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The top destinations for expats in the UAE are the buzzing cities of Dubai and Abu Dhabi which offer many exciting opportunities for professionals. Although the cost of living is relatively high, the soaring salaries make life affordable.
An estimated 240,000 Britons live in Dubai and many British tourists choose to holiday in the Gulf state.
British expats will need to be prepared for the heat which can reach temperatures of 40 degrees in summer.
Expats shared their top tips and advice for settling in Dubai with the HSBC Expat Explorer survey.
One said: “The most important thing is, know your laws, some may seem restrictive, others not and don’t be intimidated by the local people or believe in stereotypes.
“You can learn a lot from them and expand your cultural horizon and empathy.”
Expats moving to the UAE will need to be respectful of local laws and customs which may be very different from what they’re used to.
Non-Muslim residents can get a liquor licence to drink alochol at home and in licensed venues.
Expats will be able to drink in licensed venues, including bars and restaurants, but must never be drunk or drink in public.
Swimming attire should only be worn on beaches or at a swimming pool and clothing should be modest outside of the home.
Swearing and making rude gestures are considered obscene acts and people can be jailed for doing so.
British expats should check the UK Government website if they are unsure of a rule in the UAE.
Another expat added: “Be aware of the dos and don’ts considering that it is a Muslim country.”
While the UAE is known for its high salaries, some expats warned there are many “hidden costs”.
One said: ”Talk to people residing in the country to understand the cost of living, social life etc and evaluate if you will earn the same or better and then decide.
“Do not just look at salary in isolation or no tax structure. There are plenty of hidden costs.”
Another expat warned: “Accommodation will cost way more than any company HR department will let on, check prices before you come and add 10 percent for local fees and several thousands dirhams per month for utilities.”
Despite the challenges of starting a new life in the UAE, expats also had many good points to share.
One said: “Dubai is famous for holding many world records, such as the tallest building, largest shopping mall etc so take advantage of these history-making things, as well as experiencing the local culture in rural areas near Dubai.”
Dubai recently unveiled the Ain Dubai, the world’s highest observation wheel at 250m high.
Another expat advised newcomers to explore beyond Dubai and Abu Dhabi: “Explore the different emirates at least every month for the first year. It will give you more understanding of its culture.
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