Why so many expats are choosing to live and work in Dubai and the UAE. Will you join them?
When you think of Dubai, what images does you mind conjure up: shiny skyscrapers, picturesque beaches, rich Sheikhs? None of these would be too far from the truth, and the United Arab Emirates is increasingly becoming a hotspot for expats looking to move somewhere they can succeed not just professionally, but grow personally too.
No matter whether you are looking to relocate for work in Dubai, Abu Dhabi or one of the lesser known Emirates, they all offer many great benefits.
Once you decide to make the move, like many of our customers, you’re unlikely to regret it. We are certain the UAE is a fantastic place to live and work… and here’s why!
The Top Ten reasons to move to Dubai or Abu Dhabi (UAE)
To get started we’re going to jump straight in with our top 10 reasons for moving to the Emirates:
1. The professional opportunities are vast
Working in the United Arab Emirates is not all about the money. It can also be a great way to fast forward your career, paving the way for new opportunities and greater responsibility.
Large, urban areas such as Abu Dhabi and Dubai have thriving business economies and always require English-speaking new hires to drive forward their innovation and technology. Dubai in particular is becoming a global hub for business and is already certainly the Middle East’s prime location for commerce and enterprise.
No matter your field or industry (it’s not all oil!), there’s likely to be an employment opportunity for you in the UAE – so chat to an international employment agency and consider your next step.
2. Earnings are tax-free in the UAE
It’s a huge benefit, and may sound too good to be true, but it is: salaries in the Emirates are tax-free. This, combined with the lack of tax on food, drink and other goods, can make the Emirates a very cheap place to live – that is, of course, if you can resist splurging on all the high-end premium brands that the capital is chock-a-block full with!
Remaining as frugal as you can will quickly see your savings stack… and they’re tax-free, too. A few years spent working in the Middle East can set up your finances for life and help provide for a comfortable retirement.
However, to benefit most, you’ll need to get advice on your tax residency so as to avoid having to pay tax on your income or capital in your home country.
3. It’s the perfect balance between city and seaside
Sitting on the south-eastern coast of the Persian Gulf, Dubai runs along the coast with its urban area situated between the sea and the mountains. Lying within the Arabian Desert, it’s gorgeous sandy beaches, alongside luxurious and ultra-new urban architecture combines for a unique experience.
It’s easy to work all day in an office but spend your breaks on a beach, or hike a mountain in the morning and sit down for lunch in the city. You won’t find a better compromise between urban and rural life than here!
4. It’s the best planned city in the world
Dubai’s growth in the last 20 years has been rapid, and few other places on the planet are able to rival it. Despite its desert locale and a distinct lack of the natural resources most other cities and towns derive from, it has thrived thanks to the superb town planning and the technology adopted throughout. You’d never know just how close to nothingness you really are.
5. Food is not just an attraction, but a lifestyle…
80% of the UAE’s current population are expats, and from time to time, they all fancy their home comforts. This means that the food scene in the UAE is truly second-to-none when it comes to choice – there’s not a country in the world you won’t find a restaurant dedicated to, so you can work your way around the globe without ever having leave your new home town.
But of course whilst in the UAE you’ll certainly also want to sample the exotic flavours and aromas of Middle eastern cuisine.
6. Dubai is an international transport hub
The international population of Dubai dictates that a large airport and varied transport links are required. The international airport is the third busiest in the world by passenger traffic, and flights to almost all tourist destinations are only 5-6 hours away, so it’s frequently a stop-over for long-haul travellers.
You can take a holiday to Greece or to Goa and neither will cost you too much or take you too long. Even the Far East is within easy striking distance and you’re already half way to Australia. The possibilities are endless!
7. Safety is paramount
Having a feeling of security is important when you move to new country and culture. Good news then that Dubai is the safest place in the Middle East for tourists and residents alike. Its strict laws mean that its crime rates are virtually non-existent – and where it does happen, it’s usually of the white-collar variety.
You can live in the UAE with no worries past common sense personal safety. 42% of the population of Dubai Central Prison are there for failing to pay debts, a volume of civil prisoners you simply won’t find anywhere else.
8. Culture grows and thrives here
The multi-cultural population of Dubai means that residents and visitors are exposed to not just the traditional Middle Eastern cultures, religions and languages, but those from all over the world – in just 1500 square miles!
