Vous êtes sur la page 1sur 9

How to get "Job in Dubai:" : A step by step guide for Professionals Especially

October 13, 2012 at 11:37am

Asalam- o- alay Qum!

I am writing this article which is based on my personal experiences, queries, etc.
Tips for working and finding work in Dubai Ive put the following list of tips/ odds and ends together for anyone wanting to work, or currently looking for
work in Dubai/ UAE based on my past experience. Its by no means complete, and I will answer and include good comments or postings if I feel they
are valid and add to the content of the post.
I have tried to put as much general information together as possible to cover most eventualities; some of the items may not necessarily relate to a
specific job/ career group or labour category.
Tips for working and finding work in Dubai
Where to start
a. Use the Internet to look for prospective employers before you get to Dubai, the Dubai Yellow Pages http://www.yellowpages.ae/ as well as the various
Free Zone websites http://www.uaefreezones.com/ contain listings of businesses.
b. First look at businesses which have a related internet site depicting their products or services, this will give you a good idea on the size, scope and
nature of the company.
c. Some companies also have Career links embedded in their sites.
d. Once you have a short list of prospective companies run a Google search on them, see if they are featured in the local or international news. Local
news sites as well as other related postings on the internet may give you other indicators as to the business. For example, is the company always in the
press because of bad business or labour practices, is there good positive and independent press about the company, a lot of information can be
gleaned about companies in this way; this may save you headaches at a later stage!
e. You can also check the validity of a companys trading activities, contact details and licensing. The Dubai Department of Economic Development has
on-line, the active trading licenses of all registered companys trading within Dubai. This is a good measure of the bona fides of a company, especially
if you have never heard of them before, or are perhaps hesitant regarding their activities or legal status. The site is searchable on the English name of
the trading company, providing the license number of the company and last registered contact details of the
company.http://www.dubaided.gov.ae/eServices/Pages/Anon/CompLookup.aspx If the site is maintained as it is advertised, any company not appearing
on the list is not registered or not currently registered to trade legally in Dubai; this automatically excludes them from being able to provide employees
with a legal labour card! I checked this against two old companies which I know are no longer paid-up licensed entities, and unfortunately it still lists
them! I suppose in this instance it can still help in sifting out any fictitious companys.
f. Avoid companies with Yahoo or Hotmail email addresses; there are however a number of legitimate companies in Dubai and surrounds that do
actually use these!!! Personally, I feel that if a company cant afford the 500 odd Dirhams to get a registered email address or web page, then you
should be on the alert.
g. Do a reverse look-up of the contact details that the company provides you with. The Internet is a wonderful thing, for example if the company gives
you an email address or a contact telephone number, then enter either of these as a search criteria into Google (or other). Youd be amazed at the
amount of information you can glean from a search like this. You can see if the mail address or telephones number are being used in any other context,
such as operating different businesses from the same number, the address details of the company, and a whole lot more..
Using Employment/ Recruitment agents to find work
a. Be advised that are a number of reputable agents operating in Dubai, as well a vastly superior number of rogue agencies. Attached to the Jobs in
Dubai Forum http://www.dubaiforums.com/viewforum.php?f=3 is a list of agencies recommended by users of this forum, as well as a number of ones
to stay away from.
b. A general rule of thumb is, if they ask you for money in any form (registration fee, documentation fee, placement fee etc.) then they are not
legitimate or are acting illegally under the law. Article 18 of the UAE labour law states: No licensed employment agent or labour supplier shall demand
or accept from any worker, whether before or after the latters admission to employment, any commission or material reward in return for employment,
or charge him for any expenses thereby incurred, except as may be prescribed or approved by the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs.
c. Under the law all recruitment costs are borne by the employer, this includes: advertising for the position, agents fees/ commission (if one is used),
labour deposits, labour application fees, medical examination fees, visit visa expenses, residency visa expenses etc. Having said that, an employer is

well within his rights to deduct a pro-rata amount for expenses that he may have incurred should the employee fail to complete the full duration of his
contract/ terminate the contract prematurely.
What documents to bring
a. Bring your original school/ university or technical college certificates/ degree/ diplomas with you.
b. Have these attested through Empost (http://www.emiratespost.co.ae/content/english/degree.jsp) as soon as you arrive and before going for an
interview (about 500AED or 140 USD). Educational documents attested at UAE consulates are no longer accepted by the Labour Department.
