As a destination for expats, Dubai has grown in popularity over the last decade. In fact, since 2007 almost 10,000 people have made the move from the UK to the UAE, while the expat Indian and Filipino communities continue to grow.

With tax-free incomes, modern architecture, and jaw-droppingly beautiful beaches, it’s little wonder so many expats are prepared to call Dubai home.

Think you’re ready to join them?

Well, read our short guide to living and working in Dubai to help with your decision:

Making The Move

When moving to Dubai expats should be prepared for a bit of a culture shock. Not only will the climate and humidity be a big change (particularly if you’re moving from the United Kingdom), but being surrounded by desert almost as far as the eye can see can be somewhat overwhelming at first.

If ever there was a need for air-conditioning, then it’s in Dubai! And with temperatures climbing to 45°C and beyond, you’ll be glad to know that the vast majority of restaurants, shopping malls, hotels, and public transportation are all kept suitably cool.

If you’re coming from the United Kingdom, you must make sure all relevant birth and marriage certificates are legalised by the UK Foreign Office, and that you have applied for the correct visa to ensure you are eligible to work in the UAE.

Meanwhile, Indians who choose to join over 2 million of their compatriots in the UAE have been issued guidelines by the Indian Embassy that are worth reviewing.

It’s also worth noting that you need to pay for all medical treatment in Dubai, so make sure your employer provides medical insurance. If medical insurance isn’t available, then you should apply for a health card, which will entitle you to cheaper treatment.

Living in Dubai

As you would expect, Dubai is a largely Islamic region. You’ll find a mosque in almost every district. It’s recommended that you leave yourself open to understanding the cultural and religious aspects of life in the Emirates. You should take the time to visit the Jumeirah Mosque to further this understanding once you have settled in Dubai.


When it comes to finding a place to live In Dubai, only legal residents are allowed to rent an apartment and have their utility services connected. If you are in the position of not having your residence permit, you should ask your employer to provide proof that it is currently being processed.

If you’re renting an apartment or villa, be sure to only use brokers and agents that are officially registered, with a license issued by the Department of Economic Development.

Once you’ve made it through the necessary regulations for living and working here (a bit more on that shortly), you can focus on enjoying your social life.

Leisure time in Dubai throws up all sorts of wonderful options, from beaches to ski slopes (yes, real snow!).

The best time to get outdoors in Dubai is during the winter, which is more akin to a mild-to-warm UK summer. Donning your bathing suit and making a splash at the Wild Wadi Waterpark is definitely recommended, while exploring the breathtaking Burj Khalifa is not to be missed.


Burj Khalifa Dubai

Dubai also boasts the second largest shopping mall in the entire world, The Dubai Mall. Here you can spend hours browsing a myriad of shops, take in a movie at its 22 screen cinema, and even get your skates on at its Olympic-sized ice rink.

Working in Dubai

Expats in Dubai will tell you that the work culture here is fiercely competitive, with long and often stressful hours. However that shouldn’t deter you, as the aforementioned perks to living here more than make up for it.

To work in Dubai, you must have a sponsor in order to receive a work permit. This sponsor is typically the company you will be working for. It is usually the case that expats moving to Dubai do so to work on a particular project, or have been transferred to a new branch office.

If you’re interested in working and living in Dubai you’ll be delighted to discover a vibrant and welcoming expat community, plenty of opportunities for professional development, and the added bonus of tax-free salaries.

Dubai is ready, so what are you waiting for? Start planning your move today.

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