It truly is a melting pot of globalisation with a real community feel. You can learn something new and meet someone unique every day.
9. It’s not as restrictive as the press likes to make out!
There are often articles in the press regarding lawsuits and scary strict rules for those living and travelling in Dubai… but don’t be fooled, life in the UAE isn’t all modest fashion and demure behaviour.
You can drink alcohol (just buy an alcohol licence from the state), you can wear what you want (avoiding places of worship and sacred ground, of course), and relationships and dating happen just as they do at home, just without ‘public displays of affection’.
10. Properties to live in are beautiful… and often very, very cheap
It’s not often we’d list a crashed property market as a good thing, but in Dubai and the UAE it’s a fantastic one – especially if you’re considering living there! The current economy makes buying a home in Dubai very economical; however, renting is considerably more expensive.
Most employers will help new recruits relocate either by paying some advance rent (in most cases, you’ll be expected to pay a year upfront) or by helping you out with a deposit, so ask at interview stage. Of course, housing in the Emirates is very new so everything is a new build with shiny mods and cons: ideal for your new start!
More alternative reasons to live and work in the UAE as an expat
Our top 10 covers the most common reasons people choose to move to Dubai and the United Arab Emirates. But this is just the start.
There are many more advantages of living here that you only uncover once you make the move. Here are some of our favourite, overlooked benefits of living and working in the Emirates.
11. Camel safaris are commonplace
It’s not actually a million miles from the British countryside – it’s about 3,500 – but it feels it when you realise that the out-of-town scenery in Dubai is desert! Primarily travelled across in camel, there’s lots of Bedouin camps that make for great authentic dining destinations and are only accessible by a bumpy ride.
12. You can ski… in the desert
Don’t get the sun go to your head – cool off on the slopes! Situated in the Mall of the Emirates, there’s a whole indoor ski resort that’s kept cool year-round and gives you the opportunity to ski five runs and various stunt features without ever leaving the UAE.
13. The shopping malls are amongst the best in the world
If you’re not saving all of your extra cash thanks to earning tax-free, there’s some serious shopping to be done. A whole host of shopping malls along with high streets chock-a-block with designer stores make Dubai potentially the world’s best place for splashing the cash.
14. The sun shines all year round
You need never experience an April shower again when you re-locate to Dubai! There are usually 365 days of sun each year and despite there being too very distinct seasons; summer and winter; you may actually find the latter the most comfortable for being out and about, as the average high is about 22c.
The average temperature across the year sits at about 33c… something we’re lucky to hit for even a day in ole Blighty!
15. A strong and stable economy really does rule
The United Arab Emirates purposely diversified their economy from just oil to a variety of technological and tourism industries. This created a rapidly growing and reliable economy with a stable currency.
Banking rates, businesses and lifestyles all remain competitive and favourable for residents and tourists alike. Dubai and the UAE are now truly a global hub for international business and finance.
16. Educational standards are high
Moving anywhere with children, or planning to have children in a new country, can be a worry as you want them to grow up with the same – if not better – opportunities than afforded to you.
Dubai is home to hundreds of international schools with high grades, numerous extra-curricular activities, dual-language opportunities and favourable ratings tables. You’ll be spoilt for choice for schooling, from infant right through to further education.
17. Abu Dhabi offers many additional benefits
Abu Dhabi offers expats many other benefits and a unique charm as an alternative to Dubai. The cost of living and rents are lower, there are world class music concerts on Yas Island, you can escape to the wild Mangroves or the peace and quiet of Corniche Beach, and Dubai is just an hour and a half away by car or bus.
18. There’s no language barrier
Unlike many other global business powerhouses, you don’t need to be fluent in another tongue to get by in the UAE. Knowing Arabic can be an advantage at times, but you’ll likely pick it up as you settle in.
You’ll be hard pushed to find an activity you can’t complete in English, as it’s spoken so widely, including of course between expats of other mother tongues.
19. Indexes for Quality of Living rate Dubai and UAE highly
The press is full of ‘happiest place’ and ‘best place’ to live reports all year round and, if there’s one place that stays consistently high in the rankings, it’s Dubai.