Correction Once again the rules have changed and the Department of Labour once again require that all qualifications be attested in the country of
origin at a UAE consulate, having qualifications attested in the UAE through Empost is no longer an option. Attest your highest qualification or, if you
have a number of them, the one most pertinent to the position you are hoping to fill. They will normally accept documents attested at the consulate of
the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, if there is not UAE consulate or embassy in your home country.
c. In a walk-in interview scenario a candidate with attested certificates wins hands-down, especially if the position is for immediate employment.
d. If you are in marketing/ advertising/ architecture etc. industries, bring a current portfolio with you on CD would be better than carrying a huge
portfolio document with you.
e. Your drivers license/ International drivers license if you have one. Note, you may only drive a rental car (through an official rental agency) with an
International Drivers licence! Depending on your nationality, and where your drivers license was obtained you may be able to simply convert you
current license to a UAE drivers license. You still have to re-do an eye test though.
Issues to sort out at home before you leave for Dubai
a. Draft a Will and Testament through an attorney.
b. Get an attorney to draft a full Power of Attorney document, giving full rights to a parent/ sibling or close friend to act legally on your behalf while you
are not present in the country; this is often very useful for sorting out small legal issues that may arise while you are out of your home country, it could
also possibly save you having to return home or courier documents back and forth. You can also get a limited version of the document drafted if you so
c. Check with your bank, some banks do not accept attorney drafted Power of Attorney documents and require a separate document to be completed
in full, in the bank, in person if you wish someone to have control of your bank accounts.
d. Apply for the full, unabridged copy of your marriage certificate (if you are married), have a few copies of this notarised by a public notary; there are
odd instances where the full version of this document may be required.
e. Another, topic is death, morbid as it is, people die for all manner of reasons, normally when they least expect it A major problem in the UAE is that if
an expat dies in the UAE; if he/ she is the breadwinner, and has assets of any value in the country they are frozen under Sharia Law and held by the
State, as soon as the death is publicised. Odd as it sounds, this is how it works. The widow/ widower has then to approach the courts with a legal Will
and Testament (translated into Arabic and attested), the court then rules whether the assets are to be released to her/ him. The norm is the assets go to
the fist male borne child or male sibling of the deceased and not directly to the spouse! The other issue is that the remaining spouse is then left without
any source of income until the court has made there decision; I have heard of instances where this can take up to 6 months! This pertains to any form
of asset property, bank accounts, cars etc. What I used to do, as a precaution against such an eventuality, was to leave one signed cheque in the back
of my chequebook, made out to my wife. If something were to happen, one of her first duties would be to get to the bank and draw whatever funds were
in the account in cash (it may seem callus, but practical), that way she would at least have some form of assurance. Any excess money in my UAE
account was always transferred off-shore to an account that was specified in my Will and Testament making it easy to unravel for the executor of my
estate. In the unfortunate event of a death, the employer is responsible for the costs associated with repatriating the employees remains.
f. There are two good books I would also recommend for anyone who has not worked in the Middle East before. Dont they know its Friday by Jeremy
Williams and Understanding Arabs by Margaret K. Nydell. I dont mean this in a derogatory or disrespectful manner; simply it will help people who
have not worked in the region before in acclimatising quickly to the underlying social background and cultural issues of Dubai.
Arriving in Dubai
a. Be prepared to support yourself for at least 30 60 days before the right job comes up. This needs to include money for cab fares, accommodation,
food, document attestation, visa renewal etc.
b. Dont find yourself in the position that you become desperate for work before your visa and cash runs out and then have to compromise what you
would accept as an offer employers can tell when candidates are desperate and then exploit this.
CV/ resume

a. Bring an up-to-date CV, hardcopy as well as a softcopy on CD/ disk. On arriving in the UAE one of your first tasks is to get hold of a mobile phone.
Add the contact number to your CV/ resume; it is pointless providing a prospective employer with a CV and no means of contacting you. Traditionally
western CVs do not contain photographs; where as the norm with most eastern and sub-Indian continent CVs includes a photograph of the applicant.
