Dubai has transformed itself over the years and has become an ideal destination for people to not only do business but also live as well. Many investors from across the world have recently shifted their entire lives to Dubai; this is primarily because the government of Dubai has also made it extremely easy for them to do so with their policy changes and more.
Although the process has been made easier but moving to a different country can be a very daunting task, especially if you do not have ample knowledge. Rizmona has compiled this guide to help you with the entire process and discuss the things you need to look out for and much more.
2020 was a breakthrough year that brought some very exciting changes aimed specifically towards the expat residents; everything will be covered in-depth in this guide. In addition to that, this guide will also focus on providing practical tips on residency, taxes, education, health, and plenty of other things including all the policy changes, etc.
Pros and Cons of Living in Dubai
As stated beforehand, Dubai has gradually become the go-to place for majority of the investors and people looking to start a new chapter in their lives. However, where there are many positives to focus on, there are some drawbacks as well which also need to be taken into consideration. If you are moving to Dubai then here are some things that you need to consider before finalizing your decision.
Pros of Living in Dubai
- Dubai’s business sector is by far the quickest growing sector in the entire world. The city has seen millions of dollars of investment from foreign investors which means that the job opportunities are limitless. You can mix business with personal pleasure and enjoy your life to the fullest.
- Those who enjoy pleasant weather will truly enjoy Dubai. For 8 months or so, the climate is dominated by long hot days followed by cloudless blue skies with beautiful warm seawater.
- If you are an extrovert and hold your social life close to your heart then Dubai is certainly a place you need to consider. Since Dubai has investors from across the world and remains one of the top global vacation destinations, you will come across people from everywhere.
- Parents can take a sigh of relief because Dubai has one of the best educational standards and new schools are being constructed almost annually.
- Perhaps one of the biggest attractions of Dubai is the fact that there is no income tax imposed on anymore and not just the expats. This has swayed many people already and if you did not know this then it might just sway you too.
- You can easily repatriate funds in Dubai easily which implies a fantastic salary package for you and your family.
- The life standard in Dubai is extremely high and that fits perfectly with the ideology of those who want to maintain a certain lifestyle.
- The taxes are extremely low in Dubai and fines imposed on failing to file these taxes are also minuscule.
- Dubai government has invested heavily in the public transportation system but if you want to own a car instead then the cost of that is also very low.
- Moving to a new city with your family can be a daunting task and safety is the first concern. In Dubai, the crime rate is very low which is a huge benefit.
- Lastly, most expats are concerned that religion might be a huge factor but it shouldn’t. Dubai is a very tolerant emirate, especially in terms of others’ beliefs and ways of life. Expats are allowed to buy alcohol and they can also eat and drink during daylight hours of Ramadan as well, which is normally frowned upon in some countries.
Cons of Living in Dubai
- Dubai is a bureaucratic-favored nation, which can come as a cultural shock for some people who are shifting from a different country. The expats are required to have their entry permits, driving licenses, among other things on them at all ties which can be an annoying thing.
- Additionally, speaking about the documents, you expats are required to have an entry permit-ready so they can not only just work but also reside in Dubai.
- The weather is often a problem for a number of people as Dubai can become unbearably hot from the months of June to September. This is especially problematic for someone who might be moving from, supposed the United States to Dubai.
- Traffic is another factor that can cause many problems for those who aren’t too familiar with rush hours; this can potentially have a tenable impact on the lives of those who commute to work on their own car or have to drop their children off at work, and more.
- Dubai is renowned for being an expensive city to live in; the housing and schooling are incredibly expensive and should be taken into consideration prior to making a decision. It needs to be an informed decision.
- For comparison, the living cost of Dubai is more or less the same as central London; which is well-documented and renowned for being extremely expensive.
- The Dubai government has censorship on certain films and has restricted access to websites and other services such as even Skype. Expats who move to Dubai have publicly voiced their opinions when it comes to this as well.
Determining whether a city or a country is worth moving to is a completely subjective matter; similarly, living in Dubai is also what you make it out to be. Your personal choice and preferences matter a lot when it comes to actually move. For many people, pros such as a healthy income with no burden of taxes are often enough to outweigh all the cons. This is why Rizmona has presented both sides of the story and you can pick and choose on which side would you like to be on. You can contact us for more information, documents processing, or more.
