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  • Friday, September 28, 2012

    The UAE Expat Influx

    It’s clear – the UAE is preparing for a new wave of expats. They are returning back to the UAE.  It seems the sun and sea hold more lure than unemployment elsewhere. There is less opportunity in home countries, but there is a differing opportunity in the UAE. It feels as if it is being rebooted. It's no surprise that so many from the UK are choosing to move here, taking advantage of the relaxed tax laws, high-end salaries and appealing expat accommodation.

    In the state of Dubai alone, more than 90 per cent of its inhabitants are expats. Living in the UAE may be costly, but the benefits are certainly worth considering for professionals who are losing out to the tax man on British shores.

    In terms of property, expats have been permitted to buy real estate in the UAE since 2005 but many still choose to rent.  In cities like Dubai, the monthly rate is high – an equivalent of around £2000 for a one-bedroom flat in a locations such as Downtown Dubai with the plus side that there are excellent amenities.

    An apartment at Dubai Marina may afford you a better deal for a few hundred pounds cheaper. Some argue that the area is a little far out, but it’s not really – and the marina is a community in its own right. It is where Dubai has stretched out to.  As a comparison, Abu Dhabi tends to work out a little less expensive at under £1000 per month for a budget one-bed in the centre but remember that many landlords still expect payment upfront for the year (post-dated cheques however).

    Many have asked us recently what are the catches. It’s all about cost of living. Bills are charged on top of rent and tend to be regulated and therefore affordable – around £90 per month for 2 people sharing – but beware extra costs in more high-end accommodation for things like air-conditioning if it is not included.

    Shopping wisely at local markets will get you more for your money as groceries such as milk cost around 74p a litre and bread starts around 70p here. It's possible to buy enough food for two in a month with just over £200 in Dubai, although this will restrict you in terms of eating out more than once a week. Other costs to factor in are things like transport: it's near-essential to own a car for getting around, but the expense obviously depends on the model you drive. Average fuel costs are around £70 a month! – a far cry from UK petrol prices

    Documentation for visas should be filled out back home before arrival but are fairly straightforward for UK citizens. Once the process is fully completed, banking in the UAE is also uncomplicated; opening current accounts here involves the usual processes. Find out more about personal banking services from HSBC, which has a number of branches in the UAE.

    The appeal of living in this part of the world is plain to see and there are some even more attractive employment packages including accommodation being offered to ex-pats who have landed jobs prior to emigrating.

    Of course, this means it's a popular move to make and competition is increasing for those seeking jobs on arrival, so make use of tools like expat forums to get the latest word-of-mouth information on opportunities. Friends can be invaluable when relocating and advice from people who have been through similar situations can make the difference between struggling somewhere and settling in with ease. For the new wave of expats, enjoy your stay. You may be transient for a few years – or you may become an old timer! 

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