Living and working in Dubai

Author Charlotte Hamlet
July 3, 2023

Is Dubai a good place to work and live?

Dubai can be a good place to work and live, depending on your personal preferences and circumstances. The city offers a high standard of living, with modern infrastructure, excellent healthcare facilities, and a vibrant cultural scene. The cost of living can be high, but salaries are generally competitive, and there are many job opportunities across various sectors.

Dubai’s work culture is highly professional, with a focus on punctuality and respect for hierarchy. English is widely spoken, making it easy for expats to communicate in the workplace. However, the city’s rapid pace of development can sometimes result in long working hours and a demanding work environment.

Dubai’s lifestyle offers a blend of modernity and tradition, with a variety of leisure activities, cultural attractions, and excellent dining options. The city has world-class shopping malls, stunning beaches, and a diverse expat community. However, it is important to note that Dubai is an Islamic country with strict laws and customs, and expats are expected to respect local traditions and customs.

Overall, Dubai can be a good place to work and live, but it is important to do your research, weigh the pros and cons, and consider your personal preferences and circumstances before making a decision.

What’s the cost of living to live comfortably in Dubai?

To live comfortably in Dubai, you should expect to spend at least AED 10,000 to AED 15,000 per month on basic expenses such as accommodation, food, transportation, and utilities. This is just a general estimate, and your actual cost of living can vary depending on your lifestyle and preferences.

How much is healthcare in Dubai?

There is no income tax in the UAE though some countries require their citizens to pay tax on earnings abroad, with USA being a prime example. A 5% sales tax is charged on all products and services however. Given the low tax regime healthcare and education are entirely private. To that end employers are required to provide private medical insurance to employees though it is worth checking the specifics of this and whether it covers any dependents. Healthcare facilities in the UAE are very modern and healthcare professionals from all over the world work in the country.

How is education/school like in Dubai?

Schools in Dubai are of a very high quality and there is a wide array of international schools. Several websites provide detailed information on the application process and fees including Typically schools at primary charge AED 40,000 and at secondary stage charge around AED 70,000 per year.

Food cost in Dubai per month

The cost of food in Dubai can vary depending on your dietary preferences, where you shop, and whether you eat out frequently or cook at home. As a rough estimate, a single person can expect to spend around AED 1,000 to AED 1,500 per month on groceries.

If you prefer to eat out, the cost of dining in Dubai can vary widely depending on the type of restaurant and cuisine you choose. A typical meal at a mid-range restaurant can cost around AED 50 to AED 100 per person, while a fast-food meal can cost around AED 25 to AED 30. Fine dining restaurants can cost significantly more, with a meal for two at a high-end restaurant costing around AED 500 to AED 1,000.

Average rent in Dubai per month

Most people in Dubai rent property although expatriates are able to buy property too. Rents in Dubai are higher than most other countries and usually you are required to pay at least 3 months’ rent up front (some employers will loan employees this money interest free). Prices vary dependant on the area that the property is located with popular areas for western expats being the Marina, JLT, JBR and Downtown for apartments. Whilst prices vary, a 1-bedroom apartment in these areas would typically be AED 70,000 to 85,000 a year with a 2 bedroom closer to AED 90,000 to 120,000. There are also a number of communities of villas in Dubai these are often located close to schools and are popular with expat families. Prices here vary dramatically depending on the size of the property, the community and the location.

What is a good salary in Dubai for one person

The cost of living in Dubai can be quite high, so what constitutes a “good salary” for one person can vary depending on factors such as lifestyle, accommodation, and other expenses. However, as a rough guideline, a salary of around AED 10,000 to AED 15,000 per month can be considered a good salary for a single person in Dubai, as it would allow for basic expenses such as accommodation, food, transportation, and utilities, with some room for discretionary spending.

How to live in Dubai permanently

To live in Dubai permanently, you will need to obtain a residency visa. There are several ways to do this, including:

1.     Employment: You can obtain a residency visa through employment by securing a job offer from a Dubai-based employer. Your employer will sponsor your visa, and you will need to provide the necessary documentation, such as your passport and educational qualifications.