Important Facts to Know About Dubai
Dubai is considered to be the life of the party whilst simultaneously holding a concrete value when it comes to business and its operations. Many foreign investors have invested in Dubai for particularly this reason whereas the expats have weighed all the pros and cons.
|UAE is formed by 7 emirates and Dubai is one of them. Moreover, it is also the main city within the emirate of Dubai.|
|Dubai’s wealth is primarily based on its oil industry but it has diversified its income streams in the recent past through tourism, foreign investment, and real estate.|
|The ruler of Dubai, as of now, is His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. It is worth mentioning that Dubai has veto power over certain matters which are directly related to the legislature of the country.|
|Dubai has seen an influx of foreign investment due to its rapid success in the business and development sector. It’s home to some of the most prominent franchises across the globe.|
|Dubai remains an independent entity i.e. the 2008 economic contraction had no impact on its economy and it continued to blossom.|
|The Dubai lifestyle is renowned in the world and that has been one of the key attractions for many of the expats.|
|Dubai has adopted a Western approach to its lifestyle, business, and other matters. You can avail of all services in Dubai and have a laid-back experience through all of them.|
Jobs and Salaries in Dubai
Moving to a completely new place is a tormenting task for many people. After all, it is not an easy task to uproot your entire life and shift to a new environment that has its own traditions and culture. This is one of the main reasons why Rizmona has compiled this article so it can guide you throughout the process, what to expect, and how to proceed with your decision.
Shifting to a new place, the first thing anyone looks out for is a job. When it comes to any job, salary is often the determining factor for most people as well. In this section of the article, we will discuss the details of jobs and salaries and what to expect.
The first thing that needs to be pointed out is that, as mentioned before, you have a chance to earn a tax-free salary in Dubai. This is a huge benefit as many countries have up to 40% taxation on salaries. If you are moving from such countries then this should already be a huge motivating factor. So, no income taxation along with other tax-related relaxation is a great start.
The United Arab Emirates has gradually established itself as one of the strongest global tech and innovation hubs. This decision was taken to lower their dependency on oil revenues and diversify their means of revenue. There are hundreds of global companies which are based out of Dubai and that opens up a lot of doors for job opportunities for anyone who is actively seeking.
You don’t want to look for a job? No worries, Dubai has a great infrastructure in place for freelancers and startups. You can easily acquire a co-working space in a free zone at a minimal cost. This will provide you an official address for your startup as you continue to work from there and expand your social circle and network alongside, which is an additional benefit of working in Dubai. You get to meet with VCs, CEOs, and other key members of prominent businesses.
Here is a list of all the top-paying jobs in Dubai as of 2021:
- Statistical analysis and data mining
- Public policy and international relations
- Algorithm design
- Web architecture and development framework
- SEO/SEM marketing
- Middleware and integration software
- UI design
- Renewable and sustainable energy
- Mining and commodities
- Corporate law and governance
As of now, the IT sector and innovation jobs are dominating the highest-paid jobs in Dubai. The companies which are hiring are willing to compensate very handsomely because they want qualified people on board as soon as possible so that they can not only start working with them but also develop a long-term business relationship that promises mutual benefits. All the professions listed above are expected to pay significantly more than what they did a couple of years ago, and this has how Dubai evolved over the course of the last decade or so.
For expats, the options of being involved with Free Trade Zones are limitless. This is where a majority of the international companies have invested millions of dollars. From Dubai Internet City to Dubai Media City, there are jobs in broadcasting, advertisement, publishing, production, IT-related, and more.
Places like Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) remain at the top for banking, finance, and insurance type companies and jobs. Those who want to continue in that field can look at DIFC as a possible destination.
Dubai Maritime City covers Maritime industry whereas Airport Free Zone is where you can land jobs related to imports/exports.
Probably the oldest free zone of all, Jebel Ali Free Zone offers job opportunities in Biotechnology and Research Park, Healthcare City, Logistics City, or Knowledge Village.
The point is, if you are a qualified candidate then finding a job in Dubai remains an easy task. However, you might have to struggle with making connections and getting into the business sphere at first. But once you do, Dubai could be a potential goldmine for you personally.
Working in Dubai – Tips and Facts
Relocating is never easy but if your employer asks for it then you are left with little choice. Having said that, there is perhaps a no better place to relocate to than Dubai due to its selling points.
Moving on, if the employer asks you to relocate then it is better to iron out the employment package beforehand. Because Dubai is not a cheap place to live; there are high relocation costs, accommodation costs, children’s education costs, along with other similar things which can factor into your decision.
