Many people are attracted to working in the UAE because of the various financial benefits. Expats are often sponsored to work on a contract basis for a fixed period of time, while earnings are tax-free and there will also be an end-of-service gratuity paid when you leave the role.
It’s certainly an excellent way to earn money and a role abroad can look great on your CV but whether it’s freelance work in Dubai or an exciting career development, it’s worth being aware of the requirements and what your expectations should be for working and living in Dubai.
If you're looking to make a permanent move over and purchase property, read our full guide on how to buy a house in Dubai.
How to find a job in Dubai
There are recruiters all over the world that specialise in placing individuals in Dubai and across the UAE, so you may not need to travel for your job search. However, it is likely you may need to make at least one trip over there, either as a final interview or to complete the required paperwork before you make the big move.
There are major businesses in Dubai offering a broad range of employment opportunities across different disciplines. Many of these major corporations advertise their vacancies online and via online job sites. Interviews often take place over Skype and video chat, so make sure you’ve practised your interview skills in that setting.
When you’re looking for work in Dubai, be aware that it’s a very competitive market; recruiters and employers will be looking for candidates who stand out from the crowd. You may also benefit from networking – if you can’t get out to meet people in Dubai, make use of your LinkedIn connections and build an online network to assist in your job search and your career.
Can I move to Dubai without a job?
You can visit Dubai to find work on a tourist visa, but if you’re planning to work in Dubai, you will need a work visa. It is possible to transfer your visa from a tourist visa, issued when you arrive, to a working visa while you’re in-country. Visitors from the UK can stay for 90 days but any longer stay will require a visa.
Make sure that you have all your paperwork in order as you are at risk of being deported, fined or even jailed if you don’t have the paperwork in place for working and living in Dubai.
How do I gain a visa for working and living in Dubai?
If you work for a Dubai employer, they may take care of your work visa once you’ve signed a contract, however this isn’t the only paperwork you’ll need if you’re moving to Dubai.
Whether you work for a Dubai-based business or plan to undertake freelance work in Dubai, you’ll need to apply for a health card to the Department of Health and Medical Services. You’ll need to submit copies of your medical records, passport, work offer and visa application for working in Dubai. In addition, you must take a blood test to rule out a range of diseases. The health card is mandatory for all foreign workers, so it’s important to make sure you get this completed in time.
Medical records and other paperwork is also required for a labor card, issued by the Minister of Labor. You’ll also need to apply in person for a residence visa and at that point, which requires proof of your work visa and employment, labor and medical cards to progress the application.
Freelance work in Dubai
If you’re planning to freelance in Dubai, make sure you’ve done your research. The business culture of freelancing abroad may be different to what you’re used to, even within an industry in which you have experience.
In addition, not having an official employer makes it harder to find an official sponsor. If you’re contracting in Dubai, you may find that your employer will act as a sponsor but if you’re looking for longer-term freelance work then you may need to consider other connections who can support your visa applications.
International payments while living in Dubai
If you’re planning to work in Dubai and send money back to the UK, we can help you when you’re transferring funds for a nest egg or to maintain your UK bills while you work on a contract. Signing up to Moneycorp offers great rates, low fees and a secure online account to help you make the most of your money when making an online money transfer abroad.
Read our guide on working abroad to find out how we can help with your international payments regardless of where you move.