relaxing in Dubai

Expat Guide to Moving to Dubai from UK

British Expats in Dubai

Dubai is an attractive relocation spot for British citizens. Every year, hundreds of British expats move to Dubai from UK for better prospects and financial gains.

With over 200,000 new resident arrivals each year, Dubai continues to attract more expatriates. Affordable accommodations, high salaries, employee-friendly taxes are only some of the reasons why more people are looking into starting a new life in Dubai.

Whether you are moving to Dubai for business, work, retirement or just for an extended stay, consider the following tips – especially if you are moving to Dubai from UK.

Coming to Work in Dubai:

Most people who relocate to Dubai do so because they have found a suitable job there. It is advised that you find work before moving. Finding work is not that difficult in Dubai, especially in the areas of information and technology and hospitality. The city and its economy is growing and there’s a lot of work in other sectors too.

Residency Visa and Work Permits. In order to live and work in Dubai, you need an approved Work Permit and Residency Visa. Your employer will usually facilitate the submission of the necessary documents for the government’s approval. Income is tax-free, but the job market is very competitive. So you must prepare yourself for a challenging job hunt, making sure that your relevant skills are highlighted when you apply for a job.

Compensation. As an expatriate, what compensation and benefits are you going to receive? Some companies pay for expenses of removals, accommodation rentals, and flights to and from UK, children’s school tuition fees and personal vehicles. You are very fortunate if all these are to be paid for by the company. Work on your numbers to see whether your finances can support your lifestyle in Dubai. Major consideration is your family, if you are bringing them with you.

Living in Dubai:

Dubai is often called an “expat’s paradise”. More than half of people living here are foreign born. As an expat, you will enjoy amenities which you may not have in your home countries. For instance, telecommunication system is excellent; most of the modern buildings are equipped with hi-tech air-conditioning and safety systems. Media, such as newspapers, TV, radio stations, are available in Arabic, English, Urdu and several other languages.

Dress and etiquette in Dubai: Most Emirati males wear a kandura. It is an ankle-length tunic woven from wool or cotton. Women wear an abaya, a black over-garment covering most parts of the body. Because of the large expatriate population, Western and modern clothing is popular, and is also beginning to grow among the Emiratis.

Accommodation in UAE: The cost of living in the UAE depends on the location and size of the accommodation. Expats moving to Dubai from UK usually prefer to live in Marina, Jumeirah Beach Road, Safa Park, Umm Suqeim, JBR, as well as the freehold areas like Ranches, Meadows, Springs, Greens, DIFC, and Palm.

Finding an apartment in UAE is easy with the help of online portals like

Insurance. Talk to your insurance adviser in UK and ask how your current insurance policies will be affected when you move to UK. Concurrently, talk to a trusted insurance adviser about your insurance options in Dubai. The biggest foreign players in the insurance industry in Dubai are Metlife ALICO, Zurich International Life and AXA for life and medical insurance. Some of the more reputable local players are Oman Insurance, Arab Orient Insurance and Daman.

Healthcare. In Dubai, healthcare is generally satisfactory. If you have any special medical requirements, make sure you ask your employer or any trusted sources about this. Determine the medical and dental package that your employer is offering you. Remember that you are in a foreign land, and you should be prepared for any health needs that you will be encountering.

Weather and landscape. Avoid staying outdoors during summer as it can get very hot. Throughout the rest of the year, it is quite pleasant and the winter isn’t too cold. A lot has been achieved in terms of landscaping, irrigation and beautification, to think that all these was barren desert a decade or two ago.

Over 80% of people living in Dubai are from other countries. You are bound to run into someone from your home country. Things are generally cheaper, but it depends on your lifestyle and which country you come from. There are traffic cameras everywhere, given the tendency to enjoy speeding because of the roads, cheap fuel and sporty cars. Be sensitive to their culture and remember that you are in a different country.

There are certain hidden costs of living in Dubai. Do factor in for them when planning your monthly budget.

When moving to Dubai from UK, do not expect the two places to be similar, even with Dubai’s modernization.

Tourists in Dubai to get a free mobile SIM

Expats Perplexed on Expensive Childbearing in Dubai

childbearing in UAE
As covered earlier, low earning expats struggle to find quality healthcare in Dubai. This extends to women expecting kids or going into labor.

There are reports of expat women who have suffered from low quality treatment pre and post-natal, while saving few bucks.

One such lady, an Egyptian expatriate, opted for a normal delivery at a low-cost facility in Sharjah. She paid Dhs 3,000 for the delivery. However, not only did she have to endure unpleasant behaviour from the hospital attendants while she was in labour, but one of the doctors also messed up her stitches — something that almost cost her life. Shortly after she went home, she went though excruciating pain and one leg started to swell. She went back to the hospital to find out what had gone wrong. But the staff told her to go back and wait for the pain to subside.

Three days after that hospital visit, her situation only got worse. Her leg was swelling up so much that she could barely move. On her mother’s insistence she flew to Cairo to get second opinion and proper medical care.

For 15 days I was suffering in pain. My mother saw my ordeal and advised me to fly to Cairo to get a second opinion and proper medical care. There I was told by a doctor that my stitches had been messed up.

He also said the needle used was so old that many hospitals had stopped using it since 1999. He had to cut through a portion of the skin and re-stitch me. It felt like I went through delivery twice,

A Filipina expatriate who gave birth to her youngest daughter about four years ago, says she had a no-frills delivery at Zulekha hospital in Dubai. She had to undergo a C-section costing her around Dhs6,000. She rates the staff and services as average.

Prior to that, she had delivered a baby at another hospital in Dubai, where the staff’s bedside manner wasn’t what she had expected. “I was in extreme pain in the labour room, but the nurse shouted at me to stop screaming,” she said.

Another expat lady, financial services manager of Lifecare International and mother of three children, didn’t go through the same experience. She gave birth to her youngest child last year at Medcare hospital in Dubai. Compared to others, her delivery was more like a hassle-free experience.

It was excellent. There were lovely nurses and doctors and I got lots of attention,” she says.

The hospital billed her Dh11,000 for the normal delivery, but since she had insurance coverage, she paid only for consumable items like nappies, food, medicines, etc.

Here are Maternity packages of two hospitals in Dubai (rates in dirhams)

Zulekha Hospital
Basic antenatal 3,200
Standard ante-natal 4,200
Antenatal (high-risk) 6,500
Normal delivery (sharing) 5,000
Normal delivery 5,500
Normal delivery (VIP) 8,000
Caesarean (sharing) 9,000
Caesarean 10,000
Caesarean (VIP) 15,000

Medcare Hospital
Antenatal (12 weeks) 5,000
Antenatal (28 weeks) 3,750
Normal delivery (one bed suite) 9,500
Normal delivery (VIP suite) 15,500
Normal delivery (royal suite) 17,500
Caesarian (one bed) 17,000
Caesarian (VIP) 29,500
Caesarian (royal suite) 33,500