Every year the United Arab Emirates attracts thousands of foreigners with its wonderfully warm weather, ideal beaches, staggering skyscrapers, and luxurious yet traditional oriental lifestyle. So what is it like to live in the UAE if you are a foreigner? Also, how does a foreigner go about relocating to the UAE? We have made sure to collect only the best advice and tips from expats who have already been living in the UAE for at least several years.
Table of contents:
- How to move to the United Arab Emirates
- Living in the Emirates: a look from the inside
- Moving to the UAE: pros and cons
- How do foreign pensioners live in the UAE?
- Moving to the UAE permanently
- How expats live in the UAE?
- Is it worth moving to the UAE?
- We will assist you to purchase an apartment in the United Arab Emirates
While the following advice and tips might not appeal to everyone, these recommendations are worth considering if you want to make your move to the UAE as hassle-free and smooth as possible.
So when moving for work, it is better to have your employment contract signed with the host company in advance. Alternatively, if you are looking for a job remotely, then ask the potential employer to e-mail you the employment contract in English and study it carefully. In addition, apart from mentioning the particulars of salary, the contract may also include other important details such as:
- Insurance for you and your family members (including any child/children).
- Paid plane tickets for a flight once a year abroad (round trip).
- Paid accommodation.
- Paid transportation services.
- Partial payment for children’s schooling.
However, it is important to note that these details may not be included in the employment contract. Therefore, make sure that you look through the contract in advance to properly plan your budget. For instance, doing this will help you to know whether you will be able to rent an apartment or not. Especially since renting a standard apartment with a kitchen, a bedroom, and a small living room in areas such as Abu Dhabi or Dubai will cost you at least between $1,000-$1,500 a month. So study the employment contract carefully and match the proposed terms with your needs accordingly.
Alternatively, if you decide to move to the UAE without a signed contract, make sure you have extra funds for at least three months in case of an emergency. Many expats say that having between $5,000-$6,000 is enough.
What is it like to live in the UAE if you are an expat? Also, what tips are there for those who are planning to move to the UAE?
The state is strictly in charge of monitoring and ensuring the public’s peace. So this is why there is almost no crime here and it’s one of the key advantages of living in this country. So if a foreigner happens to commit a fairly minor crime they can be fined, imprisoned, or deported with a life ban on entry. However, if a foreigner commits a very serious crime they can be sentenced to death.
What are some of the pros and cons of relocating to the UAE according to the expats?
- Well-develop and stable economy – this is one of the key factors and is a huge advantage of the UAE as it ensures a high standard of living. The prices for general services and everyday goods remain relatively stable. For example, food, clothing and footwear, gasoline, and even medical services are all relatively affordable since the exchange rate of the local currency has not changed for several years.
- Tax policy – this is another huge advantage for those who want to start their own business in the UAE. Also, only natural gas and oil companies, including financial institutions pay taxes here. So other companies and their employees are exempt from taxes.
- Well-paid job – for most residents of foreign countries, there is an opportunity to find a well-paid job in the UAE. Also, the average salary in 2020 was reported to be $5,000 per month.
- Healthcare system – the local government invests a lot of money in the healthcare system, which allows healthcare professionals to use the latest technologies in their work. As such, local medical care in the UAE is one of the best in the world. Plus, it is also free for UAE residents. What’s more, foreigners working in the country also have the right to use many services free of charge. Although, they are required to ensure that they get insurance every year.
- Level of crime – the UAE has officially been declared as one of the safest countries in the world. This is endorsed by the 2019 results that the American magazine "Global Finance" reported on when it found that the UAE was ranked number 21 and is top on this list of the safest countries. Furthermore, all of the streets in the cities are equipped with CCTV cameras that record any crimes or offenses committed. So here in the UAE, you don't have to worry that any of your forgotten things will be stolen or that your car will be stolen or scratched.
So while there are plenty of advantages when it comes to living in the UAE, what are the disadvantages?
- The hot weather can be a real disadvantage, especially for the majority of locals who are accustomed to a different climate. Expats from the northern countries might even find it difficult to live in such weather conditions. So the hot weather usually lasts for more than six months with the temperature remaining very high from April to November. Also, even though the beach season lasts all year round, the temperatures do make it rather uncomfortable as they easily soar above 24 degrees in January and December. So overall, the climate in the Emirates is still considered quite a significant disadvantage.
- Relatively high food prices are another considerable disadvantage. For instance, a kilogram of beef costs more than AED 70, which is the equivalent of $20. Whereas, in other countries, beef is considerably cheaper.
What is it like to live in the UAE when you’re a foreigner in retirement?
In the UAE, both men and women retire at the age of 60. Foreigners who have turned 60 on the other hand do not have the right to continue working in the country. That is why if you think that it is too early to retire, you can return to your homeland and continue working there or open your own business in the Emirates.
Furthermore, while there is no official pension system in the UAE for expats. are paid a bonus as employees It’s a so-called end-of-service payout. The size of this payout is calculated by multiplying their monthly salary by the duration they worked. Furthermore, in 2019, the Dubai government also introduced a special retirement visa scheme for expats. This means that those who are aged 55 and looking to retire in this wonderfully warm country can apply for a five-year retirement visa along with an opportunity to renew it should they meet certain requirements.
To move to the United Arab Emirates, you need to apply for a long-term visa or a residence permit. And since there are several types of residence permits available it is up to you to decide which one is most suitable for you to apply for. Below are some visas that will allow you to relocate to the UAE and they include:
- A marriage visa (if you are going to marry a UAE resident).
- A student visa for studying at one of the local universities.
- A work visa (applying through a registered employer in the UAE).
- A residence permit by business investment (launching your own business).
In addition, you can also obtain a residence permit via property investment. For example, if you purchase a property in the UAE that costs over AED 1,000,000, you can directly apply for a three-year residence visa in Dubai and a six-month visa in any other emirate.
Alternatively, if you’re looking to purchase a house in either Dubai or Abu Dhabi, it would be better to contact a real estate agency. These experienced professionals will guide you through the whole process from start to finish. They will introduce you to a wide selection of properties for sale, help you find the best solution matching your requirements, arrange paperwork, and manage the property transaction.
There are plenty of expats living in the UAE. In fact, the population is made up of between 85%-90% of expats. Many of them choose to live in the UAE because they do not like the climate in their own home countries with hot summers, cold winters, and rainy seasons. Another reason why foreigners choose the United Arab Emirates is because of its affordable yet luxurious lifestyle. It doesn’t hurt either that the country boasts some of the world’s most ideal beaches, well-paid jobs and a low level of crime.
Today, you can find plenty of helpful and encouraging reviews from expats from all over the world on what it’s like to live in the UAE.
There’s no doubt that living in the UAE is a truly unique experience. What’s more, purchasing a property in the Emirates will allow you the enjoy this experience to its fullest.
Many expats say that they got used to the new country very quickly, feel safe there and enjoy working in top-notch companies and launch their own start-up businesses.
Find your dream apartment in the UAE at Emirates.Estate. Not only will we assist you to select the best house in the UAE, but we will also arrange all of the necessary paperwork and manage the whole property transaction for you. So if you’re looking for a reliable and reputable real estate agency that can assist you with the whole process, get in touch with us today!