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Expat Advice: Working in Dubai, UAE

Submitted by francesy


Dubai at Night

A former expat in Dubai warns about the risks of Dubai's lavish lifestyle - many expats end up in buried in debt as a result.

What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?


What are the main industries in this city? What types of career opportunities commonly exist? How do most people find new jobs?

It depends really. The Oil & Gas give the best opportunities based on the salary and benefits offered, Real Estate / Construction were also main industries before the economic crisis. There are always job openings for the hospitality industry but usually do not pay as much, but these jobs are always the best entry jobs if considering to move to the UAE as the companies usually provide the accommodation, so it is easier to make a move from them rather than coming on a visit visa and then hunt job. Newspapers and websites are reliable and great tools in finding new jobs.

What type of work do you do and how did you find your job?

I was an Executive Assistant / Office Manager for an Oil & Gas Company.

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How did you obtain your work permit? What advice would you have for others about work permits?

Obtaining work permit in Dubai is taken care of by the HR department. You just have to provide them your originals which will be returned back to you after the entire process.

Have you taken language and cross-cultural training courses to prepare for your assignment? If so, how have they helped you on the job?

English is widely-used. If you know French and Arabic, it is a great advantage since French is second language to some Arabic countries like Lebanon & Morocco. Some companies offer cross-cultural courses, but learning a language is something you usually need a lot of practice of and surely takes a lot of time.

If you were transferred abroad by your employer, were you guaranteed a job upon repatriation? What type of mentoring programs does your employer offer?


What advice would you offer others about finding jobs and working abroad?

I have lived in many different countries and even now that I am based here in the US, I found living in Dubai the best and easiest for me. The only challenge I can think of and to consider if one is to move there is to have a more in-depth understanding of the culture and the religion. It is important to make a research firstly and to gather as much information as possible before making a decision. It is also important to keep in mind that although Dubai can seem to offer a lavish lifestyle, one shouldn't fall trap to this habit as a lot of the expats in Dubai end up buried in debts because of this.

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Comments about this Report

Mar 7, 2011 22:02

What do you mean by: "It is also important to keep in mind that although Dubai can seem to offer a lavish lifestyle, one shouldn't fall trap to this habit as a lot of the expats in Dubai end up buried in debts because of this." How does the expat get buried in debt? Did I miss something?

Mar 22, 2011 07:54

did you work with a recruiter and if so, can you please provide contact information?

May 31, 2011 21:53

Do NOT run up debts in Dubai or any of the other emirates. I don't know what the penalties are but while there, i read regular reports of foreigners doing daft things to escape debt problems. Bottom line is.. Dubai is expensive, Taxis are expensive, alchohol is only permitted in a few licensed places outside hotels and is so expensive that you may want to give it up when your duty free runs out. Eating out is relatively expensive if you like unusual or themed venues. Francesy recommended a more in-depth understanding of the culture and religion, this is extremely good advice.

Jun 1, 2011 02:00

I forgot my login name, this is francesy. What I meant about the debt issue, most of the expats who move to Dubai have a tendency to live outside their means. And that's because Dubai has a lot of fancy things to offer, fancy cars, parties etc... and many other things... and having mentioned that you have to have a more thorough understanding of the religion and culture, is not only about the basics which most of us already know. Like for instance, under the Sharia Law (Islamic Law) - you can go to jail for a bounced cheque. You will not be informed this when you are offered a loan or a credit card by the bank, when a blank security cheque is required to apply for one. I was also with a real estate co. over there and so I have been exposed to a lot of these issues while I was there and I have seen all sorts of cases. And there is really a lot more to understand and be cautious of while you are there. Keep in mind, the Sharia Law is very different and it is not to be taken for granted. On the other question of recruiters; I did not work with a recruiter, but there are a lot of reliable headhunting offices which can help you in finding a job. Newspaper ads are also reliable. Try Gulf Talent, Gulf Newspapers etc. I'd say, it depends on your area of expertise and your luck of course. I hope this helps.

Feb 5, 2012 19:40

Do you have any job websites that you can reccommend to me please? I am looking at returning to the Gulf when I have finished my studies. Thank you

Feb 5, 2012 19:42

Oops just saw some links below! If you have any other websites you can think of, could you forward those on please?

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