Working in emirates is not at all difficult if you can manage a visit visa. You can perhaps do an online study beforehand and start applying for jobs online before actually moving to Dubai and then looking for jobs. This will not only save you time but also a lot of hassle. In the modern-day and age, companies often finalize their recruitment process through online applications, and interviews are taken in person.
The importance of labour card is also very significant whereas your employer will also need to sponsor your visa; this will alert the authorities that you have a job in place and thus making your visa application process much simpler. You can then sit back, wait for your visa application to be accepted after that.
In case you lose your job within 30 days then you will need to find a new job in the meantime. You will require that workplace to sponsor you as well. If you cannot manage to find a job which also sponsors you then, unfortunately, you will have to leave Dubai. This is especially important because the next time you apply, you will have to explain the reasons why you had to leave the job and they will refer to the company which hired you to confirm your claims.
Remote Work Visa in Dubai
Dubai recently announced a new visa program called “Remote Work”. This was yet another initiative by the Dubai authorities to bring a more inclusive approach to the Dubai culture. By applying for a Remote Work visa, you can travel to Dubai and remain there for a year while being self-employed or for your employer abroad.
Some visas have restrictions on what you can and can’t do. However, through a Remote Work visa, you can even rent a house in Dubai, have complete access to the schooling systems and if you have any children then they can go to school in Dubai as well.
It is important to understand that you can be self-employed or work with your employer abroad but you won’t be allowed to search for a random job.
You will also need to have health insurance in Dubai. This was a well-thought decision by the authorities and has helped a number of people already.
Retirement in Dubai
Dubai has also started a scheme through which you can potentially retire in Dubai. This scheme can into effect from September of 2020, which means that it has almost been a year already.
This retirement scheme enables all eligible residents who are aged 55 or over can fill out the application and apply; it is renewable every five years according to the official announcement.
Here are some requirements you will need to fulfill in order to qualify:
- Monthly income of over 20,000 dirhams, which is around $5,500
- If not that, then you should have 1 million dirhams in savings
- If not either of the above, then you must have property ownership in Dubai which has a net worth of over 2 million dirhams
These are all schemes that Dubai has introduced to lure people into opting to stay in Dubai, even if it is after your retirement. Dubai has been aiming to increase the influx of people who are willing to choose Dubai as their destination of choice.
General Lifestyle in Dubai
If there is anything Dubai guarantees, it is a lifestyle like no other place; if a simple word could be used to explain the lifestyle in Dubai then it would be extravagant.
This lifestyle is what lures tourists to visit Dubai and this is something expats will never complain about. Due to the warm weather, majority of the activities are limited to indoor air-conditioned activities.
There is a wide range of theme parks which you can visit with you and your family. If that is not your cup of tea then private beach clubs are something which is really fascinating as well. There are world-renowned shopping malls and an abundance of renowned fast-food chains. There are other indoor activities such as snowboarding, music festivals, and various cafes where you can just relax and take your mind off things.
Shopping in Dubai
Dubai first established itself as a tourist haven, which meant focusing on things that all tourists would love and shopping is one huge part of it. Dubai offers an extravagant experience when it comes to shopping as the largest mall in the world also exists here. From buying international-quality goods, you can also purchase IKEA furniture to traditional textiles. This speaks very highly about the variety Dubai offers to all the customers.
Things purchased in Dubai are also tax-free, excluding the importation costs. It is worth mentioning that VAT was introduced in Dubai back in 2018 at a rate of 5 percent; this however does not include food items, healthcare, and education.
For expats, they can be assured that even if they offload everything in their home country, they will easily be able to purchase goods and kick start their life in Dubai with ease.
Lastly, people are always advised to monitor the rush hours when it comes to shopping, and Friday night is perhaps the most jam-packed in Dubai for shopping.
Cost of Living in Dubai
As extensively discussed beforehand, there are many tradeoffs when it comes to living in Dubai and an expensive lifestyle is one of them.
When we talk about the accommodation in Dubai, the cost can rise up to £15,000 per year; this is for a decent rental value of an apartment that is located in a good location. The bad news? The amount has to be paid upfront otherwise you might not find many good listings in decent locations.
When it comes to actual purchasing of a property in Dubai you will have to wait quite sometime before you are able to find an off-plan apartment or villa to be completed. Otherwise, you will have to pay top dollar for a resale property and that can be extremely costly even for people who have money to spare.
In case if you already own a property in Dubai then you are in good luck because you can easily achieve yields between the percentages of 8 to 11 percent.
