It’s been a while everyone!
Today I am going to be writing about something which I have been promising to write about for well over a year. I know, I know. I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to get this one together but you kind of have to be in the right MOOD for this and today I am. This may be due to the fact that it has been dull and grey for the last 4 days in a row in Dubai and this NEVER happens. I have been struggling to find things to do other than watch Netflix, go out for lunch and nap for no reason. I’m one of those people that feels guilty when I am not doing something productive every day so here I am forcing myself to finally write this post.
I moved to Dubai with my husband on the 20th of August 2015 and today on the 14th of February 2017, I can safely say that it was the best decision we ever made. Happy Valentine’s Day by the way – think my husband and I are one of the few couples who don’t really believe in this day but I know lots of you love it so hope you were spoilt rotten nonetheless!
Ever since I got here, lots of you guys have asked for advice on how to make the move and whether we would recommend it so I’m going to try and give you my honest opinion and some general pointers.
Now, everyone wants to know the secret behind how we did it and how you too can get a job in Dubai and start a new life out here. Well, you’re not going to like this one but there is no secret I’m afraid. We literally did all our own research online, applied for endless jobs via the internet and hoped for the best. I will post the websites that you can search for jobs on at the end of this post.
People often ask why we moved out here and there are a number of reasons which applied to us personally but I am going to list some of the most common reasons which entice expats to the UAE.
- Tax free salaries – more on this later!
- Amazing weather all year round with literally a handful of days of no sunshine each year
- A liberal Muslim country. Everything is halal and you have mosques at your doorsteps but the rest of your lifestyle will be pretty similar to the west
- UAE is literally in the centre of the world so you can travel to different countries while you are here for cheaper than your home country
- Great lifestyle – more family time, a great place for children
- People from all over the world live here and everyone gets on nicely
- Low crime rates and generally a very safe place to stay. Absolutely safe for single women to stay here on their own!
- An exciting place to live where you can face new challenges and try new things
Okay, so these are probably the most common ones that I think most people who moved to Dubai thought about. What I have noticed from the emails and messages that I get is that some of you (just some, not all) haven’t really looked into moving abroad in great detail and simply like the idea of moving abroad. I know my pictures and Snapchats make it all seem super glamorous (which it is) but please think about what is right for you before you make the move. I highly recommend it and think it was the best thing we ever did but there are a few things that you should be aware of before you do.
Be realistic about working life in Dubai
People often think that a move to Dubai will mean less working hours, more money and less stress. There may be people who have experienced this but my personal experience is that don’t come to Dubai if you are looking for an easy ride work wise. Yes, your take home salary will be higher each month than your home country because there is no income tax but you will be expected to work hard. As you should be! Every single professional I know out here works extremely hard and the working life I would say is pretty much the same as it was in the UK. Every job comes with positives and stresses so just be aware that jobs aren’t any easier out here than they are in the UK for example. If you are ready to work hard then good, start applying! Just don’t think you will come to Dubai and be paid more to work less. However, I would definitely say I have more of a work-life balance out here and get more time to enjoy myself. I did have this vision of me hitting the beach after work every day when I moved to Dubai and I chuckle to myself as I type this. I think all Dubai ex-pats will agree with me that this rarely ever happens. We do hit the beach at the weekend and that is definitely a plus.
It is better to arrive here with a job secured
Come to Dubai with a job and employment package secured because once you get here it may be much more difficult to get a job. With my husband and me, we both started applying for jobs around 6 months before we got here. I managed to secure employment but he didn’t. We then had the difficult decision to make of whether we wanted to take that risk and move to a foreign country with just one of us working. In hindsight, we took a massive risk (one that paid off eventually) and this is not something which will appeal to everyone. Thankfully, my husband was extremely supportive and said that had he been the one to secure the job first I would have left my job in the UK for him so why couldn’t he do the same? It helped that we were given accommodation with my job so I guess that pushed us to just take the risk and see what would happen! Well, what happened wasn’t the most positive and I’m afraid you won’t like this next part. It took Atteeq 9 months to get the job that he wanted within his field. When we got out here, the market for jobs wasn’t great. Is it ever these days?! Atteeq’s background is in IT and we found that although there were lots of jobs within the IT field, they either all wanted 10+ years of experience or the jobs went to people from other countries who would do the same job for a fraction of the pay that someone from Britain would get. He went for endless interviews, applied consistently but after months still had nothing. I’m sure you can imagine how soul destroying this was for a very proud man who up until this point was working in a very good job. One of the things to note is that he was repeatedly told he didn’t have enough experience – when you are 26 the maximum experience you will have is 4 years out of university? So, I would say you have more chances of landing a good job and better package if you have 10+ years of xperience in your field. In addition, the process of gaining employment is much slower out here and it can take weeks before your first interview to actually signing a contract. Just be aware of this. Having said that – we know other people that came out here in a similar situation to us and managed to get a job within a couple of months! It literally is your luck but it helps if you know people out here who can put in a good word for you. We didn’t know anybody and so after a few months of searching and not having much luck, Atteeq took on a job which wasn’t within his field but kept him busy and got him out the house at least! Finally, 9 months after we first got here he found a job within his specialism and is now very happy. Alhumdulillah. I don’t want to put anyone off here and please don’t feel like that’s what I am trying to do. I just want to make you aware that you might have looked at me when I first moved to Dubai and thought that my life looked perfect and that you too wanted that life. I am only going to share the good part of my life on my social media because nobody wants to hear you moan eh? But, now I am telling you that for the first 9 months of our time here we went through a really tough and testing time. Of course we came out of it stronger and Atteeq’s patience and hard work paid off. He got a job in a foreign country without any one’s recommendation and purely on his merit. But, that took time and I know that not every person could wait that long. My biggest piece of advice to a couple who both work would be to try and secure jobs before you come out here and if you don’t be prepared for the whole process to take months. Don’t let that put you off but just please be aware of this. I think we were a little naïve in thinking it would take a maximum of three months for Atteeq to get a job but you live and learn eh!