Id recommend adding a photograph (see below).
b. You may have to tailor your CV to fit the profile of a specific position you are applying for, for this reason the softcopy is essential. Also if you dont
have access to a PC and internet connection, find out where the nearest Internet caf is, many career advertisements only offer an email address as
appoint of contact. If you are staying in a hotel dont use their Internet service, in most cases it is very over-priced and a net caf can offer the same
services at a fraction of the price.
c. Keep the contents of the CV brief and accurate, do not try and bulk up the document with a huge amount of adjectives and synonyms!
d. Do not make any false claims or misrepresentations in your CV document, under UAE law this is reason enough for instant termination of your
contract if you are caught out. e. Make sure you use a spell check on the document (in the UAE both US and UK spelling protocols are used
interchangeably, as are the metric and imperial measurement systems but not on the same document!). BTW they also use both English imperial and
US Gallon measurments as well as litres, this is sometimes confusing as the US Gallon is equal to 3.78 litres and the UK Gallon to 4.54 litres. Petrol is
sold in US Gallons.
f. Do not start off with I am seeking position with your hugely esteemed world-class organisation, the owner of which is hugely esteemed and generous
etc, etc. Im sad to say it, but half of the CVs I encountered start off this way and continue for half a typed page in this manner. Firstly, every
interviewer knows that you have literally hundreds of CVs which you are handing out to all and sundry extolling the virtues of people you have never
met and companies you have never heard of all in the same manner. Its basically a waste of time, although I must admit having a smile at the
contents of some of these introductions.
g. Many interviews in the UAE are set-up or arranged through friends or family. Add the person as a personal reference at the bottom of the CV; this will
jog the interviewers memory when it comes time to short-list applicants.
h. Dont apply for positions that you are not qualified for. Out of personal experience when posting a vacancy I would sometimes receive 2 or 3 hundred
applications!!!! The first thing you do is perform a general sift of the documents to shorten the interview list; this would be based on different criteria at
different times, but would generally start off with has attested documents, has valid visit visa or has relevant work experience/ qualifications the
rest would end up in the bin (or as nesting material for my hamster)! If you feel that there are going to be a large number of applicants for the position
then you have to try and at least get through to the interview phase, put your experience and qualifications up front on the first page (especially if your
CV runs to more than 2 pages).
a. Dont tell a prospective employer that you have a starving wife and 10 kids at home to feed, firstly they hear this every day and are desensitized to
the fact, secondly a person who is perceived to be continually worrying about their personal and home life is not a stable person in the work place
remain focused. Never tell a prospective employer that you are desperate for work and have to leave before your visa expires, most will ask you for a
copy of your visa in any case and will be able to see the expiry date for themselves.
b. Dont become emotional and cry it makes interviewers uncomfortable and makes them terminate the interview prematurely.
c. Be punctual, the UAE may sometimes run on Arabic time, but prospective employers respect punctuality. Be at least 30 minutes early.
d. Turn off your mobile phone before you enter the interview, in UAE culture the norm is to simply take calls as and when you please, in the movie
house, during meetings or at interviews. Personally I used to find this disrespectful and a waste of my time and would cut the interview short.
e. I dont know how to put this delicately, so I may was well come out and say it, if you have a strong body odour, make sure you wash before the
interview. The climate in Dubai/ UAE particularly in summer is hot and humid; an interview in a small closed room with a smelly candidate is not an
interviewers idea of fun. Use deodorant if youre unsure!
f. Make sure that you have a copy of your CV/ resume with you, attach a recent photograph as well, if the interviewer has a number of candidates it will
help him to remember who you are. Always take a few spare passport photographs with you, if the position is for an immediate placement and the
employer wants to hire you on the spot you need to provide him with at least 3 or 4 passport photographs so that they can start preparing the labour
g. Make sure your CV/ resume is current and has a current/ Dubai or UAE contact number on it.
h. If you are male and the interviewer is an Arabic woman, she may be dressed traditionally, or may only be wearing a headscarf, do not shake her
hand; you may end up loosing the job before you have even started the interview in this instance rather wait for her to offer her hand before shaking it,
if she doesnt then dont offer yours!

