A recent poll of LinkedIn’s 380 million members shows the UAE ranked the number one expat destination in the world. Whether expats are seeking a better quality of life or a more rewarding career, the UAE can offer it all. In the last 20 years, beautiful, wealthy cities such as Dubai and Abu Dhabi have become international powerhouses and vital centres for tourism, finance and commerce. Enormous government investment in infrastructure and public services has created a solid base from which the country has flourished.
Large corporations have long seen the potential of this wealthy nation. Most major international companies in areas as diverse as finance, retail and energy have established a presence in the UAE, with many basing their Middle Eastern headquarters in Abu Dhabi or Dubai. This has created plenty of exciting and rewarding job opportunities for ambitious expats, but there is so much more to life in the Emirates than work.
Leisure and Lifestyle
UAE’s big cities offer a glamorous lifestyle like nowhere else on earth. The country’s modern, well-funded infrastructure makes it an extremely comfortable place to live and work. Dubai’s picturesque waterfront and new, fast metro system are just two examples of this public investment.
As a growing tourism hotspot, the leisure industry is booming across the UAE. From skiing, sailing and scuba diving to wining, dining and shopping, you’ll never be bored with so much to see and do. Vast shopping malls and white, sandy beaches are the perfect place to relax and enjoy yourself during the warm evenings and weekends. As an international hotspot, you will find almost every type of cuisine from Lebanese street food at Al Mallah to high end Japanese food at Zuma.
One obvious advantage to living in the UAE is the climate. Year round sunshine and temperatures rarely dropping below 20°C, it’s perfect for anyone seeking a life away from the cold and rain. Although July and August can be uncomfortably hot with temperatures soaring above 40°C, the UAE has long realized the importance of good air conditioning. Offices, shopping malls and restaurants remain comfortably cool throughout the summer and a few hotter weeks are a small price to pay for year round sunshine. If you fancy winter, spring and summer in the sun, the UAE could be for you.
The UAE is a global success story that now boasts one of the fastest growing economies in the world. While developers may have been a little over eager in the past, growth is now stable, safe and sustainable. This growth is built on the hard work of expats who make up around 90% of the workforce, and there are still plenty of opportunities for skilled migrants in all areas from finance and law to engineering and nursing. It is the strongest economy in the Arab world and was named one of the top 10 most improved economies by the World Bank earlier this year.
Tax Free Earnings
One obvious advantage to life in the UAE is the possibility of a tax-free income. Anyone living and working in the UAE will not be taxed on anything earned within the country. This could leave you significantly better off, opening up the possibility of boosting your savings account and enjoying a better standard of living. Salaries compare well those offered in Europe, Australia and the US meaning you will almost certainly end up with more money in your pocket at the end of each month. With so much to do and some of the best shopping in the world, you’ll be able to make the most of this extra income.
While the UAE a truly idyllic location, you may occasionally want to jet off either for work, pleasure or a trip home. Luckily, the UAE is one of the best connected countries on the planet, so the world is your oyster. There are two huge international airports in Dubai and Abu Dhabi offering direct flights with most major airlines all over the world. London is just a seven hour flight away, as is Beijing and Hong Kong. You can even fly directly to the US and Australia, although they are slightly further afield at 12 hours. If you fancy some exotic rest and relaxation, the Maldives is just 4 ½ hours away by plane.
While there are plenty of single expats living and working in the UAE, it is also a great place to bring and raise a family. Dubai in particular has some of the best international schools in the world, so you can rest assured your children will get the very best education. Although these schools are private, fees are more than fair due to the extremely high standards both in teaching and facilities.
Outside the classroom, there is so much to keep parents and children happy. Each of the vast shopping malls have great entertainment options from play areas and cinemas to aquariums and ski centres. Children will also love spending more time outdoors in the sunshine enjoying the clean, safe beaches and parks.
Whether you’re moving to the UAE with a family or alone, it is reassuring to know that its reputation for safety and security is well deserved. Laws are fair, but clearly defined and firmly enforced. Each Emirate has its own police force who are well respected and keep the streets very safe. In Dubai and Abu Dhabi, the vast majority of expats report feeling confident and secure when out and about. The UAE in fact boasts the 8th lowest crime index rating in the world, making it an extremely safe and pleasant to be an expat.
A Melting Pot of Cultures
With around 84% of the UAE’s population born overseas, it is an exciting, vibrant melting pot of different cultures. This long history of immigration and assimilation has built a welcoming, tolerant population happy to accept new arrivals. This large proportion of immigrants means Dubai and Abu Dhabi have some of the biggest and busiest expat communities in the world. There are so many groups and events to help you meet other people who are new to the city or from the same place, you’re sure to make plenty of new friends. The international, cosmopolitan nature of the city means you will also be able to find shops and restaurants from almost anywhere in the world, including your home country, if you’re feeling a little homesick.
Low Cost of Living
The cost of accommodation may not be much cheaper than at home, particularly in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, but you will find many items are cheaper in the UAE. Petrol is around 37p per litre, just a third of what you’ll pay in the UK. Cars and jewellery can also be substantially cheaper and there is no tax paid on luxury items. With a generous income and these savings to be made, you can live the high life for less in the UAE.
The UAE has so much offer potential expats. From dazzling career opportunities and a tax-free income to endless sunshine and a glamorous lifestyle, it is obvious why the UAE is ranked the number one destination for expats.
If you’re interested in life in the Emirates, you can find more information in our guide here: Moving to the UAE. Information on the LinkedIn survey can be found here: The Top 20 Countries Where People Are Moving For Work Based on LinkedIn Data.