Dubai is expensive
Once again, this is just me making you aware of this because of the somewhat idealistic emails I have been getting where some people are thinking you will come to Dubai and be rolling in it! Sadly, no. Don’t get me wrong, if you can secure accommodation in your package then you are on to a winner! You will find your monthly salary does look higher because of the no tax but just remember that Dubai is an expensive place and living costs are fairly high out here. Part of Dubai life is the socialising and that requires spending a fair amount. In general, we found everything to be more expensive when we first got here in comparison to the UK and it takes a while before you stop converting everything to pounds! Don’t expect to save anything for the first few months while you settle in and find your feet in a new country. Now, you can absolutely come out here as a single person or a young couple and save money whilst doing things at the weekend and taking nice holidays too. There’s no reason why that shouldn’t happen! I often do get emails from mums too who have children that would be coming out too and that is a different matter which I probably am not too much help with. School fees are pretty high over here so another thing to consider if you are a parent. However, I always say this to people and I will say it here. The lifestyle that children have out here is pretty amazing and I think Dubai is a great place for children to grow up in.
Dubai has its own rules and regulations which may be different to what you are used to
On the whole I find that my day to day life is pretty much the same as it was in the UK but there are certain things that are different. Every country has its own laws and rules and it does annoy me sometimes that people come out here without having done enough research on the place. Just research everything before you come out to stop you from getting on the wrong side of the law! Having said that, no matter how much you research online – there are still certain things you will only know about when you get here. One of the funniest stories I have from when we first got out here is Atteeq being out and about searching for jobs during week 1 while I was at work and sending me panicked messages that he had nearly been arrested. Did you know that the Dubai Metro has a Gold section where you have to buy a more expensive ticket to be seated in the more quiet and luxurious area? Well, poor Atteeq didn’t. On top of that he was chewing gum while sitting in the Gold section with his standard ticket. Another no no on the metro. Of course, nobody had told us about these two things so Atteeq got into a little bit of trouble but admitted his mistake and ended up having to only pay one fine instead of two for being honest and for co-operating! I always laugh when he retells this story because it is actually hilarious. But, my point is – you don’t move to a new country without first knowing about the big things that are different in it from what you have been used to in the country you have lived in your entire life. The little stuff? Well, you will just find that out as you go along. Tip: don’t chew gum on the metro.
Be prepared to feel homesick and even a little lonely!
I made friends straight away because I started working straight away but I do know other girls that came out here with no jobs whilst their husbands went out to work and they had a very different experience. Don’t panic – you WILL make friends! In fact, your friends become your family out here and everyone looks after one another. But, it may take some time. People often ask me what is missing from Dubai and I always say just one thing; family. Dubai is an amazing place to live – I say this from the bottom of my heart! But, your family is your family and they won’t come out here with you so be prepared to miss them and feel a little lonely sometimes. It’s just natural. Nevertheless, you will ALWAYS have visitors. One of the things about living in Dubai is, there’s always someone or the other visiting from home. Even people who would never make the effort to see you back home seem to get in touch to meet up but that’s okay, it’s just Dubai life.
I really hope this has helped some of you. I know some of this may be so obvious but I just wanted you all to know that if you want to come out here then do it! Do your research, apply online and what’s the worst that can happen?
Top websites to apply for jobs in the UAE:
LinkedIn – People always said to Atteeq to apply on LinkedIn and he took this with a pinch of salt but believe it or not he finally got the job he is currently in on there!
I would also look into some of the best companies in Dubai for your specific field, go on their website and send your CV to their HR department. Everything you would do in your own country to get the perfect job – just do the same to get a job out here. If you are coming to Dubai anyway for a holiday and are interested in making the move then why not set up some meetings just to get a feel of what it would be like to work out here?
To summarise, I love living in Dubai and cannot recommend it enough. As long as you don’t come out here with a fairy tale notion and know about some of the things I have mentioned above you will be absolutely fine! Good luck!
Please let me know in the comments section if you found this helpful and whether you are thinking about making the move too. I’m currently working on a piece about the best things to do in Dubai on holiday so let me know if there’s anything specific you want me to cover in that one. I know that’s one that has been highly requested!
Before I go, here’s some outfit inspiration for you guys in front of the Dubai skyline at the Dubai Creek Harbour this weekend!
Jacket – H&M
Jeans – Topshop
Shoes – Faith (Debenhams)
Necklace – Miss Selfridge Love,