Dubai is a popular home for thousands of expatriates and the population is continuously increasing each year. Tax-free, diverse economy, multi-cultural environment, world class facilities and luxurious standard of living drive them to choose the country to start a long-term career advancement. Although a lot of expatriates who relocated to the emirate have succeeded, it is still necessary to make some research about the realm to know what you should expect before settling to a new land and heading on to your new journey.
This article will help you prepare for your new adventure and will give you an overview of what you need to know before relocating to Dubai.
- Way of life
Dubai is a modern open city and the most liberal among all the 7 emirates. The sovereignty acknowledges cultural differences and other religious beliefs. However, Dubai is still an Islamic Arab city that is bound by a lot of restrictions. Expatriates should be aware of the conservative dress code among women. The respect for the ladies is also important in Islam. Thus, many of the arab women are not comfortable to be surrounded by men. This can be evident in public transportations, where women and children are provided with their designated cabins.
Part of being an Islamic country, Dubai is drug and gamble-free. Alcoholic beverages cannot easily be sold to the public, where most westerners may find it difficult to adjust since they are used to a different kind of liberated lifestyle. Liquors however, are being sold at luxurious hotels and fine dine restaurants.
Every expatriate should be aware that Dubai government is imposing fines to those who will not follow the emirate’s strict guidelines.
- Hot and Cold
Dubai’s location is in Northern desert region. As a consequence, summer season is extremely hot that it reaches up to 52 degrees celsius. It is sunny throughout the year and the occurrence of rainfall is very seldom. The winter or cold season is quite short that it lasts for only about four months. Winter is the most comfortable condition, therefore, a lot of outdoor activities and events are being held all over the emirate.
During summer, sandstorms are hitting the country and lasts for several days. It is due to strong Shamal (north-westerly winds blowing from Saudi Arabia). The dust blizzard can be severe that it can completely reduce the visibility. Motorists are being advised to be very careful since high percentage of accidents occur during severe sandstorms.
- Economic Status
One can enjoy an income tax-free living in Dubai. According to the Dubai government, they cannot easily impose tax on expats since they are not eligible for the federal benefits. However, they have other means of collecting fees for funding. For instance, payment for Emirates ID cards, road toll, vehicle registration, payment for driving lessons and license, etc.
Dubai’s economy is stable and matured, the country has been the center of trading due to its geographic location between the East coast and West coast. Primarily, the city generates much of its revenues from the oil industry. Gold, diamond and Tourism are also one of the widespread commodities. If you love jewelry, you may take advantage of low prices offered in Dubai gold market.
Finding a job in Dubai can be pretty easy as long as you know where to find them. A lot of big companies are coming to Dubai to venture their businesses due to the fact that the country has free and open trade. These business enterprises are recruiting expats and are offering highly competitive salary packages.
If you are fresh in Dubai and looking for a job, there are lots of ways to start your job hunt. You can visit the company websites, often times they have careers section where you can send in your CV. Several online job hunting websites are also available wherein you can post your CV for free like Bayt, Dubizzle, LinkedIn and others . You can also try to ask some help from Recruitment Agencies however, it may involve a lot of risks. Make sure to be keen in choosing the right recruiter to avoid scams. Also be aware that agencies are not permitted to collect monetary fees.
- Types of Visas
A UAE visa is required upon your entry to Dubai, unless you are a national of any country that belongs to the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) union. Those countries are Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, and Oman. A sponsor visa, on the other hand, is required if you are planning to stay in the emirate for more than 14 days.
There are different types of visas, depending on the nationality, duration of stay and the purpose of visit. Medical examination is part of the visa application process in Dubai to prevent any contagious diseases and to maintain a healthy living environment.
Below are the types of visas in Dubai:
Employment Visa - Your employer is responsible to provide you with an employment visa once you get a job. Along with your employment visa is your labor contract. You should read the contract carefully and check if all the information is correct since the amount of income stated will be the basis of your gratuity calculation.