2.     Property investment: You can also obtain a residency visa by investing in property in Dubai. If you invest in property worth over AED 1 million, you can apply for a renewable residency visa.

3.     Business ownership: If you own a business in Dubai, you can obtain a residency visa through the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA). You will need to provide proof of your business ownership and meet certain other requirements.

Once you obtain a residency visa, you will need to renew it periodically to maintain your status as a permanent resident. Additionally, there are certain rules and regulations that you will need to comply with to live in Dubai, such as obtaining health insurance and following local customs and laws.

What are the disadvantages of working in Dubai?

Working in Dubai can have its challenges and disadvantages, which can vary depending on personal circumstances and preferences. Some potential disadvantages of working in Dubai may include:

1.     High cost of living: The cost of living in Dubai can be quite high, and it can be challenging to maintain a comfortable standard of living on a lower salary.

2.     Cultural differences: Dubai has a unique culture, and it may take time to adjust to the local customs and way of life. Additionally, there may be restrictions on certain activities and behaviours that are common in other parts of the world.

3.     Weather: The weather in Dubai can be quite extreme, with hot and humid summers and mild winters.

Hence, it’s important to carefully consider the potential challenges and disadvantages of working in Dubai before making the decision to relocate.

Living in Dubai as a woman

Living in Dubai as a woman can be quite different from living in other parts of the world, as the city has a unique culture and social norms. Some key aspects to consider include:

1.     Dress code: Women are expected to dress modestly in public, which typically means covering the shoulders and knees. It’s important to be respectful of local customs and dress appropriately.

2.     Safety: Dubai is generally considered a safe city for women, with low levels of crime. However, it’s still important to take precautions and be aware of your surroundings, particularly when traveling alone at night.

3.     Gender segregation: In some areas of Dubai, there may be gender segregation, such as separate areas for men and women in public spaces. It’s important to be aware of local customs and respect these practices.

Overall, living in Dubai as a woman can be a unique and rewarding experience, but it’s important to be respectful of local customs and be aware of the potential challenges and cultural differences.

What are the most common jobs in Dubai?

Dubai offers a diverse range of job opportunities across various industries. Some of the most common and sought-after job sectors in Dubai include accounting and finance, engineering, sales and marketing, hospitality and IT.

Accounting and finance: Dubai’s status as a major business hub has created a strong demand for professionals in accounting and finance. Roles such as accountants, financial analysts, auditors and financial managers are frequently available in both local and multinational companies.

Engineering: Dubai’s rapid growth and development have resulted in numerous engineering opportunities. Civil engineers, mechanical engineers, electrical engineers and architectural professionals are in high demand to support the construction and infrastructure projects in the city.

Sales and marketing: With a thriving economy and a dynamic business environment, Dubai offers a wide range of sales and marketing positions. Sales representatives, marketing executives, brand managers and digital marketing specialists are essential to drive business growth and market expansion.

Hospitality: As a global tourism and business destination, Dubai boasts a vibrant hospitality industry. Job opportunities in this sector encompass hotel management, food and beverage services, event planning, tourism management, and customer service roles.

IT: Dubai’s focus on technological advancement and innovation has created a burgeoning IT sector. IT professionals, software engineers, network administrators, cybersecurity specialists, and data analysts are in high demand to support the digital transformation initiatives of various industries.

These job sectors provide diverse career prospects and opportunities for both experienced professionals and individuals starting their careers. With a wide range of industries and multinational companies present in Dubai, the city continues to attract professionals from around the world seeking challenging and rewarding employment opportunities.

Most in-demand jobs in UAE

Digital marketing and business development roles within the crypto space are currently in high demand in Dubai. The increasing prominence of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology has created numerous opportunities for professionals with expertise in this field.

Some of the key job positions in digital marketing and business development within the crypto space include:

Head of Digital: This strategic role involves overseeing the overall digital marketing initiatives and strategies within the crypto industry. The Head of Digital is responsible for driving online presence, customer acquisition and brand awareness through various digital channels.

