Living and working in the UAE is a rich learning experience for a variety of reasons – the United Arab Emirates is one of the most exciting countries in the world – the quality of life and the services available are non-comparable.

The UAE ranks among the top 10 destinations with regard to the quality of life and services offered and has been voted as one of the best places for ex-pats to settle.

As of 2021, the UAE was home to over 9 million people, with ex-pats making up 89% of the population across the 7 emirates.

In 2020, it was the only country to have three of its cities – Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Sharjah – voted as one of the top ten safest cities in the world. In 2021, Dubai was voted the safest place in the world for a woman to walk alone at night.

The response to COVID-19 has also meant a relatively normal life for most residents since the end of 2020 – while there are a few restrictions still in place, only one complete lockdown was required as vaccines were made readily available for residents from December 2020. By June 2022, 99.9% of the population were vaccinated against Covid-19.

With modern accommodation, state-of-the-art medical facilities, and excellent private education, the United Arab Emirates is consistently chosen by ex-pats as a country to reside in – with many taking the leap here even before securing employment.

The UAE is a multicultural country, home to over 200 nationalitiesand whether its pristine beaches and sporting activities or 5* fine-dining, travel, and shopping you like to do in your spare time, everything you could want is readily available here.

Not to mention convenience – you can have almost anything delivered directly to you – from medication and food to even petrol!

With modern accommodation, state-of-the-art medical facilities, and excellent private education, the United Arab Emirates is consistently chosen by ex-pats as a country to reside in – with many taking the leap here even before securing employment.

Most importantly, the trust, stability, and leadership qualities that the UAE imparts, help instill confidence in the country’s long-term future and its ability to deliver on its ever more ambitious plans.

Visas & Permits

To live and work in the UAE, you will require a residency and work permit. Your visa and required permits will be organized by your employer. 

A local driving license will be an added benefit – carrying your home country’s driver’s license will be helpful when applying for a local license and your employer will be able to provide you with a NOC letter if required.

Housing & Rentals

The traditional ex-pat package includes accommodation costs, but at times your remuneration package will include an element meant to cover these costs. 

Popular websites to search for accommodation are:


The traveling distances within the UAE are relatively short – a trip from Dubai to Abu Dhabi takes approximately 1 hour by car.

Car rentals:

The documents required to rent a car differ for residents and tourists. For example, rental car companies will usually require residents to submit copies of their passport, visa, UAE driving license, and Emirates ID.

Tourists, on the other hand, are required to submit the following documents:

  • Passport
  • Visit visa
  • International driving permit
  • Original driving license from their home country

Public Transport:

Traveling within the city limits is pretty good and always improving. There are bus services that run in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

The Dubai Metro is also a fantastic and cost-effective way to see the city. Taxis are plentiful and can be picked up roadside or by pre-booking by phone or app. Careem and Uber also operate here.

Schooling & Education

The quality of the UAE’s education system ranks among the top 20 globally and is a big reason ex-pats choose to live here. Your package might include an education allowance for your children and it’s important to consider where you will live and work when looking at schools. Edarabia is a useful source of information when it comes to reviewing school ratings and fees.

Money & Banking

Payment is usually made in local currency and will need a local bank account – your new employer will guide you on how to open a bank account here and provide all necessary documents. All the usual banking facilities are offered (debit cards, credit cards, internet banking, loans, mortgages, etc.) However please note that bad debt, bounced cheques, etc. are taken very seriously by the authorities and can result in criminal proceedings.

Telephone & Internet

The national and private telecom companies across the region provide state-of-the-art telephone and internet services. The payment for these services can be either pay as you go or on the account. Charges are very reasonable within the region, however, charges out of the region are quite expensive. Mobile coverage is extensive and very reliable – there are 3 main providers in the UAE – Du, Etisalat, and Virgin.


Arabic is the official language of the UAE, but English and other languages are widely spoken and understood in the country. Many other languages are also spoken in the UAE due to the high number of ex-pats in the region.

Religion, Culture & Restrictions

The official religion of the UAE is Islam. The culture mainly revolves around the religion of Islam, traditional Arab, and Bedouin. The influence of Islamic and Arab culture in particular has a prominent influence on the architecture, music, attire, cuisine, and lifestyle.

The culture of the UAE is much more relaxed than in many Western cultures. Alcohol is available for non-Muslims in bars, restaurants, and clubs.

In November 2021, HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, approved amendments to more than 40 laws in the UAE, the largest legislative reform in its history, effective January 2, 2022.

Dress Code

The UAE has a very varying degree of tolerance to clothing styles. A few legal guidelines are in place to state what is not acceptable by society in the UAE. One should dress modestly during the time of Ramadan to show respect for the local religion and customs. Wearing a headscarf or abaya is not mandatory and in general, you can mostly wear what you like keeping in mind a few of the local guidelines.


The UAE enjoys a sub-tropical climate and is sunny all year round, with just a few days of rainfall per year. June-September are the hottest months when the temperatures reach up to 45°C. It is very hot during the day along with high humidity levels. The lowest temperature in the winter season is 10°C to 14°C. It should be noted that AC is available almost everywhere indoors!

Must-have Apps

As we mentioned earlier, the UAE is a place of convenience and almost anything you need is just a tap away.

Here are some apps we suggest you download when you arrive!

  • Government: UAE Pass
  • Taxi’s: Careem | Uber
  • Travel: RTA (Dubai) | DARB (Abu Dhabi) | Waze
  • Food Delivery: Deliveroo | Zomato | Talabat
  • Supermarket, Grocery, and Pharmacy Delivery: Instashop | NowNow | Kibson’s
  • Fashion and Shopping: Noon | Namshi
  • Discounts: The Entertainer | Groupon | Privilee

Things to Do

The UAE has plenty of options when it comes to things to do, whether you prefer a chilled pool day, something high adrenaline or cultural – you will never be bored! Check out WhatsOn and Timeout.

Interested in Moving to the UAE?

Take a look at our latest vacancies here.