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Working in Dubai
By: Rhiannon Williamson

Dubai in the United Arab Emirates is one of the world’s fastest growing employment hotspots in the world. Up to 20 new companies establish themselves in the emirate’s free trade zones every week and since 2002 some 650 companies have registered in the Dubai Media City free trade zone alone.

Particularly in the fields of tourism, IT, media and finance there are significant job opportunities for qualified personnel and if you’re interested in working in Dubai here’s a guide to employment in the most exciting, tax free, fastest growing multi cultural location in the world.

Yes, you heard me right, Dubai is tax free – if you live and work in the emirate your income will be paid to you gross and furthermore, if you buy a house to live in you will not be subject to property taxes because direct personal taxation is against the law in Dubai!

The emirate currently has 15 free trade zones and 7 more are in the planning stages. The free trade zones are where foreign businesses can establish themselves and grow without the restriction of corporate taxation for example and without having to submit to a local majority shareholding structure. As a direct result of all of the incentives offered to overseas businesses, take up in the free trade zones has been incredible and employment opportunities for foreign personnel are being created within them on a weekly basis.

To work in Dubai you require a work permit and a residency visa and the majority of employers arrange these for their expatriate work force when they appoint them. If you’re planning on traveling to Dubai to look for work you can enter the country on a temporary visa and then as soon as you secure employment you can apply for your work permit and visas. Rules relating to the period of time you can remain in the country on a temporary visa vary depending on the country you herald from and you should check with your local UAE embassy on rules that apply to you before you travel.

Most business in Dubai is done on a networking basis and so when you first arrive it can feel a little alien to have to immediately get out there and start introducing yourself to people. But don’t worry, you soon get used to it. Just make sure you have a pocketful of business cards to hand whenever you leave your accommodation as trading in business cards is the first step to successful networking!

Once you’ve settled into the different working hours in Dubai – many businesses close for a few hours in the afternoon and no local people take appointments on a Friday – and once you’ve settled into the fast pace of your social life you will begin to love your new surroundings. The quality of life achievable in Dubai for expatriates is quite possibly inimitable elsewhere as such emphasis has been placed on creating a paradise where foreign workers can work hard, play hard, live life to the full and experience everything in one day from skiing on an indoor slope to playing golf to diving to camel riding in the desert.

Expatriates make up 94% of the population in Dubai and as a direct result you can almost guarantee you’ll make friends very quickly and easily. The environment in Dubai is so multi cultural, open and free and there are a great deal of social clubs and events designed for people to meet up and make friends. These all help ease new residents into their brand new life. Everyone makes a great effort to get along in Dubai because they are all in the same boat together – working away from home but enjoying being in a country that offers first class business opportunities and a tax free lifestyle – could you ask for more?

About the author:
Rhiannon Williamson is a freelance writer whose many articles about living and working abroad have appeared in expatriate publications around the world.

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