Helpful hints for new expat arrivals in Dubai

Helpful hints for new expat arrivals in Dubai

Helpful hints for new expat arrivals in Dubai

Settling down in Dubai is made easier by taking on advance knowledge of its lifestyle, culture and working hours.

Dubai is a fascinating city for its architecture, ambience and dramatic desert setting, and is perennially popular as an expat professional destination for its luxury lifestyle as well as its career opportunities. However, it’s a very different place than most other expatriate hubs, and may take some time to get used to.

Essential tips on surviving the first few months make life easier for all. Some of the most important rules to follow for expats in Dubai apply to the annual religious month of Ramadan. Perhaps the most difficult to get used to is the ban on eating and drinking between sun-up and sun-down, compensated for by a food-fest in restaurants all across the city once darkness falls.

Working hours are trimmed to six each day to counter the effects of hunger and thirst, and all expats must obey these rules. Outside Ramadan, alcohol is only legal at a certain number of hotels and restaurants with licenses.

Here in Dubai, your daily news isn’t what it was at home, as the local media is controlled by rules set by the goverment. Talking on air or in the media about the ruling family, the emirate’s politics and especially about sex is an absolute no-no, although Twitter and Flicker are now unblocked after a period of being unavailable. Dubai doesn’t have political parties as the entire region is managed by the country’s ruler, his Prime Minster and his President.

The good news is that Dubai is totally tax free, meaning that as well as keeping all of your salary, there’s no sales tax on anything and no forms to fill in! It’s well-known that Dubai is a safe destination for female expats, with services including women-only taxis, family beaches allowing only women and children, women-only hotels and some Metro carriages. Obviously, there are rules about skimpy beachwear as well as daywear.

An important plus-point is that English is well and truly the second language all across the UAE, including Dubai. Given the terrifying thought of being forced to learn Arabic, it’s just as well that Emirati professionals and others are more than happy to converse in English, to the extent that you’ll hear the language far more than you’ll hear Arabic. Another bonus for expat drivers, particularly those from Europe, is that petrol is cheap at the equivalent of 50 cents per litre.

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