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Living in the UAE

The UAE is fast becoming one of the most popular destinations for British migrants. In this nation of expats, there is a large British population calling this vibrant city home. More and more professional workers and in particular, young professionals are seeing this city as an exciting place to live and work.


In a recent study by the IPB Quality of Life Index, the UAE was rated third in terms of Quality of Life for British Expats. Interestingly, this is the first time the UAE has been in the top 5 ranking for this annual survey suggesting it is becoming more and more popular with British nationals looking to move abroad.

Dubai and Abu Dhabi have both changed significantly over the last 20 / 25 years and have grown into major transport, travel and business hubs for the Middle East region. This makes these cities attractive to professional workers looking to broaden their horizons and enhance their careers. Combined with reduced taxation, it’s not suprising that so many British expats are moving or planning to move here.

The UAE seems to receive generally positive reviews in expat surveys also. The HSBC Expat Explorer Survey (2013 Results) rated the UAE as overall 9th in their league table, scoring highly for economic satisfaction, quality of childcare and working environment.

One noticeable trend that does seem to be prevalent for this country is the high number of temporary assignments. It seems the majority of British expats come to the UAE on a semi-permanent basis. This could be to do with the fact that many expats in Dubai and Abu Dhabi are young and possibly not yet ready to settle in one location. Alternatively, young professionals may see the UAE as a temporary experience where they will increase their life experience and work life before moving on.

The main occupations for expats in this country are in the fields of construction, manufacturing, utilities, banking, insurance, financial services and ICT (Source: HSBC Expat Explorer).

The most popular destinations for British Expats living in the UAE are Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah.

Dubai – Dubai has the largest population in the UAE. It is a city known for its skyline of skycrapers surrounded by dessert. There are also several unique construction projects such as The Palm islands.

Abu Dhabi – the capital city of the UAE and also the second most populated city in the UAE.

Sharjah – the third largest city in the UAE, it is noted for its Islamic buildings and landmarks.

Useful links

UK Government website with information about living in the UAE –

Telegraph Expat –

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