Residence Visa - Once you have completed the procedures for the Employment Visa, you will soon receive the proof that you are entitled to reside in Dubai. Residency Visa, however, have several types as well.
Family Visa - This type of Residency Visa is being given to expatriates with their spouse and children residing in Dubai. Professionals who are earning 4,000 AED per month can be granted with Family Visa but the visa holder should not travel outside UAE for more than 6 months for the visa to remain valid.
Parents Visa - Expatriates with minimum monthly salary of 20,000 AED without accommodation from the employer are capable of sponsoring their parents or parents in-law to reside in UAE for 1 year and is renewable. As long as expats have all the necessary documents to prove the relationship and proof that there is no one in the home country to take care of them. Parents should also be medically covered and the parents visa should be changed to residence visa within 60 days upon entry to UAE.
Newborn Visa - In case of giving birth in Dubai, your newborn should be applied for residence visa within 120 days of birth, otherwise, the baby will not be allowed to leave the country. Parents or guardians are subject to pay 100 AED fine if failed to apply the visa within 120 days.
Maids Visa - Only the head of the family with minimum monthly salary of 6,000 AED per month can sponsor a maid’s visa. Bachelors are not entitled for this sponsorship and only the house helpers coming from Sri Lanka, India, Indonesia, Philippines, Ethiopia and Bangladesh can be granted.
UAE Visas are categorized into 2 types, the Regular Visa and the Freezone Visa. The difference between the two is that the Freezone Visa doesn’t have to be approved by the Ministry of Labour while the Regular Visa needs to be validated. 6 months ban from entering UAE can be given by the employer to expatriates under a Regular Visa who will desire to change employers without finishing their existing employment contract. However, they can still join another employer if they will shift to any companies under a Freezone Visa.
Some employers provide decent accommodation to their staffs but sometimes the room gets too crowded. There are plenty of apartments in Dubai are available for rent. However, you also have to consider your budget in deciding whether to take advantage of the free housing or to get your own space. If you are due for relocation with your family and has sufficient budget, Villas for rent could be another option for you.
In case of planning a long-term stay in the emirate, one way of acquiring a permanent Residency Visa is to purchase a freehold property. There are countless prestigious residential communities in Dubai where lavish villas for sale and rent are available.
It is very safe to travel around Dubai whether you are a resident or a tourist. The primary mode of public transportation are Metro train, public bus and taxi. Taking the metro train can be the most convenient if you are in a hurry, setting aside the crowd at the metro station. Because traffic jam can be horrible at times especially during rush hours in the early morning and evening.
Dubai has a high healthcare standard. Both public and private hospitals offer good quality of healthcare service. Medical facilities are modern with well-trained local and expat medical staffs. You don’t have to worry in case you need to have yourself checked since English language is the medium in most of the emirate’s public facilities including hospitals. Medical expenses can be a bit costly, though. It is very helpful to obtain a medical card from Dubai’s Ministry of Health or make sure that your employer will provide you with a health insurance.
- Safety and Security
The country is generally safe due to the fact that majority of Dubai’s population consists of expatriates. They are very cautious in committing any form of crime to stay away from the risk of deportation.
Security is not an issue in Dubai, although it doesn’t mean there’s totally no crime in the country. Any form of committed grave misconducts are considered as isolated cases. Both residents and tourists should not worry about their safety as Dubai is one of the safest places you can ever be.
- Educational Facilities
Education can be expensive in Dubai due to the fact that private or international schooling are the only options. But schools in Dubai has a lot to offer as some institutions are following US and UK curriculums.
Those are just a few of the top important things that you need to know before relocating to another country, particularly in Dubai. Despite of religion and cultural differences, this open city respects the beliefs and principles of the expats residing in the emirate. There is nothing to worry about just as long as you are sure to get a fall-back job and a comfortable abode upon entering the UAE premises. If so, then it only means that a great adventure is waiting for you!