all you need to know. living & working in dubai.

Fast facts about life in the world's most cosmopolitan city, for those considering a career at Randstad MENA. From working visas to holidays and leisure time, get the lowdown on living and working in Dubai to find out if it’s the right place for you.

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visas & permits.

To legally undertake employment and reside in Dubai you'll require both a work permit and a residency visa. You may also need to convert your current driving license into a local UAE license if you intend on driving. 


salary packages.

In many cases the famed 'expat package' or 'hardship allowance' is a thing of the past. Your remuneration and benefits will depend very much on the level of skill and experience you bring to your new role. 




housing & rentals.

Many expats in Dubai rent their accommodation, which can range from shared flats to private villas. Popular residential areas include the Dubai Marina, Jumeirah Lake Towers, Jumeirah Beach, The Palm, and Deira.



buying property.

While it wasn't possible for expats to purchase property in the UAE for many years, possibilities have now opened up across Dubai and Abu Dhabi in select residential developments. 


legal system.

Dubai has a robust legal system, based on the British law and civil law system with influences from Islamic, French, Roman, and Egyptian laws. Sharia law does exist, but is only used in specific circumstances. 



You will be paid in local currency, which is the Emirati dirham (AED). Although early 2009 saw the dramatic strengthening of many Middle Eastern currencies, the exchange rate is generally very stable against major currencies.



All the usual banking facilities are offered in the UAE, such as debit cards, credit cards, internet banking, mortgages, and so forth. However, it’s important to note that bad debt is taken very seriously by local authorities.


moving for work.

There are plenty of international moving companies which ship to Dubai. You should allow up to three months to transport your personal effects via sea, although it can take as little as one month for specialised services.



Facilities in Dubai's primary and secondary schools are generally of a very high standard. As all expat children will need to attend one of the city's many private schools, the pressure for places in some areas is high.



Healthcare standards in the UAE are very high, and you'll be provided with private medical cover. Sometimes you are required to pay up-front for medical care and later make a claim with your healthcare provider.



Islam is the official religion in the UAE, although most other religions are tolerated. It is important to respect Muslims and their beliefs, and understand that Islam permeates all elements of society.



It should be noted that every year, during the holy month of Ramadan, Muslims fast between sunrise and sunset, and business hours are reduced in both government agencies and private offices.



The official language of the United Arab Emirates is Arabic, although English is generally used in business. Hindi and Urdu are widely spoken amongst the expat population, as well as Tamil, Farsi, and Tagalog. 


standards of dress.

Forms of dress in the UAE are modest, in line with Islamic teachings. Men are expected to wear a jacket and tie for meetings, despite the heat, and women are expected to have hem-lines below the knee and shoulders covered.


holidays & travel.

The Middle East and North Africa offers a winning combination of the ancient and the new. The great explorers of an earlier age discovered extraordinary historic sites - 65 of UNESCO's world heritage sites are in the Arab States alone.


leisure facilities.

During the heat of the summer, there are a range indoor activities to choose from, such as go karting, ice skating, and theme parks. In the cooler winter months, pursuits such as water sports are popular as well as camping.