Being an expat in Dubai is an idea that keeps attracting countless people from all over the world and all walks of life. The reasons are fairly straightforward: with an economy that refuses to stop growing, tax-free income, a vibrant expat community (after all, some 80% of Dubai’s inhabitants are foreign-born), and one of the more liberal lifestyles in the Muslim world, there is little that keeps expats from relocating to Dubai once they have the opportunity.
And as long as they can handle the heat, that is. (It’s just in the summer!)
Getting a job in Dubai is more often than not a question of chance. Many expats in the emirate were sent here by their employers in their home country, frequently to assume temporary positions working in Dubai-based branches or subsidiaries. An equal number of expatriates simply made up their mind, packed their stuff and went looking for a job in Dubai ‘on location’. With some perseverance, you just might land the job of your dreams here – it has worked for a large number of people! There is also the possibility of hiring an employment agency, but beware: Many of these agencies aim to defraud hopeful expat newcomers.
If you do insist on making it on your own, keep in mind that you will need a sponsor – an individual or company to provide you a work permit. Also, losing your job means having to leave Dubai. You cannot live here without being employed.
If you have had any contact with Muslim culture before, you are probably able to picture what life in Dubai is like to some degree. Islam is what the UAE in general is founded on culturally, and while the mind-boggling number of expats have certainly added a very special flavor to life in Dubai, keep in mind that you are still very much in a Muslim country and should adhere to the rules and customs of your hosts.
Two other aspects of living in Dubai might need some time to get used to. Firstly, with the well-paying jobs and the extreme focus on luxury and status symbols, you might find that you succumb to an extravagant lifestyle more quickly and effortlessly as you might have wanted. Living in luxury is not everyone’s goal, but it is easy to get sucked into it. Secondly, making close friends in Dubai often has the rather sad consequence that you will lose them sooner or later – the expat lifestyle simply is not a very steady one. You will have to say goodbye at some point.
With all this said, there is no doubt that being an expat in Dubai is a rewarding experience for anyone who is even a little bit internationally minded. And of course it will work wonders for your CV.