Relocation Fact File: Dubai

Relocation Fact File: Dubai

Key Industries:

Dubai is the premier business gateway for the Middle East and Africa. While Dubai’s economy was initially built on petrodollars, revenue from petroleum and natural gas currently account for less than two percent of Dubai’s gross domestic product. It is an emirate which has put a premium on diversifying its economic profile, so opportunities abound in every conceivable discipline. However, the most prominent growth industry in recent years has been tourism; the construction of hotels and real estate development stem from this growth.

Income Tax Rates

The entirety of the United Arab Emirates does not have any federal income tax on wages or salaries. Rather, each individual emirate, Dubai included, can impose income taxes. None of these do however.  It is also very unlikely for this policy to change in the near future.

Visa Information

A residence visa is a prerequisite for expatriates to live in Dubai. While a residence visa is not the same as a work permit, it is usually sponsored by the company employing the expatriate. A residence visa is mandatory to open a bank account in the United Arab Emirates, get a driving license and to register a car. In most cases, the residence visa is valid for two years. For investors, this is extended to three years.

A work permit (also known as a Labour Card) can only be acquired once a residence visa is obtained.

The applicant would need to provide the following:

  • Photograph of applicant
  • Passport (with at least six months validity) and residency visa
  • Valid health certificate
  • Photocopy of sponsoring company’s trade licence
  • Three copies of employment contract with signatures of employee and employer
  • Copies of professional qualifications

More details and further information can found here:

Main Relocation Costs

 The biggest expenses to expectwhen relocating to this global city come out of the necessity of transportation. Owning a car is more essential in Dubai than it may be in other global hotspots such as Bangkok or New York City. Fortunately, petrol isrelatively cheap in comparison, making this cost easier to cope with. Other significant costs can be seen in accommodation, given the rising prices seen in the housing market.

Cost of Living

The 2014 Worldwide Cost of Living survey produced by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) shows that living in Dubai has become a bit more expensive than in years’ past, but still very affordable by global city standards. Dubai’s cost of living rank inched up from No. 96 last year among 131 metropolitan cities surveyed to No. 94 this year. The emirate remains in the bottom one-third among global cities in terms of cost of living.

Lifestyle Synopsis

When you’re off the clock, Dubai offers a lot to see and explore. Dubai boasts museums, film festivals, art festivals and sporting events. To experience a taste of Emirati life, there are also the souks, desert safaris, dune bashing, camel riding and pearl diving encounters. Expats can also “shop ‘til they drop,” as Dubai is a shopping destination with a mall on nearly every corner. Anything and everything can be found within Dubai to suit your proclivities.

Private Schooling Fees:

Private education costs have a wide variety, given the vast variety of curriculum standards and schooling characteristics. Some institutions, such as the Bilva Indian School, cost as little as US$3300 annually. Other schools, such as the Kings Nad Al Sheba, can be as expensive as US$28000 per year. Private schooling options are abundant, so the severity of these fees is all dependent on what parents desire out of their children’s education.

Expat Community:

The expat community in Dubai is a blend from nationalities all around the globe. Among the largest communities come from the United Kingdom, the United States, Bangladesh, India, Russia, and Saudi Arabia.


Dubai is already considered one of the top destinations to live globally. Even so, it still has a lot on the horizon. With upcoming projects set to consist of the likes of Expo 2020, the Dubai Tram, Quran Park, and the new Dolphinarium Swimming Pool in Creek Park, new and exciting attractions are always around the corner.

With all that Dubai has to offer, it’s no surprise that it has become a global hub for expatriates. Will you join their ranks?