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Living in United Arab Emirates: Expat Guide From Globaleye

The United Arab Emirates is very much a worldly country; after all, of the over 8.2 million people living there, roughly 17 percent are local Emiratis with the rest of the population being expats. While a great deal of expats are Indian and Pakistani, a large and constant influx of Brits are coming to the UAE, and most of them living in the financial hubs of Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Sharjah.
For the past 8 years the rate of UK expats moving to the UAE has stayed constant at over 10,000 a year, while also steadily rising as jobs in energy, tourism, construction and architecture, banking and other international trades have come to find the UAE as their new corporate home. And the wages are so good that less than 700 Brits are drawing from their UK state pensions.
While moving away from one’s country of birth can sometimes be a melancholy choice, trading the UK’s less than ideal winter weather for the UAE’s sunny skies, warm sandy beaches and pristine water makes coping with homesickness much easier. And although living expenses can be a bit high in places, especially Abu Dhabi, it’s still much more affordable to obtain a higher quality of life in the UAE than the UK, and that’s thanks to generous tax laws, you don’t have to pay any income tax to the UAE on money earned in the emirates.
If you’re planning on, or contemplating going to the UAE, whether for work or just for pleasure, there are a few things you should know and Globaleye can help.
Before you go you’ll need to apply for a visa, and each Emirate issues them separately. Along with the visa, if you intend to work in the UAE, a work permit, residence visa and Emirates ID card are obligatory. Employers will generally take care of this for you, but always double check to make sure nothing has been left out. And keep in mind for a residence visa, which is valid for two years, you must prove your salary is no less than AED 4,000 (£288) a month. Also, if you’re family will be moving with you, all birth and marriage certificates must be legalized by the UK Foreign Office, because you must be married to live with a partner in the UAE.
Unfortunately the UAE does not offer any pensioner visa, however if you are looking to retire there and can find someone who’s working there and earns enough so that they can sponsor you, it’s possible to obtain a visa that way. But keep in mind that once you move to the UAE and begin drawing from a UK state pension, the level it was at when you left the UK will be frozen, rather than growing each year.
Lastly, make sure to check that your employer has your medical insurance covered, such coverage is mandatory and you have a legal right to it. If you’re just visiting, you’ll still need to buy the most basic health insurance available upon entering the country.
Beyond those basics everything is very accessible in the UAE and while the official language is Arabic, English is commonly spoken, so if don’t expect to have any difficulty finding lodging, explaining directions to taxi drivers, or doing day to day activities.