Moving on to the cost of schools, it is important to note that there is a law in place which restricts the school administrations to fix the school fee inflation to between 16 to 20 percent. This is something which can give you a rough idea as to how much money you will require one year or two years onward. The schooling remains expensive, however, as the schools add on extras which can force the inflation of the school fees up to 50 to 60 percent. This is something you will have to think long and hard about before making your official move.
The medical in Dubai is relatively expensive but compare to the quality, the costs are justified. Dubai has also been at the forefront of creating some exceptional hospitals for its citizens and the expats have been very happy with the services.
The groceries are the same as pretty much anywhere else. However, alcohol is expensive. For the fuel costs, not only the fuel is cheaper but the cost of vehicles is also lower than some of the places such as the UK.
Shopping costs remain stable and reasonable despite the introduction of VAT at a rate of 5 percent, which is the lowest in the entire world.
Healthcare in Dubai
Dubai has made health insurance mandatory in Dubai which means that every resident has to get their insurance; whether it is provided by the employer or you purchase it on your own. While applying for a residency visa, you will also need to show valid health insurance in order for your application to be processed.
Making insurance mandatory as a means to a) lower the number of applicants, b) ensuring that people who are migrating to Dubai do not possess a threat to others. This is especially an important factor especially after the COVID-19 pandemic.
Since Dubai is a completely different climate from many other countries, you will be faced with the hurdles of dealing with the temperature and also different local bugs and health threats. You will need to follow a set standard protocol prior to moving to Dubai.
Cultural Norms and Laws in Dubai
As you prepare for a new place, you must look at their cultural values and other laws which are imposed by the government and relevant authorities so you don’t get in trouble.
Here are some things which are unique about Dubai and rules which must be followed:
- Dubai has no tolerance policy when it comes to adultery; the act is punishable by prison and subsequent deportation
- This also applies to getting in debt or having a cheque bouncing
- DUIs are very strictly punished as well as taking non-prescribed drugs
- Dubai is very adamant about maintaining a proper and decent dress code in public places
- The local religions are expected to be respected. You need to develop a tolerance for other cultures, traditions, and religions
Recent Changes in UAE Legislation
2020 was a prominent year as it brought several changes to the cards. The aim of these changes was to either safeguard UAE’s own interests or boost the country’s economic and social standing.
Here is a complete list of recent changes which expats living in Dubai need to be aware of:
- “Honor killings” and even harassment of women is now strictly punished
- Drinking alcohol without a license is now permitted
- It is no longer considered illegal to live together outside of marriage
- Expats in UAE have the right to follow their home country’s law when it comes to divorce or inheritance
- Foreigners can now own a local company without the need of having an Emirati sponsor, which not only reduces cost but also gives them a lot of direct control
- This, however, does not apply to energy and hydrocarbons, telecommunications, and transport sectors
Transport in Dubai
In the last couple of years, Dubai has invested heavily to ensure that they expand the metropolis to cater to the holidaymakers and also the expats from across the globe. Dubai has very strict rules and regulations when it comes to obeying traffic rules and they should be the first priority for everyone.
If you are looking to purchase your very own vehicle it is worth mentioning that you must have a driving license beforehand. However, renting a car is possible with an international license as well. Most expats rent a car until they can get their local license made.
Since Dubai is located in a desert area, you will be required to pass a desert driving course if you want to go off-roading; be it on a bike or a car.
The public transport system is also very good in Dubai and many people commute daily by using the local transport. Dubai recently promised to become the smartest city in the world when it came to public transport, which is also something to look forward to in the future.
Public transport is offered in various forms, which include Metro trains, Tesla taxi cars, and soon driverless taxis concept will also be implemented.
Dubai is a remarkable and very hip place to live, it offers a wide range of activities, lifestyle up-gradation, and many other perks. The authorities of Dubai are committed to making it a world-class vision of a futuristic forward-looking city. Dubai has already achieved most of its goals but it remains focused on improving further and lead the world when it comes to innovation.
Dubai is an ideal place for anyone who loves to thrive on buzz and enjoy a lifestyle that is full of glamour and having a good time. Dubai also has a lot of neighborhoods that are dedicated to family lifestyle and if you are more of a family man, then those places might be worth looking around for.
Undoubtedly, Dubai is a choice of personal preference. Some are more inclined to visit and live there while some might not feel the same way. However, we hope that this Rizmona guide can help you throughout the process and take away any confusions you might have beforehand.
Feel free to contact us at Rizmona and we will be sure to serve you to the best of our abilities as we have done so with so many other expats. Good luck!