With over 70% of its young, professional population born overseas, Dubai is an expat paradise with everything you need for a successful, safe and fun time abroad. Thousands of Brits are currently enjoying the good weather, great lifestyle and exciting career opportunities the city offers. If you are considering living and working in the UAE, here are our top ten reasons to move to Dubai.
1. Lifestyle and Leisure
Dubai is a city of endless leisure possibilities, from camping under the stars in the desert to skiing around 22,500 square metres of indoor slopes. The city’s shopping malls are world renowned. The two largest malls boast not only a dizzying array of shops but also hundreds of restaurants from fast food joints and coffee shops to glamourous fine dining restaurants. There are even cinemas, ice rinks, aquariums, play areas and theatres to keep you busy without leaving the air-conditioned comfort of the mall.
Out of respect to the country’s Islamic heritage, consumption of alcohol is restricted to restaurants, hotels and bars or clubs owned by hotels, but the city’s diverse, young population certainly know how to let their hair down. There are beach parties, club nights and other social events almost every day and night. There are also numerous festivals throughout the year celebrating everything from music and food to film and fashion. If you’re a sports fan, you can enjoy some fantastic international events from motorsports and horse racing to rugby and tennis.
Year round sunshine and temperatures rarely dropping below 20ºC make Dubai is a sun-lover’s paradise. From September to May, you can sit out in the sunshine at the park or beach whenever you like. Dubai enjoys an average of 342 sunny days every year, so you can plan a barbecue or picnic without worrying about the weather. British expats will certainly notice a marked improvement in the climate.
When the weather gets a little too warm, you can visit one of Dubai’s many indoor attractions for food, entertainment and, of course, shopping. Or why not use some of your generous holiday allowance, typically around 30 days per year, and head to cooler climes. Compared to the unpredictable UK weather, this has to be one of the top ten reasons to move to Dubai.
3. Strong Economy
Dubai’s growth may not be quite at the heady pace of the start of the century, but it continues to flourish at a steady, sustainable rate. Dubai’s currency, the Emirati Dirham (AED), has remained stable and strong, particularly when compared with the US Dollar or Euro. This, combined with the steady growth in GDP of around 5% each year, make Dubai one of the most financially stable destinations in the world.
This economic might relies on a large international workforce. Dubai businesses are well aware of this and will pay generous salaries to anyone willing to make the leap and move to the UAE. The financial benefits alone are enough to tempt many to Dubai.
4. Tax Free Living
For most expats, it is an exciting career opportunity that first brings them to the UAE, in particular the lure of earning a little extra money. One of the key top ten reasons to move to Dubai for many, a tax-free salary inevitably means more money in your pocket. This could allow you to boost your savings, enjoy a few little luxuries or maybe take a holiday or two. As there is also no VAT to pay on goods or food, you may find you are spending less too, if you can resist the designer shops. Most expats would certainly agree that the financial incentive is certainly one of the top 10 reasons to move to Dubai.
5. Reliable Health, Education and Transport
Huge government investment has ensured that Dubai’s infrastructure remains one of the most modern and reliable in the world. Healthcare and education standards rival any in the world, one of the particularly important top ten reasons to move to Dubai if you are moving with a family. There are many excellent private international schools where children can continue to follow the British or American Curriculum.
Healthcare is of an incredibly high standard. While you will probably need to take out private medical insurance, you can sure of getting the very best care in excellent facilities staffed by highly trained doctors and nurses. Private healthcare and education may be a daunting financial prospect, some employers will incorporate school fees and medical insurance into your salary package.
Dubai’s new metro system has had a great amount of investment and is now a modern, fast, clean and reliable alternative to road travel. Planners are even harnessing Dubai’s natural advantages and using solar power to reduce the city’s carbon footprint.
6. Affordable Luxury
Dubai’s high-end designer shops, luxury restaurants and seven star hotels are legendary. If you enjoy splashing the cash on the best food, clothes and entertainment money can buy, it’s all just a swipe of the credit card away in this glamorous city. However, if you think Dubai is just for super-rich, think again. You can enjoy great street food from around the world in luxurious surroundings for just a few pounds. If you need to update your wardrobe, whatever your budget, you’ll find everything from Hermès to H&M all under the same roof.
Like any popular, successful city, Dubai’s property is in demand and housing is likely to be one of your biggest expenses. However, even those on a budget can find an affordable, chic accommodation at the right price. You may have to compromise on size or location, but not luxury. Accommodation is generally of a very high standard, clean, modern and well equipped.
7. International Cuisine
Dubai’s international culture and huge expat population have had a huge influence on its culinary scene. As waves of immigrants arrived in Dubai from all over the world, they brought with them their best-loved recipes and favourite ingredients. Today, you can find everyone from Michelin starred chefs to street vendors cooking exotic international cuisine. There are over 200 different nationalities living in Dubai and you will find restaurants serving almost every cuisine from Lebanese or Greek to Argentinian or Japanese.
8. Well Connected
Perfectly positioned as a gateway to the globe, you can be almost anywhere in Europe, Asia and Africa in under eight hours. Dubai airport is one of the busiest hubs in the aviation world, there are regular flights to all major destinations with some of the most reputable airlines around. Not only will this make the occasional trip home quick and easy, it opens up some exciting and exotic holiday destinations. A mini break in the Maldives or long weekend in Goa are both just a four hour flight away.
9. Multicultural Melting Pot
Dubai has highest proportion of foreign-born residents in the world, making it an incredibly easy place to be an expat. Not only will you fit easily into the expat-friendly lifestyle, the chances are most of your new colleagues were also born abroad. Around 70% of the city’s population was born overseas and there are large groups of expats from most major countries, including a thriving British community. You will quickly find a friendly, sociable group of expat friends making this factor a definite entry in our top ten reasons to move to Dubai.
Completing our top ten reasons to move to Dubai is the city’s enviably low crime rate. Dubai is one of the safest large cities in the world, largely due to the strictly enforced laws and well-respected police force. While a certain amount of street-savvy is still necessary, the streets of Dubai are on whole friendly and safe. Men and women can walk through any public area day or night and feel almost no risk or threat.
While Dubai remains a devoutly Muslim country, the large number Christian, Jewish, Hindu and Buddhist residents have created an amicable, tolerant attitude to religion. You are free to practice any religion or none, providing you show courtesy and respect. For example, a bikini is perfectly acceptable beach attire, but not appropriate to wear to a mall. Many major religious events such as Diwali and Christmas are observed as well as Islamic celebrations such as Eid.
If our top ten reasons to move to Dubai have made you consider life in the Emirates, check out our guide to moving to the UAE.