Specific questions to ask a prospective employer

a. What type of contract is it, definite or indefinite? Refer to DF postinghttp://www.dubaiforums.com/viewtopic.php?t=11239
b. What is the probation period? (Normally 3 months, but not more than 6 months)
c. What are the hours of work required? (48 hours per week in most industries, retail and hospitality industries 54 hours per week)
d. What is the basic salary? (Remember this is what your gratuity will be based on)
e. What is the perks component of the salary?
f. When will the salary be paid, beginning, middle or end of the month?
g. Is transport provided to and from work?
h. Is there a company car with the position? If so, is regular maintenance and fuel provided?
i. Is there company accommodation or an accommodation allowance provided?
j. What (return) flights are provided by the company, and to where? (Some companies only provide flights to the point of entrance into the employees
home country and do not cover local flights or travel within the employees home country).
k. Are the flights of your spouse and children covered as well? Dont labour under the impression that your wife and children will get a free flight every
year, and then when you are about to go on vacation you find they are not covered in the agreement.
l. Are you required to take your vacation at a specific point in the year, or can you take it at any time? Some companies only allow employees to take
their vacation at specific times in the year in accordance with the companys logistical requirements.
m. Is a uniform required as part of the job? If so who is responsible for the cost?
n. Some companys provide shared accommodation for their employees, this is quiet common in the restaurant and other retail industries; if this is
offered then ask if you are required to pay any of the other charges related to the accommodation (electricity, water etc.), or if these are covered by the
employer. Also enquire as to the number of people who will be sharing this accommodation. I have personally seen 4 or 5 people cramped in to a 4 x 4
metre room. Labour accommodation is even worse than this and up to 12 people can share the same sized room!
Salary negotiations
a. Salary will depend entirely on who you work for and your experience; smaller companies will not be able to offer the same packages as a larger
company would, having said this a smaller company (especially if new) may offer better long-term prospects over time to loyal employees. Its
sometimes a chance worth taking.
b. Salaries and packages can vary vastly between employers and even similar professions. There are no hard and fast rules regarding packages and
what is included and what not.
c. Government medical coverage is mandatory at present, although there is talk about employers being forced to place expatriates on private medical
policies. If the offer states medical coverage, this is not a perk that the employer offers; it is a requirement by law.
d. Flights to and from your home country each year are also not a legal obligation by the employer, these are simply provided by most employers as a
benefit of the position or a package benefit. A return flight home on completion of your contract is also another myth, the employer is not obliged to pay
you out, or provide a flight back home for you if you break the contract or move to a new employer. The law only provides for repatriation of an
employee at the cost of others if the employee can prove that he is not able to pay for it himself.
e. All recruitment and visa processing costs are for the employers account; dont let them tell you otherwise! Many employers try to deduct some of the
visa processing and labour department deposits from the salary cheques of the employees this is totally illegal. An employer can however deduct
reparations from the employees final settlement if they abscond or terminate the contract before the contract period is complete.
f. Be prepared to haggle with your employer over the salary and perks. Haggling is a part of the local culture so get used to it.
g. Always start high, allow the employer some room to negotiate as well and then try to reach a compromise. A good formula would be to ask for 20%
more than you would like, the employer is likely to come back with an offer between 10 and 20% lower than that, that way you would mutually
compromise on the figure that you wanted in the first place (or if you are lucky, slightly more).

h. Remember what you agree to is what your remuneration will be fixed at for the duration of the contract! You could possibly use this as part
justification for asking for a higher salary. Most employers do not offer 13th cheques or annual increases as many western countrys do your salary
is in effect governed by the contract for the period of the contract, and the employer is not obliged to give you any increases.
