Working in Dubai

Want to work in a vibrant and multicultural city…with completely tax-free income? Try Dubai…

Dubai’s status as the meeting point of global business makes it a unique place to live and work. The combination of east and west gives residents the opportunity to meet people from around the world, enjoy a vast variety of shops and bars, and earn a lucrative salary – while also unearthing a rich culture and history.

Here’s everything you need to know about living and working in Dubai:


About Dubai

Dubai is the largest and most populous city in the UAE, with a population of around 2.5million.

The working week is slightly different to the UK, running from Sunday to Thursday, with most businesses and shops being open six days a week. And, when it comes to working hours, they’re designed with Dubai’s searing midday heat in mind.

You should expect to be in the office from 8am to 1pm before taking a three-hour break until 4pm. Then, you’ll return to work until 7pm.


Companies in Dubai

Although Dubai’s wealth has been drawn from the oil industry, support for business innovation and technology has turned it into an attractive haven for some of the world’s leading corporations and tech businesses.

As a result, it’s home to major names such as United Foods, Microsoft, Emirates Investment Bank, Microsoft, Estee Lauder, Marriot and Alliance Insurance.

In fact, the city brings in huge numbers of white collar professionals from around the world. Aside from oil and gas, some of the top industries in Dubai include:

  • Finance
  • Technology
  • Logistics
  • Hospitality
  • Security
  • Tourism
  • Real estate
  • Construction

Teaching jobs in Dubai are also vast, with English Teachers and TEFL position particularly sought after.

If you’re looking to work in the city, there are a number of recruitment agencies in Dubai that cater specifically to skilled labourers – and getting in touch with them directly will help you find out what roles are on offer.

View all jobs in Dubai


Graduate jobs in Dubai

As the working landscape has moved away from construction and oil and gas over the years, the outlook for graduates has become extremely promising.

There are now well-paid graduate jobs in Dubai almost every industry, with STEM employers, and those in the accounting, finance and hospitality industries in particular actively seeking out young talent from around the world.

So whatever your degree, there’s a chance you’ll be in demand.

View all graduate jobs in Dubai


Dubai work visa

In order to obtain a work visa in Dubai, you must secure a job in the country first. However, once this is done, the process is relatively easy.

The type of visa you get will depend on your circumstances, and will affect how long you’re able to stay in the country. Available visas include:

Valid for one year: Domestic Help, Student.

Valid for two years: Employment, Family.

Valid for (up to) three years: Investors.

In most cases, your employer will sort out the details of your work visa and cover any costs. However, you will have to supply the following:

  • An application form
  • Several passport-sized photos
  • Both an original and a copy of your passport
  • A copy of a valid company card
  • The company’s valid commercial licence
  • An employment permit issued by the Ministry of Labour
  • An application fee

Before you receive your work visa, you will also have to undergo a health check and apply for a work permit (although the latter is usually organised by your employer).


Earning in Dubai

The average salary is usually around £30,000 a year (143,000 AED) – but will vary greatly depending on the job you have, and your level of experience.

For example, a Project Engineer can expect to earn around £30,000 per annum, whilst an Accountant could earn an average of £15,000 (143,000 AED) depending on their level.

The good news, though, is that any income you earn will be tax free.


Living in Dubai

Dubai is an extremely cosmopolitan city, with a population of at least 200 nationalities.

In fact, around 80% of its inhabitants made up of expats – and English is the most widely spoken language.

With a myriad of luxury high-rises, man-made islands, prestigious hotels, and a whole host of malls, shops, restaurants, and bars, Dubai offers a distinct and lavish lifestyle. But whilst it embraces modernism, it still has strong ties to its Islamic culture and heritage.

Cost of living

The cost of living can vary considerably depending on the area you choose to live in.

The Marina, Old Town, and Palm Jumeirah Beach are amongst the most popular areas for expats, but are also extremely expensive. Rent here could be anything up to £30,000 annually.

However, if you don’t mind traveling to nearby areas such as Mirdif or Sharjah, rent could be around half that figure.


If you have children, you’ll also have to consider the cost of private schooling – as government schools are only available to Emiratis.

The price of this varies greatly, ranging from £500 to £24,000 per annum.


When it comes to transportation, you’re in luck.

The cost of cars and fuel in Dubai is much lower than that of Europe and Asia, and the Dubai metro offers a clean, affordable, and reliable way to travel.


Benefits of working and living in Dubai

Dubai is a great place to live and work for a number of reasons.

Some of the key benefits of working in Dubai include:

  • Tax-free income
  • Luxury homes and gardens
  • A vast selection of amenities
  • Vibrant nightlife
  • Good healthcare system
  • A rich and diverse culture
  • The ability to build your own business tax-free


How to get a job in Dubai

Ready to plan your move? Here are our top tips on finding work in Dubai:

  1. Figure out what you want to do. Where do your skills and experience lie? Are there jobs in your chosen industry? Is the average salary in line with your preferred lifestyle?
  2. Update your CV. Ensure you’re clear about your intention to relocate in your CV and cover letter, letting employers know you’re looking for visa sponsorship.
  3. Research companies in Dubai. Do your research into the biggest organisations in Dubai, their company culture, reputation, and more – and check if they’re hiring.
  4. Search on job sites. Many UK based job sites (hint: we know a good one) advertises for international roles, making it the perfect place to find work in Dubai.
  5. Contact Recruitment Consultants. Getting in touch with recruitment agencies in Dubai before you leave is a great way to get the ball rolling on your search for work.
  6. Network. Make use of any contacts you already have in Dubai, as knowing someone within an organisation is likely to put you in good stead for landing a job there. You can also network online, by joining online communities and social networks.



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