for work driving sales man or sicurty what can i do can u help me

  19. julius says

    Am Julius.I am a Nigerian.I completed my senior secondary school education Twelve years ago. I am now 31years.I will like to work and live in dubai.Please enlighten me on how to get the visa.I hope to hear from you shortly.
    Julius Oluwatobi

  20. says

    Really interesting. I have a plan to go to Dubai and work and live there, at least for 2 to 4 years. However, by reading this article, I guess I have to consider more things.

    I suggest you write about the cost of living there too, so that people can have more tips at their fingers when deciding.

    • Grace says

      Thank you for your feedback. Yes, you are right, I need to write about the basic cost of living here. I will do so, very soon!

  21. Nkeiruka says

    Grace. Am a graduate of chemical engineering. I wuld luv to come to dubai for job but d problem is dat I dnt knw anyone there. Hw do I secure job and accomodation if I get and hw much is d cost of renting one room self content? Also there possbility of me getting job and accomodation within one wk of my arrival? Pls reply-tanx

  22. Taiwo .O says

    Please,what do i do to secure a job in Dubai.I am a finance graduated,worked with different company in the finance world.I wish to relocate to Dubai,how can i secure a job overthere,before travelling down to Dubai.

  23. says

    My friend lived there for two months.
    She is dark brown skin American ( black )
    So she was treated very well — in fact the men loved her.

    Finding a job even a retail job was difficult for her.

    The biggest con – which you didn’t mention is the dress code. Women can’t show too much skin – even in the heat.
    Please talk about this
    Thanks so much!
    Great article!

    • Grace says

      Who said women aren’t allowed to show too much skin? But first – what is your definition for ‘too much skin’? I see a lot of women wearing t-shirt here, even tank tops. Yes it is hot but no one really walks around outside during summer and t-shirt and tank tops could make you sick inside the malls where it’s winter cold!

  24. Andy says

    My girlfriend and I are currently seriously looking into relocating to Dubai for a year or two.
    We both work in education and have found some jobs that we’re applying for. The package for these jobs looks very attractive (including free trip home once a year, rent and bills paid for)

    Are there any catches with this, does anyone know of?
    We’d be interested to hear from anyone else who has or is looking to move to Dubai.

  25. franca antonio says

    Hi grace, my name it franca, really enjoyed reading your useful guide and I am glad to inform you that you have made me decide to want to relocate to dubai. I have a few issues, 1. I have a girlfirend that am not sure if she would be able to come with me and secondly I do not know ideal sites to look for jobs. I am 22yrs old I am a recent british university graduate. Please email me on francaantonio@hotmail.co.uk and list me further useful information please, thank you.

  26. dauda says

    hello grace hw are you i like the way you respond to people thanks alot.grace pls is it possible for me to get a better job under aviation because i read ticketing and reservation in aviation school thanks grace i need your reply

  27. shola says

    Hi grace, you’ve done absolutely well in tackling my puzzle on dubai, now my mind made up to come and work, am set for any job I see, I don’t give a dam about the noise or the heat, all I care is relocating to dubai this year, to be achieved also with your help. I am a graduate in marine science, having also vast experience in the publishing line, am based in Nigeria,in my early 30s, very hardworking, you will get to know more about me later on. Please I require you to facilitate me with perfect information on the easiest way for me to get a job, if I eventually get to dubai and other vital first hand details I need to know, thank and God bless you. Pls send to my E:mail sholymonhill@yahoo.co.uk

  28. dave chandler says

    I live in Thailand and LOVE the food here. What is it like in Dubai? Spicy, fresh, cheap seafood? Any Thai areas to live in?

  29. Claire says

    I have just applied for a job in Dubai and cannot believe how excited I feel. I am usually quite psyched when I apply for a new job but this time I can feel bubbles rising up and exploding inside my tummy! Fingers crossed (please)! If I come over on a work visa and change my job once I’m there will it present any problems, Grace? I really enjoy your blog, by the way. Oh, yes, we are not married – will that cause problems?

    • Grace says

      >>If I come over on a work visa and change my job once I’m there will it present any problems, Grace?
      Yes, that would be a problem especially if the company sees it as a problem. They have spent money on your visa and changing jobs before your contract expires in 2 years can get you a labor ban – unless your new job is in a Freezone area like Jebel Ali or Media City, etc.

      >>Oh, yes, we are not married – will that cause problems?
      Popular media says yes but there are so many couples living together here. Just do things discreetly, no overt public display of affection so you won’t be stopped and asked for proof of marriage (yes that has happened!). No one knocks on your apartment door to check you out if you’re married or not.

  30. ayodele david says

    You made reference to expat treated as second class citizens I agree with you on that but how will you rate treatment of Africans especially from Nigeria?

  31. claiton moyo says

    Hi
    Im a Zimbabwean living in South Africa but looking for a job in marine industry as an assistant propeller repair technician. Been in the industry for the past 6 years. Worked for both Wartsila SA and Stone Marine SA before.
    Any idea on how to get the job over there?
    Regards
    CLAITON

  32. DAVID says

    hi grace how can i get a job of any kind in dubai actual anything that can earn me please if you can help me i will be greatfull

  33. Sara says

    Hi Grace!

    Im from Canada, and it’s been weeks Im thinking about moving to Dubai! I just don’t know where to start!!
    If you could help me with good tips that would be wonderful,

    I give you my email : sara.r@live.ca

    Thank you again, can’t wait to read you!

    Sara

  34. says

    Hi grace,
    I’m am engineer and currently working as software engineer in an mnc. Now i want to work at dubai so what kind of job i’l get there and please guide me to get into dubai with a good job :) Thanks :) my email id is srajamohan1989@gmail.com

  35. Mustafa says

    Hey Grace,
    I’m planning to visit Dubai in Aug-13 with the intent of securing a job in IT. I’ve heard IT guys are paid somewhere around 8000 dirhums per month. Would just like to know whether that much amount of salary would suffice a normal life in Dubai?
    Thanks in advance. :)

  36. diane says

    I have always dreamt of settling in dubai with my sons&hubby.please how can i&spouse apply for jobs in dubai.And what do I need to start processing for visa.thanks

  37. Mumtaz Aswad says

    Hi! Miss,
    I am conducting research on HR practises in Dubai. Evaluation on their unique methods to employee retention and retaining. Would you like to share me any of their HR practises a little bit more in detail? Thank you in advance.

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