i. At the end of your contract you may be eligible for a gratuity payment from the employer; this is based on the net basic salary and not inclusive of any
perks. For example if your employer offered you 1,000 AED per month and 8,000 AED on top of that in accommodation, vehicle and travel allowances,
your gratuity would be based only on the 1,000 AED pm. j. Look at the possibility of an incentive based add-on to the package (if your type of work or
occupation favours this), like a performance bonus - come up with (and suggest) a mechanism that is both fair to yourself and the employer and that
can be accurately measured and when it will be evaluated (monthly, quarterly, annually). Some companys do use this type of scheme. THIS
-http://www.dubaiforums.com/viewtopic.php?t=11239 k. This is quiet a useful link, which can give you some insight into what your salary range should
be for the position you are applying for. Remember this is not absolute, as it is dependant on age, experience, the size of the company employing you,
and unfortunately in a lot of instances race. This site may not provide your specific job function, if not try and select something which is similar in nature,
or a job function that you may also know the salary of so that you have something to benchmark your offer against. Look under
International. http://www.salaryexpert.com/index.cfm?FuseAction=FreeSalaryTools.Dsp_FreeSalaryTools
The normal process of securing a job involves:
* Interview (possible follow up interview)
* Employers: Offer of Employment
* Employee: Acceptance of Offer of Employment
* Employee: Provides employer with passport copy, photographs and attested documents
* Employer: Seeks Labour approval for position
* Employer: Applies to Department of Naturalisation for Residency of employee
* Employer: Completes Official Labour Contract
* Employee and Sponsor of Employer: Sign the Official Contract
* Employer: Submits Official Labour Contract to Labour Department
* Employee: Undergoes Medical Examination (HIV/TB/ Communicable diseases)
* Employer: Submits results of Medical to Labour Department
* Labour Department issues Labour card in the name of the employee
* Employee: Submits original passport to employer for residency processing
* Naturalisation Department: Stamps Residency Visa in employees passport
Process can take anywhere between 1 week and 6 weeks depending on the HR officer of the company and time of the year (Ramadan and Eid
Holidays etc.)!
Working on Visit Visa's I cant stress this enough, it is illegal to work on a visit visa irrespective what any employer may tell you. Simply look at the
Expat Help Forum and you will have a good idea about what I mean, a large percentage of the queries relate to people employed or working on visit
a. If you work on a visit visa you basically give up any chance that you may have or using the Labour Courts or Labour Department as an arbitrator
should you have a dispute with your employer.
b. You stand a very good chance of being caught, fined, deported and black-listed from ever returning to work in the UAE.
c. If you enter the UAE on a visit visa looking for work; once you have a firm Offer of Employment from your employer then keep at them to process
your Residency visa as soon as possible. You can tell them that you need a valid residency visa to open a bank account, rent a car, rent an apartment,
purchase a mobile phone etc.

Probation Periods
There is a mandatory probation period included in all labour contracts of 3 months (and not more than 6 months), this is standard; either party can
terminate services within the period without notice. Remember though, if you terminate your contract in this period you will most likely incur a 6 month
labour ban!
Working Age Residency and work permits are issued up until the age of 60 years. Thereafter any extensions can only be authorised by the Minister of
Labour, and this would only be in exceptional cases. Freehold property owners are technically sponsored for residency for the duration of their lease
(99 years), however this does not entitle them to work or even guarantee them a work permit/ labour card even if they are under the 60 year age
limit! The minimum working age is 18 years of age, there are exceptions to this, but only applicable to apprenticeships or vocational training positions.
Residency Sponsorship
While this issue can sometimes be quiet complicated and take up a separate posting the bare basics are as follows:
Residency is temporary only and normally for a period of 3 years after which it must be renewed.
a. In order to live and work in the UAE you have to be sponsored by a UAE national, this can take the form of a private sponsorship (such as the case
with domestic servants/ drivers etc.), although it is normally accomplished by virtue of the fact that the UAE national is the owner or majority
shareholder of the company which employs you.
b. There is also secondary sponsorship; this occurs where the sponsored person (employee) sponsors someone else to reside with him in the UAE, the
normal situations where this occurs are:
a husband sponsoring a wife and children or sponsoring a domestic servant. You may notice I said he as it is not the norm for a woman to sponsor a
husband and children in the UAE; this can only occur in certain circumstances and prior approval from both the Labour Department and the
Department of Immigration and Naturalisation are required this normally occurs only where the wife is deemed to have a profession of strategic or
economic importance (medical staff, teachers etc.).