Expats report excellent quality of life in their new home due to a combination of professional progress, increased wealth and constant attractions and activities. The HSBC Expat Explorer Survey ranks UAE 10th overall
20. Dubai and the UAE are very child and family friendly
Many expats choose to move with their families and there are therefore many facilities and activities to keep them happy. With everything from Kite Beach, ice rinks, trampoline parks and clubs, both indoor and outdoor activities abound.
You’ll also be spoilt for choice for quality theme parks – Legoland, IMG Worlds of Adventure, OliOli, Aquaventure Waterpark and KidZania are just a few of the attractions within easy reach.
You can even water slide through a pool of sharks!
21. The other Emirates are unlocked potential
If you do want to get away and have a break from Dubai and Abu Dhabi, you don’t need to travel far to experience something new. There are seven Emirates in total and breaks to each make for a change of scenery when you fancy something new.
All have high English literacy rates and are ethnically diverse, so you’ll fit in wherever you head to. Abu Dhabi is the most famous and also has a high migrant population, but you have Ajman, Fujairah, Ras al Khaimah, Sharjah and Umm Al Quwain to visit too.
22. Excellent support for Expats
With so many expats in the UAE from the UK and elsewhere, you’ll find all the support you need. There are many expat social groups and clubs, so you’ll easily be able to make friends and get advice to help you settle in more quickly.
23. The new 10 Year Visa and 100% foreign ownership
The UAE is quite progressive and has recently introduced new policies to make it much easier for expats and businesses to move there and stay longer term.
Last year, the UAE federal government announced a new ten-year residence visa for international investors and professionals in medical, research, scientific and technical fields. These visas also extend to family members, encouraging long-term relocation to the Emirates, especially for those in entrepreneurial or research-based fields.
At the same time they allowed 100% foreign ownership of companies in the UAE. Previously companies outside free trade zones had to have a local partner with a minimum 51% ownership.
24. The UAE wants everybody to be happy!
Happiness is a series business in the UAE! Not only do they have a Happiness Minister, but also happiness officers, happiness summits and happiness meters.
The UAE government has left no stone unturned to create the right conditions for people to be happy. So if happiness is important to you then the UAE could be the place for you.
25. Widen your outlook on life
No matter whether you live in the United Arab Emirates for just a few years or choose to make it your permanent home, it is guaranteed to change your outlook on life.
From the exotic Arab culture to the heady world of expat business, you’ll make new friends, learn new attitudes to living and never look at the world in the same way again.
Shipping your belongings and personal items to the UAE is cheap and easy.
With so many British expats moving to and from the UAE, it’s good to know that shipping your personal belongings is simple and cost effective.
This means that you can take your home comforts with you to help you settle into your new expat life and returning with all your Arabian souvenirs and Dubai shopping is easy too.
And shipping your personal belongings is certainly worth considering. As one respondent to the HSBC Expat Explorer advised: “Ship as many of your belongings as you need – it may seem expensive but some basic things that are relatively cheap in the UK can be hard to find. The effort and extra cost outweighs the costs of shipping.”
When will you make your move to the United Arab Emirates?
So there’s quite a few reasons that expats are continuing to choose Dubai and the UAE as their new home, but we could easily go on. Repeatedly a favourite with expats on lists and surveys year after year, Dubai presents a unique opportunity for those looking to start a new life.
The population of the Emirates is estimated to be over 80% expats, so the sense of community and belonging amongst those who have moved there is unrivalled, whilst maintaining a great relationship with the native Emiratis, who have truly embraced the development their home country has seen (and is still seeing).
Help with moving and shipping to Dubai and the UAE
Whatever your reason for moving to the UAE, we can help you achieve it with a smooth, seamless relocation and a fresh new start from which you can hit the ground running. Dubai and the rest of the UAE are countries to which we often help relocate people and their possessions often, so our removal teams have experience in the relevant legislation and logistics for such moves.
As with all international house moves, there are a great deal of things to organise and consider before, during and after your relocation – but we can help advise and support you throughout the whole process. Its one job that can undoubtedly benefit from handing over to the professionals.
So no matter whether you just need to send a few boxes or move your whole house contents, get in touch with our expert relocation team for more details on our services.
You’ll be away to the UAE in no time!
Beautiful videos showing why you should seriously consider a move to Dubai and the UAE!
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