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If you wish to transform your career, consider working in the UAE.
The experience will change your outlook, widen your horizons and help scale new peaks as a professional. You also have the benefit of tax free income, high standard of living and a secure environment. In fact, the UAE is ranked the No. 1 Middle Eastern country on the 2012 Prosperity Index and 29th globally.
Let’s take a closer look at this dynamic nation that ranks among the fastest growing economies in the world and preferred choice of those who wish to work abroad.
The UAE is located in the Middle East, on the Arabian Gulf between Oman, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar. The land area is around 80,000 sq. km. It has a population of approximately 8 million, with a significant proportion of expatriates originating from over 200 countries. The majority are from India, Pakistan, Philippines, UK and from neighbouring countries in the Middle East and Africa.
The UAE was founded on December 2, 1971 by the late His Highness Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahayan. The current president of the UAE is His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan. The UAE is a founding member of the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC).
The United Arab Emirates is made up of seven Emirates: Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ras al Khaimah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain, and Fujairah. The capital of the UAE is Abu Dhabi.
Arabic is the official language, and the country’s religion is Islam. Muslims pray five times a day based on the cycle of the sun.
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Muslim lunar calendar and is regarded as the holiest month of the year. Muslims believe that the Prophet Muhammad received his first revelations of the Quran during this period. From that time, Muslims have observed this occasion by forgoing food, water and other necessities during the day for the entire month as a mark of their faith.
The UAE is a country tolerant of other religions. You will find Christian churches, Hindu Temples and other places of worship.
UAE male nationals wear traditional attire known as khandora or dishdasha. UAE female nationals wear a black robe known as abaya, over their clothing, and cover their head with a scarf, known as shayla. Muslim expatriates often wear their native country’s traditional attire, while non-Muslim expatriates are dressed in western attire.
In respect to UAE culture and religion, expatriates are advised to dress conservatively.
It is important to know the proper method of greeting a person. You could start with saying assalam alaikum (peace be with you). The reply you hear would be walaikum salam (may peace be with you, too). Handshakes are normally only between men.
Hierarchy and respect are of utmost importance. You should be patient if a meeting extends longer than expected or postponed.
Expatriates should correctly spell and pronounce names and titles of their business partners. Abbreviations are considered rude and should be avoided.
The working week is from Sunday to Thursday, with Friday and Saturday as the weekend. Most offices observe a nine-hour work day with a break for lunch. Some private institutions choose to split the working hours from 8 am to 1 pm with an afternoon break, and resume work from 4 pm to 8 pm. Many Government agencies and banks close at 2.30 pm.
All expatriates living in the UAE, including expat spouses and children, must apply for a residence permit within 30 days of arrival. The permit is valid for 3 years.
Please remember that an expatriate is eligible for a residence visa only if employed by a company in the UAE or if they are dependents of an employee in the UAE. When expatriates are terminated for any reason, or if their contract ends, the residence permit becomes invalid and they would have to leave the UAE within a stipulated time.
If you are living in Dubai and wish to sponsor your family, you would require a rental contract executed in your name. The objective is to ensure that you are able to offer suitable accommodation to your family. Your application will also be taken into account if your rental contract is from a different emirate.
A number of institutions provide high quality education in the UAE. International schools offer a special curriculum and a Western environment for expat children. For higher education, private universities offer diverse courses for a multi cultural student body. Many are located at Knowledge Village and Academic City in Dubai and you will find other institutions across the emirates.
You are assured of high-quality medical care in the UAE. More than 26 hospitals and over 100 healthcare providers offer a wide range of medical services. The UAE also offers excellent maternal health services. With excellent immunization coverage, there are almost no outbreaks of children’s diseases. Polio has been eliminated completely in the region.
The Ministry of Health in the UAE and enforced by the UAE Ministry of Interior and International Narcotic Controlled Board (INCB) has a list of Controlled Medicines and Medications for all travellers to the UAE. Be aware that several prescription medications are banned, especially anything containing codeine or tamazepam. The UAE maintains a strict zero tolerance policy on recreational drugs and even microscopic amounts will be treated as a punishable offense.
Expatriates have a number of options for renting of property for their stay in the UAE. The rent would depend on the size of the accommodation, and the locality. Most apartments would be rented out as unfurnished. Those looking for furnished accommodation can choose to live in a serviced apartment. Please remember that it is against the law for multiple families to live in a single accommodation.
The best way to find accommodation is to look up the classifieds section of newspapers. Or you can get in touch with a real estate consultant or property developer who would assist you to find a home within your budget.
Getting around the UAE is an easy task given the excellent road and transportation network.
Public transport includes taxis, buses and the Metro train in Dubai. Expatriates from most countries have to take the local driving test if they wish to drive in the UAE. Traffic regulations are strictly enforced, and even small violations can lead to a fine.
Pedestrians are expected to follow road regulations and cross only in designated areas.
Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months before your arrival, and should have a minimum of 4 blank pages for entry/exit stamps.
Make sure you have all relevant certificates attested in your own country. For this, you would have to contact relevant authorities and the UAE embassy in your home country. Please also bring around 15 passport size photographs, essential for visa processing, medical test and driving licence application. Be sure to bring some photocopies of your passport.
Depending on your role and marital status, you are advised to bring necessary attested certificates. This could include: