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21 THINGS A JOB-SEEKER IN THE UAE SHOULD KNOW

Moving to the UAE seems like a lucrative option to most of the expats living in various corners of the world. But, right from the working environment to the living conditions, there are various things you need to know about this exotic cluster of seven well-woven emirates.
Let’s take a look at some of the important ones.
1) VISA and Passport: 
All expats require a Passport and a work VISA valid for a minimum three months to enter the UAE. The work VISA and the permit will be arranged by your employer if you have a job beforehand in any of the emirates. Moreover, if you are an expat resident working full time, your spouse can easily gain a work permit for a part time job.

 2) Currency: 
The currency in UAE is Dirhams (Dhs) also known as AED (Arab emirate Dirham) which is divided into 100 fils. You can find Money exchanges all over the UAE in various shopping centers and malls.

3) Working hours: 
Working hours in the UAE are nine hours per day (8.30 am to 5.30 pm or 9 am to 6 pm). People typically work 47 hours per week in the UAE.

4) Remuneration: 
According to a survey, the average salaries in the UAE are:
– Engineering Sector: 25,000 Dirham per annum
– Finance Sector: 55,000 Dirham per annum
– Real estate sector: 35,000 Dirham per annum
– Facilities management: 40,000 Dirham per annum
– Healthcare Sector: 55-80,000 Dirham per annum
– Information Technology: 20,000 Dirham per annum

5) Vacations while working: 
Every employee working in this region is usually allowed 30 calendar days of leave per year. These generally account for 22 days of paid vacation. However, employees are not entitled to a paid sick leave during the probation period. Once you complete this period a full-pay sick leave can be claimed for 15 days per year.

6) Pay entitlements: 
There are various pay entitlements like End of service gratuity which are provided to an expat working in the UAE. An employee working for more than one year is entitled to claim ESG payments, which are 21 days’ salary for each year of the first five years of service and 30 days’ salary for each additional year of service.

7) Tax and Tipping: 
A major reason why a number of expats are able to comfortably enjoy their salary is the absence of any kind of tax whatsoever. The UAE is tax free. However, you may find a lot of hotels and clubs adding a 10-15% service charge on the bill, therefore tipping isn’t necessary. If a service charge is not included, you can add 10% to the bill and pay accordingly.

8) Cost of living:
The cost of living in majority of the cities in the UAE had fallen to a great extent during the year 2013. However,  The Cost of Living Survey for 2014 by Mercer, reveals that Dubai ranks 67th, which is 23 places higher than its 90th rank in 2013.
Moreover, the accommodation cost in the region are increasing, not only in the UAE, but across all of the middle-east. However, expats living here will have to pay a hefty amount, in case they want to go for luxury goods or international brand names.
 9) Transportation: 
With ample modes of public and private transport available, commutation is quite convenient in the UAE. Bus services like Dubaibus in Dubai and Mowasalat in Sharjah provide the civilians and other people with a comfortable and cheap conveyance alternative.
A metro project has been started in Dubai to make transportation much easier and comfortable.
With 21 airports in the country, air services are also quite efficient in the country. However, Dubai International and Abu Dhabi international airport stand as the biggest ones in the region.
10) Safety: 
The UAE is one of the safest places on the globe. With stringent laws and strict norms placed in order, the UAE also claims to have the safest and most secure international travel industry.
However, you can keep few things in the mind like ignoring unwelcome comments, avoiding swimming alone at public beaches, not wearing revealing clothes away from the beaches or resorts etc., to keep yourself safe.

 11) Health Care: 
The health care in UAE is quite efficacious with 40 public hospitals to serve the population. For example, a state-of-the-art general hospital has been opened in Abu Dhabi with a projected bed capacity of 143, a trauma unit and the first home health care program in the country. However, you can be precautious regarding various common hazards like sunburn and dehydration to avoid any health related problem.

12) Language: 
The most widely accepted and official language in the UAE is Arabic. Right from your employment contract to the lease agreement you sign with your landlord, Arabic will be the most widely used language you’ll find. But due to majority of workforce comprising of expat population, English is widely spoken too. Most of the airlines, hotels, malls and restaurants prefer employing multilingual workers.

13) Religion: 
Being a Muslim dominated country, Islam is the official religion in this country. However, any organization or the government authorities in the UAE are tolerant to all religions. Every religion is equally respected.
They remain open all week for except Fridays and Sundays, from 8 am to 1 pm and 4.30 pm to 8.30 pm.
14) Multi-cultural society: 
Owing to the fact that majority of the workforce in the UAE is that of the expats, you’ll find yourself between people coming from all over the world.
So you might have a multi-cultural experience with plentiful opportunities to learn about various religions, countries, people and ideologies.
15) Social conventions:
Social conventions in the UAE include observing and respecting Islamic laws wherever possible. Men are expected to dress formally and woman should dress modestly for most of the occasions. For instance, in Dubai less moderate attire is acceptable only within the hotels. Smoking is allowed in certain designated areas, except for Ramadan when eating, drinking or smoking in public is illegal.

In places like Sharjah, alcohol is strictly prohibited. Couples staying together should be married and should be conservative in their dressing style. Photography is also a hitch, as you’ll have to take permissions before photographing in areas like airports, docks, government buildings, industrial installations etc.
16) Opportunities for Women: 
The UAE has a lot of expat women working for them who enjoy a special status in the country. Though, things like shaking hands during business meetings is common, but you may find Muslim women not following this convention.

It may also happen that the expat women are advised to avoid any kind of physical touch during any business meeting. In countries like Bahrain, women also have to take the consent of their husbands prior to applying for a job in any of the organizations.
17) Leisure and Sports: 
There are a number of leisure and sports activity preferred by the people in the UAE. Including adventurous explorations of various terrains like mountains and deserts, you can also take part in the Abu Dhabi Triathlon or Dubai Marathon. Other sports like Camel Racing, Canoeing or Kayaking, Car rallying, Cricket, Football and Golf are also played in the country.

In addition to this, various events like Sharjah international book fair which is a ten-day event happening annually since the past 30 years, are also organized in the country.
18) Holiday Destinations: 
Being home to engineering marvels like the BurjKhalifa in Dubai, the UAE stands as one of the most enriched countries full of exotic holiday destinations.

Others include Jebel Hafeet (Abu Dhabi), Al-Bidyah Mosque (Fujairah), Sharjah art museum (Sharjah) and Bastakia (Dubai).
19) Climate: 
The UAE is known for its sub-tropical and arid climate. While staying in this country you can enjoy sunny and clear days for all 365 days in the year. For instance, the temperature in capital-Abu Dhabi, during the winter months (November-April) reaches an average of 24 degree Celsius (75 degree Fahrenheit). Summers are often hot (49 degree Celsius) with night time average of 28 degree Fahrenheit.

20) Local time and Code: 
The time zone in UAE is approximately GMT+ 04.00. As compared to Indian time UAE is 1.5 hours behind IST. The international country code is +971.

21) Food: 
Emirati cuisine are considered to be a blend of various middle-eastern and Asian dishes. Dishes like Shawarma, Hummous, and Tabbouleh etc. are some of the famous Emirati cuisines. Due to harsh and dry conditions, the traditional food includes meat, grain and dairy products.

As quite clear from the discussion above, like all countries, working and living in the UAE has certain pros and cons. But, life here can be made quite blissful if one sticks to the norms and blends in comfortably.

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