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

Labor fees restructured for private companies

Dubai Labor

As part of restructuring the Labor Laws in UAE, the Ministry of Labor has announced a set of parameters classifying private companies into categories besides setting up a fee structure for processing labor permits and related services.

According to the news report, Minister of Labor Saqr Ghobash has classified the companies on the basis of:

– rates of Emiratization they have achieved
– how multi-cultural they are, and
– what housing facilities they provide to workers

All new companies will have to pay Dh2,000 for registering with the Ministry of Labor, while another Dh250 need to paid for securing a digital signature to be used while processing all labor-related papers.

Private companies that employ non-Emirati representatives (PRO) will be charged Dh2,000 for every two years while Dh200 will be charged for re-issuing a lost or damaged PRO card.

The two-year labor cards of expatriate workers under sponsorship of any family member will cost Dh200.

In the fee schedule for the second category of the workers as listed in the revised list, the fees has been fixed at Dh600 (A), Dh1,500 (B), and Dh2,000 (C) while the fee will be Dh5,000 for the third category meant for expatriate workers over the age of 65.

The ministry has imposed a fee of Dh100 for temporary work permits to allow minors to be employed at any facility. The fee will be Dh500 for one year’s work permit.

The ministry has also set a fee of Dh300 for each case of transfer that includes a new work permit from one company to another.

To avail of the facility to import labor, a company should have paid fee of Dh10,000 with an annual renewal fee of Dh5,000.

Companies that do not get labor card for its foreign workers even after the 60 days from their date of entry into the country, will attract fines of Dh1,000 for every month or part thereof.

The article 2 of the ministerial decree No 26 of 2010 says companies will be exempted from paying such fees for the Emiratis they hire.

These updates, including the recent work permit rules, may going to put large dents in private companies purses. Business, in UAE, will never be the same.


New Work Permit Rules in UAE: Good or Bad?

UAE work permit

According to Cabinet resolution No 25 of 2010 issued by Saqr Gobash, the Minister of Labor, laws related to Work Permit, Labor Card and Residence Visa have been modified, with effect from January 01, 2011.

Once operational, the new rules will replace the current formalities of transfer of sponsorship for expatriate workers.

– An employee with an expired contract can obtain a new work permit and move to another employer without the passing of the currently legitimate six-month period and consent of his sponsor.

– New employment permit will only be granted to the worker after the end of his work relationship with his employer without consideration of the legitimate six month period which is usually calculated after the cancellation of the worker’s labor card, but stipulates two must-do conditions:
1. The two contracting parties must have ended their work relationship cordially
2. The worker should have worked with his employer for at least two years – the duration of the new labour card which will be issued by early January.

The resolution defines two cases where the worker can obtain the new work permit after the end of the contractual relationship without the agreement of the two contracting parties:

1. When the employer fails to honor his legal or contractual obligations
2. In the condition of expiry of work relationship where the worker is not responsible for it, but there is a complaint filed by the worker against his firm. In this case, an inspection report should prove that the firm has been out of business for more than two months and that the worker has reported to the ministry. The labour dispute should have been referred by the ministry to the court provided that the court hands out a final verdict ordering the employer to pay to the worker salaries of at least two months in compensation for the arbitrary sacking or terminating of the contract prematurely, or any other rights.

The resolution also defines three cases where the worker shall have the right to get a work permit without fulfilling the condition of working at least two years with the employer:

1. When joining his new job, the worker should be classified in the first, second or third professional class and that his salary should not be less than Dh12,000; Dh7,000; and Dh5,000; if he is in the first, second and third class respectively.

2. Non-compliance of the employer with legal and labor obligations towards the worker or in the case where the worker has no role in terminating the work relationship.

3. Transferring the worker to another firm the employer owns it or has stakes in it.

Would these new rules go in the benefit of job seeker, employer or result in a win-win situation? Only time will tell.