A woman may however sponsor her children if she is divorced or widowed.
c. There are criteria which need to be met before you can sponsor a dependant, this is normally based on your earnings/ salary (the amount is changed
form time to time, at present it is a minimum basic salary of 3,000AED pm and 1,000AED pm accomodation allowance from the employer, or a
minimum of 4,000AED pm). In other words, if you were to earn a very basic salary you would not be able to sponsor a dependant. You have to have
written permission from your sponsor in order to sponsor a dependant. As the secondary sponsor you are responsible for the processing fees (Medical
tests and Residency processing fees), not your employer! As the sponsor of your family you are responsible for their behaviour, debt and support while
they reside with you in the country!
d. You cannot sponsor your boyfriend/ girlfriend/ fianc/ common-law spouse/ partner or extended family members. You can only sponsor a spouse to
whom you are legally married (being a Muslim country this does not include same-love marriages), and a copy of the marriage certificate must be
entered with the sponsorship application, this applies to men sponsoring wives, or in exceptional cases (as above), wives sponsoring husbands.
e. Children are defined as children (male and female) under the age of 21 years and un-married daughters over the age of 21. Once they are married
they then have to fall under the sponsorship of their husband (if they are resident in the UAE).
f. As an expatriate you can never become a UAE citizen or naturalised; you have to either have been born to parents who are UAE citizens or a father
who is a UAE citizen to be able to claim citizenship.
g. Expat children born in the UAE must take on the citizenship of the parents, and an application made for temporary residency status (to remain in the
UAE) under the sponsorship of the secondary sponsor made within 3 months of the birth.
h. Property owners (freehold) are sponsored for residency by the property development company for the duration of the lease period (normally 99
i. Temporary residency status does not automatically grant you the right to work or seek employment, although one normally follows the other. Example:
a spouse, sponsored child of working age (over 18 ), or freehold property owner cannot simply start working, or work from home to earn extra income;
she/ he would have to follow the normal procedure and find an employer who would provide her/ him with a labour card.
Student work/ holiday jobs The UAE and Dubai Labour Law do not recognise short-term holiday or vacation jobs. Any company advertising positions in
the UAE for students is more than likely going to try and get you to work on a visit visa! The law does cover apprentice contracts; however I feel this is
probably to cover the use of children (under 18 ) as camel jockeys rather than offering trade apprenticeship.
Working for the Government or a quasigovernment institution. If you have been offered a position with any of the following institutions you are not
subject to the normal conditions of the UAE Labour Law (1980): Government, Government Hospitals, Police, Military or Municipality.

What next?
So you have a job, now what?
Bank accounts
There are numerous banks represented in the UAE, both local and international; each offer different packages to new account holders.
One thing to consider is that many companies pay their employees by electronic funds transfer, if you happen to bank at the same bank as your
employer you will most likely not have to pay any transfer fees on your salary; if not you are liable to pay the fees to have your salary transferred from
one bank to the other. The other issue is that inter-bank transfers can take a day or two to happen, this means that your salary will only arrive in your
account a day or two after it has been paid by your employer (bear this in mind if you have standing orders).
The UAE Dirham, is currently fixed against the US Dollar, at a rate of 3.76 Dhs = 1 USD. It has maintained this rate within one or two percentage
points for the last 10 years or more, the rate is maintained by the Federal Bank; as it is fixed against the USD, your (repatriated) earnings in dollar terms
will fluctuate with this rate. Most GCC countries have their currencies fixed against the US Dollar in this manner, so the exchange rate between GCC
member countries for all intense and purposes remains the same.
Credit cards.
Getting a credit card in the UAE is easy; managing it correctly is another problem all together. Many banks will simply issue you a card whether you
require on or not. In most cases you have to phone the bank to activate the card, they will charge you a monthly premium thereafter (once activated)
whether you use it or not!
Cheque books.
These are very handy, particularly when it comes to paying for accommodation and rental. Most landlords will require a set of post-dated cheques to
cover the rental through the year.
Defaulting on cheque payments or accounts. One very important thing to remember in the UAE, under Sharia Law, no one can be compelled to repay a
loan; this applies to banks as well as privately. The normal way around this is that the person (or bank) lending or advancing you the money will ask for
a post-dated cheque to cover the debt. If you fail to repay it in time he will simply submit the cheque to the bank, the bank will call him and inform him
that there are no funds (if that is the case) and ask if they should re-submit it, he simply tells them yes. If the cheque still fails to clear, it then becomes
of fraud, and the issue is handed over to the police department to clear up. They will then send a uniformed officer along to your work or home and
arrest you!