Digital Marketing Manager: A Digital Marketing Manager in the crypto space handles the planning, execution and optimisation of digital marketing campaigns. This includes utilising social media platforms, search engine optimization (SEO), content marketing, email marketing and other digital channels to promote crypto products or services.

Social Media Manager or Head of Social: Given the importance of social media in reaching and engaging with audiences, companies operating in the crypto space often seek professionals who can effectively manage and leverage social media platforms. Social Media Managers or Heads of Social are responsible for developing social media strategies, creating engaging content, managing online communities and monitoring social media performance.

Additionally, the crypto industry also creates job opportunities in other sectors such as IT, property and construction, sales, and marketing. IT professionals with skills in blockchain technology, smart contracts and cybersecurity are highly sought after. Property and construction companies may require professionals familiar with the application of blockchain in real estate transactions. Sales and marketing professionals with knowledge of cryptocurrencies and blockchain can help drive the adoption and usage of crypto-related products and services.

These roles indicate the growing significance of the crypto industry in Dubai and the demand for skilled professionals who can navigate the complexities of digital marketing, business development and technology within this emerging field.

What are some good places to live in Dubai?

Dubai offers a diverse range of options to suit different lifestyles and budgets. Whether you seek the luxurious skyscrapers of Business Bay or the more affordable villas in Damac Hills 2, there is something for everyone. We have curated a list of top picks in various areas, tailored to different demographics. One important factor to consider is whether you plan to buy or rent a car, as this will expand your options for places to live. However, if private transportation is not a priority for you, it is essential to ensure easy access to a reliable metro or bus network, which will facilitate convenient travel across Dubai.

Best area to live in Dubai for couples

If you’re looking to experience the vibrant Dubai lifestyle portrayed across media platforms, with abundant socialising opportunities and convenient access to the city’s top attractions, the ideal areas for you are Downtown Dubai (including Business Bay and DIFC), Marina, Palm or Jumeirah.

However, if you prefer a more serene environment and enjoy a relaxed lifestyle, areas such as The Greens, Dubai Hills, Mirdif or Jumeirah are easily accessible while offering a bit more distance from the bustling city centre.

Best area to live in Dubai for singles

If your preference is to reside in a location that provides proximity to abundant amenities and a vibrant community of single expatriates, the top choices would be Marina, JBR and Business Bay. These areas offer convenient access through public transportation and boast a vibrant nightlife scene right at your doorstep.

Affordable places to live in Dubai

If affordability is what you’re looking for, you may need to explore areas slightly farther from the city centre, which can be easily reached by a short car or public transport ride. Discovery Gardens, Oud Mehta, Silicon Oasis, JVC and JVT are all viable options that offer a range of housing choices, including a mix of newer and older buildings to suit your preferences. Over the past five years, JVC and JVT have experienced significant development and are now host to some of Dubai’s newest and emerging restaurants, adding to their appeal.

Best place for family in Dubai

While all the previously mentioned locations are suitable for families, if you specifically seek family-oriented areas, we highly recommend The Palm Jumeirah, Emirates Living (including The Springs, The Lakes or The Meadows) or Jumeirah Park. These communities provide excellent amenities and a family-friendly environment. Additionally, if you are open to exploring communities located a bit further away, Arabian Ranches, Mudon, Town Square, Mira and Tilal Al Ghaf are all thoughtfully developed with families in mind. These areas feature community water parks, expansive playing fields, and various family-friendly amenities to enhance your living experience.

In conclusion

Dubai offers a vibrant and dynamic lifestyle for both residents and expatriates. With its booming economy, world-class infrastructure and diverse cultural scene, it is an attractive destination for individuals looking to live and work in the Middle East.  

If you’re considering relocating to Dubai or need assistance in building out your team, our team is here to help. With our extensive knowledge and experience in the local market, we can provide valuable support and guidance throughout the relocation and recruitment process. Contact the team today to make your transition to Dubai a seamless and successful one.

Jobs in the UAE

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