The Pros and Cons of Working in Dubai as Foreigners

The Pros and Cons of Working in Dubai as Foreigners

With millions of people coming into the city for leisure and for work, it is no secret that Dubai offers plenty of opportunities. Indeed, expats do speak about their tax-free earnings as well as the luxurious lifestyle around them.

However, the actual situation is much more nuanced. As with any country, there are multiple considerations one must make before deciding to work in Dubai.

The Pros of Working in Dubai

1. High Wages and Low Taxes

By now, it is quite well-known that Dubai doesn’t charge income tax from their workers. This allows them to take home a larger chunk of their earnings to use for their needs.

As a result, Dubai has become an attractive destination for young, flexible, and international workers. Thousands of digital nomads have taken to calling the Emirate their primary place of work.

Cryptocurrency owners and investors have also gotten a break as the city now exempts crypto from tax. It is even looking to launch its own “Crypto Valley Free Zone”, which can be useful for startups in the space.

Of course, workers do need to be a tax resident of the country in order to enjoy its tax benefits. Employers can usually help sponsor interested workers to help with this.

2. Multiple Career Prospects

Dubai offers a lot of work opportunities for individuals. A lot of global corporations have established their presence in the city, making it very attractive for expats.

Interested workers can find different types of work here, ranging from office jobs to other disciplines like the arts, science, and technology.

They also have good amenities for after-work hours and days off too. They have a whole host of different restaurants, party places, and activities you can do during your day off and even after you log out for the day.

With all the development going on in the city, there are opportunities for construction work too. However, do note that the benefits for blue-collar work or domestic help are not as high as those for office jobs.

3. Thriving International Community

Working in a new country can be very intimidating. Especially when it comes to one with a vastly different culture, religion, and even the way of life.

Fortunately, this shouldn’t be too big of a problem when it comes to Dubai. Millions of people come here, making it a melting pot of different cultures.

This helps put some international visitors at ease, knowing they can meet people from their own countries. 

Expats can count on an international community backing them. It’s even easy to find food options from different cuisines from all around the world in the event they start missing the taste of home.

As such, it shouldn’t be too difficult to establish new connections in the city. Some of the new relationships built here can even open up more opportunities later on.

Of course, this may not sit well with people looking for a quieter lifestyle. The pace is quite fast and energetic in Dubai, and it’s up to the individual whether they can work with that.

The Cons of Working in Dubai

1. The Heat

It is no secret that Dubai’s climate can be very hot, especially in the summertime. It is not uncommon for foreigners to experience 40°C, even in the shade.

Workers can expect to spend most of their time in indoor air-conditioning, just to avoid the excessive heat. Fortunately, most buildings in Dubai do come with climate control so it shouldn’t be a problem for office employees.

There are also some seasonal variations, with winter months from October to April bringing pleasantly warm weather. It is even noted to be the best shopping season. 

June to August are the summer months, where temperatures are expected to run really hot. A lot of locals and residents have taken to scheduling their vacations in these months as a result.

Aside from the heat though, Dubai’s proximity to the desert does bring some very strong winds. Worse, you might even encounter a sudden dust storm while driving out.

People with conditions related to the heat will need to keep this in mind before making the plunge. You wouldn’t want to sacrifice your health if the climate is not good for you.

2. Strict Laws

While Dubai is a lot more tolerant due to the international presence in the city, it is still a Muslim-country, with their own rules and culture to respect and follow.

As such, the city can be quite strict on some things people might have gotten used to doing without much thought.

For example, laws regarding modesty and relationships in general are heavily moderated. While clothing is a lot more liberal, people are still expected to cover up when entering certain places like mosques.

Relationships for non-married couples come under scrutiny as well. Public displays of affection like hugging, kissing, and even holding hands are discouraged for non-married couples, and even for married couples in some instances.

Of course, it goes to follow that premarital sex is highly discouraged as well. Homosexuality is also forbidden.

And while Dubai has no shortage of bars or restaurants that serve alcohol, you should remember to take them in moderation. Being an unruly drunk in public is a jailable offence.

Understanding the laws and culture of the country is essential to having a good working experience in Dubai.

3. Getting Citizenship is Difficult

For those looking to permanently settle as a citizen in Dubai, they may face some difficulties in doing so. Despite new rules, it is still difficult for expats to become citizens in Dubai.

To be fair, the UAE residency visa is valid for up to ten years. Expats can renew their visa if they have valid reasons such as owning real estate, running a business, or staying employed.

However, even long stays in Dubai does not entitle one to citizenship. Even children of expats born in Dubai do not necessarily become citizens.

To be fair, having a residence visa is enough to live in the UAE indefinitely, at least for now. However, those looking to apply for citizenship may not be able to do so regardless of how long they stay.

When it comes to whether Dubai is a good place to work for people, it will ultimately depend on the individual and their needs. After all, each person is looking for different things when it comes to their career.

If the thriving community, abundance of opportunity, and energetic culture are for you, then you might just find career fulfilment here in the City of Gold.