I also know of instances where expatriates are leaving the country and simply run up debt on their credit cards and cheque accounts, the mentality is
Well, what are they going to do about it if Im not here and have no intention of coming back. That was to a certain degree correct a few years ago,
now most banks have no qualms about handing the debt over to international collection agencies, or to have a black mark issued against your
creditworthiness; try getting a mortgage on a home or open another bank account in your home country once that has happened!
At some stage, someone will ask you for one reason or another to sigh surety for a loan that they may want to take from the bank. Under no
circumstances unless you know the person extremely well should you do this. Banks and the legal system hold surety signatories liable for the debt if
the main applicant defaults on the loan or absconds; they do not accept Im didnt really know what I was signing and you can be arrested and end up
in jail, or have your bank accounts emptied to cover the outstanding loan! Unfortunately this happens too often, where people think they are simply
helping a colleague out in order to obtain a loan from a bank.
What to expect Where to work in the UAE Personally Id start with Dubai as it is in my mind more cosmopolitan and easier to acclimatise yourself to the
Middle Eastern way of life. The UAE is a Federation of emirates, and each is governed slightly differently from the other. Dubai is more relaxed and
western in approach and general way of life, Abu Dhabi is a little more conservative, but is also generally liberal. Sharjah, Ras Al-Khaimah and Ajman
on the other hand are more conservative with respect to dress codes, moral codes, legal issues etc. For example the death penalty is still imposed in
Ras Al-Khaimah, but only life imprisonment given for the same offence in Dubai. If you are going to be working in the UAE, but out of Dubai read up on
the local culture and what is permitted and what is not!
Cost of Living I have posted another thread regarding the Cost of Living in Dubai, which I have tried to equate to an individuals standard of living as
Competition Without wanting to paint a bleak or negative picture, everyone seeking employment in Dubai needs to realise this as a reality. Dubai is
marketed both actively and passively as an international destination almost to the point where the streets are paved in gold, this has and still
continues to create an almost wild-west gold-rush mentality among job seekers. This attracts people from all walks of life, all socio-economic
backgrounds and all nationalities, all keen to get their slice of the action. In real terms this often results in an oversupply of skilled and semi-skilled
labour in the market. Competition is stiff; perhaps not to the point of people killing to get a job, but when people are desperate they tend to resort to
desperate and even underhanded methods of getting and then keeping a job. This is an obvious bonus to potential employers, they can have the pick
of the crop (so to say), and offer less compensation wise than what they would normally do if they were conducting business in a country that had a
minimum wage law.

This varies from industry to industry; in IT for example much of the work is actually outsourced to companies operating in India or the Indian subcontinent the actual operating company in Dubai can then be run on a skeleton staff without all the normal overheads of expatriate salaries,
accommodation and visa expenses. Obviously the converse applies, construction companies are labour intensive and very little work can be
accomplished off-shore.
Look at the following statistics (a little dated) the UAE has a total population of 4.3 million people, of this only 20% (roughly 860,000) are Emiratis, the
rest are expatriate workers! In Dubai the population is about 1.4 million people, of which only 17% are local nationals (238,000); this means that almost
4 out of every 5 people are expatriates! And that is the figure of registered residency holders; it does not take into account the tens of thousands of
people holding visit visas looking for employment.
When is the best time to look for work in Dubai?
Not during the following times:
a. Not during Ramadan/ Eid work hours are shorter than normal, enthusiasm and motivation is at a low and business slow in general; many business
owners/ managers (as well as UAE nationals) leave the country during this time. Find out when Ramadan and the two Eids fall, the Islamic calendar is
lunar based and differs by approximately 11 days each year to that of the Gregorian calendar the net effect is that Muslim (Holy) holidays tend migrate
forward (earlier) by about 11 days every year.
b. Not during the mid-summer months (June, July, August), schools close for three months over the mid-summer and many expats simply pack their
families off home on a long vacation. Most companies prefer their employees to take their vacations over this time for logistical reasons. There are
normally very few people available at this time to make decisions! Best time is the beginning of autumn going into the winter season (October/
November), this is also the best time to arrive in Dubai and acclimatise rather than arrive in the middle of summer. Business in general also picks up
after the summer.
