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Working And Living as An Expat in The UAE - Top 8 Tips to Consider

Living and working in the UAE as an expat can be a unique and exciting experience. It is a rapidly growing country that offers many opportunities for professionals looking to build their careers. Expats come from all over the world to live and work in the UAE, and the country's diverse culture and modern amenities make it a popular destination.

However, living and working in the UAE as an expat can also come with its own set of challenges. For example, the local culture and customs may be different from what expats are used to, and the high cost of living in some areas can be a concern for those on a tight budget. However, despite these challenges, many expats find that living and working in the UAE is a rewarding experience. The country's booming economy, tax-free income, and modern infrastructure make it a dream destination.

Here are our 8 top tips to consider when living and working in the UAE:

  1. Visa requirements: As an expat, you will need a valid visa to live and work in the UAE. There are different types of visas available depending on your purpose of visit, and the process can take a few weeks to complete. It is important to ensure that you have the correct visa before entering the country.

  2. Cost of living: The cost of living in the UAE can be quite high, especially in cities like Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Housing, transportation, and food expenses can add up quickly, so it is important to budget accordingly. Numbeo is a brilliant site to help you assess your expenses.

  3. Cultural norms: The UAE is a conservative country with strong Islamic traditions, and expats should be aware of cultural norms and customs. While laws have relaxed over the years, there are still specific areas that require a dress code, such as governmental buildings.

  4. Language: Although Arabic is the official language of the UAE, English is mostly spoken as the majority of the population comprises expats. 

  5. Working hours: The standard work week has shifted from Sunday to Thursday, to a global workweek from Monday to Friday. According to labour law, private sector workers are required to work 8 hours per day or 48 hours per week. As a bonus, employers are required by law to provide their employees with at least 30 days of annual leave.

  6. Taxation: There is no personal income tax in the UAE which makes it a great place to live, work and invest for those looking to maximise their earnings.

  7. Healthcare: The UAE has a good standard of healthcare, with both public and private options available. Expats are required to have private health insurance. It is very important to get one as soon as possible as you are not able to immigrate without it. Medical costs can be very expensive, so it is important to ensure you have a solid healthcare plan.

  8. Safety: The UAE is generally a very safe country, with low levels of crime. However, expats should take the usual precautions to ensure their safety and security.

Overall, living and working in the UAE as an expat can be a challenging but rewarding experience. With the right preparation and mindset, expats can thrive in this dynamic and exciting country.