The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a country known for its rich culture, modernity, and economic success. It is a vibrant and exciting place to live and work, with many opportunities for those looking to expand their career horizons.
This blog post will explore the opportunities, challenges, and rewards of working and living in the UAE, outlining the key points to consider when deciding if it is right for you.
Working and Living in the UAE
Let’s explore all the possibilities.
1) The Cost of Living
Living in the UAE can be expensive, but with some savvy shopping and budgeting, it is possible to live comfortably. Prices of food, rent, transportation, and entertainment vary depending on where you live and work in the UAE. Prices are generally higher in Dubai than in other cities, but wages also tend to be higher. The cost of living for expats can be high, but the rewards for working in the UAE can be great.
2) The Expat Lifestyle
Living and working in the UAE can be an amazing experience for expats, who often enjoy a vibrant and luxurious lifestyle. The country boasts a wide range of exciting activities and attractions for those who live there, from stunning beaches to high-end shopping malls and world-class entertainment.
Expats are also treated to some of the best cuisines from around the world and can experience the unique hospitality of the locals. Furthermore, living in the UAE can be a great way to save money, with a low cost of living compared to other parts of the world.
3) The Weather
The UAE offers a year-round warm climate, with temperatures rarely falling below 18°C (65°F). Rainfall is scarce, but there are occasional showers in some parts of the country. Sun protection is essential due to the intense sunlight, so bring sunscreen.
Though this may surprise those used to cooler climates, staying hydrated and taking breaks when needed is important. The culture shock can also be immense for those in colder climates; dress codes and social customs may differ from what you’re used to back home.
4) The work schedule
The work schedule in the UAE is generally Monday to Friday, with weekend days off being either Saturday and Sunday or Friday and Saturday. In most cases, the work week is eight hours per day with a one-hour lunch break. Working overtime is also common in the UAE, depending on the company and your job. The UAE’s labour laws offer job security and other important rights and protections. For example, they guarantee minimum wages and set maximum working hours at nine hours per day (4 hours per week).
Furthermore, it establishes that employees can take up to 30 days of paid vacation each year and provides protection against discrimination based on race, sex, religion, nationality, political opinion, or disability. Additionally, it stipulates that employers must provide health insurance coverage for employees who work at least 30 hours each month and pension plans for those who have worked in the same organisation for more than five years.
5) The language B
The language barrier can be challenging when living and working in the UAE. The official language is Arabic, but English is widely spoken, especially in business. Although it is possible to get by with English alone, learning Arabic will help you communicate more effectively and build relationships with locals. With that said, English is the most commonly used language among expats, so if you are comfortable speaking it, you should be able to find people to communicate with.
6) The Dress Code
In the UAE, there are specific dress codes for men and women. For men, shirts must always be worn, and trousers should be worn at knee-length or below. Women should wear modest clothing such as loose-fitting skirts, long-sleeved shirts, and headscarves.
The traditional Arab attire of the hijab is accepted in most public places, although it may not be required. As with any country, it’s important to research local laws to ensure you abide by them while living in the UAE. Non-adherence to the dress code can lead to a hefty fine or other consequences, so expats must familiarise themselves with the requirements.
7) The safety
The UAE is a safe place to work and live, with a low crime rate and a strong police presence. The government has implemented measures to ensure the safety of its citizens and expats, such as CCTV cameras, access control systems, and other security measures. The UAE also has a high standard of living, meaning that people can better look after themselves and their families.
Expats can enjoy all the comforts of home while still working and living abroad, from excellent healthcare services to reliable public transportation. Additionally, ample leisure activities are available for those who wish to take advantage of them. From skiing on indoor slopes during the winter months to hitting the beaches during the summertime, there’s something for everyone here in the UAE.
8) The Healthcare
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is well known for its advanced healthcare systems. Medical facilities are of excellent standards, with some of the world’s best hospitals and medical centres. The UAE also has a comprehensive health insurance system that covers locals and expats, providing them access to quality healthcare at a reasonable cost. Furthermore, the government regulates the healthcare sector to ensure the best medical service.
9) The Education
The UAE provides excellent educational opportunities for expats. The government has invested heavily in creating top-notch public and private schools, universities, and vocational institutions.
Education is highly valued, and schools offer international curriculums from the UK, the US, France, Germany, and other countries. The quality of teaching is excellent, with native English speakers available in most schools. Expats can also choose from a variety of private tutors and language courses.
Those looking to further their education have access to world-class universities, including United Arab Emirates University (UAEU), American University of Sharjah (AUS), and Khalifa University. Many of these schools offer online programmes and hybrid learning options during COVID-19.
10) The housing
Finding a place to live in the UAE can be challenging, but it is not impossible. Expats have many options, ranging from luxurious villas and apartments to more affordable studio apartments. Housing costs vary greatly between cities, but overall, they are generally expensive. It’s important to research prices and availability thoroughly before making a decision. Additionally, some landlords may require an employment contract to rent an apartment or villa, so it is best to be prepared.
11) The travel
The UAE is a great place to visit and explore. With its modern cities, stunning beaches, and rich culture, it’s no wonder that the UAE has become an increasingly popular destination for travellers.
The UAE is well connected, with flights to and from many cities worldwide, making it easy to get here. The transportation infrastructure is also excellent, making travel around the country convenient. Whether you’re looking for a romantic getaway or a unique cultural experience, there are plenty of travel opportunities in the UAE.
12) The Crime
Regarding crime, the UAE is relatively safe compared to other countries. However, petty theft and violent crimes do occur. It is important to exercise caution when travelling in the UAE and be aware of your surroundings. Additionally, certain laws in the UAE are different than those in other countries, and visitors should take extra precautions to ensure they don’t violate any laws.
One particular area where this may be an issue is with dress codes. In some areas, such as Dubai, there is a strict dress code for both men and women; this includes covering one’s shoulders and wearing long pants or skirts that cover the knees. Failure to comply with these rules can result in fines or even imprisonment.
13) The religion
The UAE is predominantly Muslim, and as a result, many aspects of life revolve around religion. There are several churches and temples in the UAE, but Islam is the official religion, and the local laws must be respected. This means that Islamic holidays are observed and certain practises, such as drinking alcohol, are prohibited in public places. Respect for religious beliefs is essential for living peacefully in the UAE.
It’s important to respect their culture, traditions, and values, even if they differ from yours. Additionally, it’s important to remember that the legal system is based on Sharia law, so it’s important to familiarise yourself with the country’s policies before making any decisions. Although expats can live in relative freedom while there, they should remain aware of how their actions could affect their safety or reputation.