Moving from the UK to Dubai: 5 things to consider before you go

If you’re fed up with the drudgery of everyday life in your current city or town, then the desire to find greener pastures can be strong. Work-related reasons remain the biggest complaint among UK citizens who have emigrated outside the country.

The lack of good job prospects, unfair pay for work performed or just the obscenely long commute to work are all major reasons for wanting to leave. Those who are looking for better opportunities – along with much more favourable weather – have probably considered Dubai as their ultimate destination.

DubaiBefore you decide to move to Dubai, however, here are some things that you need to know about life and culture there.

Career opportunities abound

If the jobs available to you at home just aren’t getting you where you want to be, you may find better opportunities abroad. Promoted as the economic hub of the United Arab Emirates, Dubai offers many positions that span a plethora of industries, including some of the largest global corporations. Employment is everything here: you will not be allowed residence if you don’t meet their income criteria. Without a job, you may find that your permits and visas are revoked – or you could be arrested and even thrown in jail.

Employers looking for talented individuals are more than willing to assist with sponsorship and helping you obtain all needed permits to live and work for them. Dubai recruitment agencies are quite common as well and can help you find the right job before making the big move. If you’re used to paying high income taxes at home, then you will be pleasantly surprised to know that Dubai does not impose personal taxes, allowing for a potentially greater net income.

Great (or miserable) Dubai weather year-round

The tropical climate of Dubai can be an absolute shock to those used to the cooler climate found in the UK. Summer months in the region can see temperatures as high as 45°C, with extremely high humidity accompanying the heat. Winter in Dubai is a relatively pleasant affair, with temperatures rarely dipping below 19°C in the coldest month of January. Close proximity to the ocean lends to the oppressive humidity in the territory, reaching 60% or more for much of the year.

The white sand beaches that stretch along the Persian Gulf are some of the most luxurious coastlines found anywhere in the world. Extending beyond the beautiful beaches, clear turquoise waters stretch out as far as the eye can see. Water temperatures are pleasantly warm as well, allowing the ocean lover to play in the waves year-round.

Cultural differences

Hopefully you have a mind that is willing to be open and accepting of different cultural norms, and ready to integrate them into your life. Otherwise, you may experience some hardship living abroad. As a predominately Muslim country, you will have to come to terms with the culture of Dubai to fit in accordingly. Though you will not be required to dress in adherence with Islam or abstain from various foods and beverages, be prepared to be awoken by early morning calls to prayer blasted over loudspeaker throughout the city.

The sights are quite different from home as well. Traditional dress is common and proudly worn by both men and women. Business suits don’t fare well in the extreme heat found in Dubai, so airy and loose-fitting clothing reigns supreme. Though Dubai is more liberal than other Emirate nations, a dress code is still in effect. It is generally advised to keep everything from the shoulder to below the knee covered to avoid any offences, whether they be legal or social.

Applying for residence in Dubai

Residence status in Dubai may be more difficult to obtain than other popular emigration destinations due to the high requirements and cost, but employers are willing to assist. It is very unlikely that you will ever be granted naturalised citizenship, so you will have to remain commercially viable for your entire stay or risk being thrown out of the state. Before you make a big decision, make sure you’re with a reputable and well-established company working in a field in which you’re skilled. Job-hopping can be a first-class ticket back home, so be sure you’re comfortable in your new job before making a commitment.

Taxes and cost of living in Dubai

Minimal income and sales tax are a big reason so many have relocated to Dubai, allowing workers to pocket more of what they earn, though the money saved on taxes may pale in comparison to the cost of rent, medical care or educating your children. If you’re used to paying high rates for housing in larger cities like London, your rent may be comparable in Dubai to what you’re paying now. Schools are reserved for citizens only: something an expat will likely never obtain, so be prepared to pay to educate your children if you bring them along.

Those looking for all the trappings and modern conveniences the world has to offer should look no further than Dubai. The tax haven that the government has established has led to massive wealth for the area, and many industries have flocked to Dubai as a central hub for all operations in the Middle East.