General Odds & Ends
A Fool and his money are soon parted!! During the time I spent in Dubai, I saw or read about some of the most elaborate and also some of the simplest
schemes employed to part you from your hard earned cash! While there is not much in the way of serious crime to contend with you still have to be
cautious when handling your money. There are some recent postings on the forum stressing this issue, where some expatriates were the victims of an
elaborate vehicle laundering scheme.
Some of the more audacious ones include selling property which does not belong to the seller. Selling bottles of the special liquid that the American
Reserve bank uses to convert pieces of paper into Dollar bills. Saying special words over a bag of your money to make it more (which really converts
it to cut up pieces of newspaper) which you discover only when you get it home, as well as various variations of the Nigerian letter as well as a few
instances of chain-letter systems.
Normally if the perpetrator is caught or if the victim is not too embarrassed by the affair (which a lot of confidence tricksters count on), they publish the
issue in the local papers; some of them are really funny and I wish I had started collecting them years ago, I could have published a book on it by now.
Be very cautious about handing over large (or even moderate) amounts of cash to people, this includes receiving cheques. A quirk in the banking
system in the UAE (which is highlighted by the recent vehicle scam issue) is that cheques when they are deposited into your account show that the
funds are immediately available although the person depositing it may not have any funds in his/ her account to honour the cheque. The bank only
picks this up a day or two later and then reverses the transaction leaving you with a hole in your bank account where the cash was paid to you was
and the con-artist long gone with the Plasma screen TV you sold him.
The golden rule is: If it looks to good to be true, it probably is!.
Dubai has a slightly more conservative approach to dress than you would expect from a western country; having said that, Dubai is far, far more
liberal in this regard than other emirates within the UAE. For example short skirts (within reason) are not really given a second glance in Dubai, but in
Sharjah the regulation is that they have to be below the knee (in public); disregarding the law in this case will result in a fine or jail, even if you are just
passing through!
Business dress
Personally I found it very odd that everyone was so dressed up, even over-dressed. Most business people wear jackets and ties, and most businesses
demand this - I think this really has more to do with image than comfort. Many countries with extremely hot climates dispense with formal attire from a
comfort and productivity perspective; this is not the same of Dubai!
If you use prescription medication Most medicines are available in Dubai, but normally under different trade names that you may be accustomed to. I
would however suggest that you either bring a recent prescription or the information pamphlet that accompanies your normal medication; that way the
pharmacist can provide you with the local equivalent.

Religion and Holidays Although being an Islamic administered country, a great deal of religious freedom is observed and there are a number of
churches and places of worship through Dubai; in some cases the rulers of the UAE have even contributed in some way to the construction of these.
These hold less conspicuous positions than the mosques and are sometimes not in plain site. Church services are normally conducted on Fridays and
not Sundays.
Holidays are normally considered Private sector or Public sector; Private sector holidays are observed by all privately owned companies in the UAE
while Public sector holidays are those given to governmental departments, military, police service, municipality and banks. In general the public sector
get longer holidays than those in the Private sector. For example, the Private sector may get a 2 day Eid holiday, while the Public sector may get 7
All Islamic holidays as well as UAE National Day and New Years Day (1 January) are observed as paid public holidays (both Private and Public
Christian holidays (such as Christmas and Easter) are not recognised as official holidays; yet most employers do make allowances for staff wanting to
attend services, sometimes due to the large number of non-Muslim staff. Hindu holidays and festivals are given at the discretion of the employer.
Ramadan Foreigners are expected to observe the practice of fasting during the Holy month of Ramadan, and are required not to eat, drink or smoke in
public areas during this time. Pregnant women and children (normally considered children under the age of 12) are excluded from fasting. If you forget
and absentmindedly pop a cigarette into your mouth you will normally be reminded/ reprimanded by a passer-by and at some point a policeman.
Restaurants and bars are open in the evening, although no live music or band performances are permitted.
Restaurants only open after sunset in the evening and will normally remain open all night until just before sunrise; during the day however most hotel
restaurants remain open, but are screened off from public view. Many shops will only open in the late afternoon or evening. As with many things the
Emirate of Dubai is more moderate in enforcing this practice than other Emirates (possibly because of the number of tourists); however this is not to say
that you cannot be fined or imprisoned for failing to obey the law. Muslims failing to observe the fast during this time (whether tourists or not) are
severely punished, if caught.
for me