Living in Dubai: Cost of Living, Pros and Cons and Other Tips
Starting a new life in the United Arab Emirates
Living in Dubai is the dream of many people. This lively and warm city is the capital of United Arab Emirates and attracts around 20 million visitors from all over the world every year. Dubai is full of hotels, restaurants, tourist facilities and much more. Here, both curious luxury travel enthusiasts and the world’s richest people come.
Dubai is, however, not only a wonderful holiday destination: in fact, for years now, entrepreneurs, investorsbusinessmen and workers have realised the enormous advantages of living in Dubaiwhere the cost of living is facilitated by low taxation (there is no VAT), lower transport costs and a fast-growing economy.
Dubai is the meeting of primordial, arid nature and unbridled Western-style luxury. On the one hand one can organise a desert excursion, on the other enjoy an exclusive dinner on the top floor of a skyscraper.
This guide is dedicated to all those people who, for business or personal pleasure, decide to going to live in Dubaialone, as a couple or with one’s family.
We will see together what it is like to live in this hot UAE city, what the working in Dubaiwhat the cost of living is compared to Italy and some of the steps required to move to this pearl of the Persian Gulf.
Maybe you too fell in love with Dubai after a few days’ trip to the wonderful capital and really couldn’t do without such a dynamic reality.
You’ve fallen in love with the climate, the reliable public transport, the security and you really want to change your life. If you’re thinking of moving to Dubai soon, take a look at this guide, where you’ll find some information on life, costs and services in Dubai.
What life is like in Dubai
In this paragraph we will address everything you need to know about living in Dubai.
Dubai is a crazy place to move to, and the reasons are many: the days of the year are all warm or mild, there are all the attractions you want, there is never a dull moment, of course there is no shortage of the cultural side of the Arab world, and you can even go to the endless suburbs to find some peace and quiet. There is absolutely nothing missing here, neither for a stay nor for a permanent move.
What it means, though, to go and live in Dubai?
Let’s start by saying that living in Dubai means coming to terms with its surroundings: the city overlooks the Persian Gulf coast and is surrounded by desert. Summer, therefore, really becomes warmoften touching 50 degrees.
However, the city is modern, full of attractions, multicultural (foreigners make up about 90% of the population), so beautiful and engaging that it is even easy to forget the torrid climate.
Multiculturalism, however, is certainly an advantage to meet people from all over the world, but there is still the idea that expats are second-class citizens. Indeed, certain categories of workers, such as those from Asia, are less valued in society and tend to create separate ethnic groups.
Another disadvantage of Dubai besides the oppressive heat is the traffic. Driving in Dubai can be very stressful because of distractions and other careless drivers. It is therefore advisable to use public transport.
For the rest, life in Dubai is not so different from life in the West. Of course, according to the rules of Islam, it is forbidden to drink alcohol in public, to eat in front of those who are consuming Ramadan, and to exchange effusions in public.
So, before leaving for Dubai, you have to forget all Western prejudices about the Arab world, because the mentality of this city is very open, given the number of new expats who reach it every year.
Living in Dubai also means choosing a very smart reality: here, you can find modernity, free wifi everywhere, citizen services in all streets and much more.
Cost of living in Dubai
One of the positives of living in Dubai is certainly the presence of many tax concessions. This is one of the reasons that, although life in Dubai may be a bit more expensive, contribute to making this city a great place to live.
La coin of the Emirates is the AED, which currently has an exchange rate of about 1€ = 4 AED.
The biggest problem in this period is rising rental costsgiven the growth of expats. Housing is also becoming less and less available, even though the city is always trying to offer new possibilities for living and not turning away any workers. The cost of a rent in Dubai, in fact, does not fall below €900 per month.
Buying a flat is also expensive, as each square metre can cost at least €2,000, but it is also an excellent investment. The utilities are certainly no different, and it is essential to assess your budget well in order to understand exactly which solution is best for your pocket.
However, the cost of renting is not an insurmountable problem: Dubai is not so much more expensive than other metropolises in the worldincluding Milan, counting that salaries in the capital of the Emirates are far higher than in other parts of Europe. If we want to make a comparison, New York is also more expensive than Dubai.
Working in Dubai
Many expats have realised the advantages of moving to Dubaicareer opportunities are much higher than in Italy and other countries around the world, precisely because the UAE is still a growing, relatively young and dynamic country.
The sectors of greatest interest are banking, finance, healthcare and also professions such as architects, engineers, tour operators, lawyers and artisans.
What appeals to Italian workers who decide to go and live in Dubai is above all the possibility of earning high salaries for very low taxes.
The Emirates possess the tenth highest per capita income in the World, thanks to the export of natural resources, such as oil. Not only that: tourism is obviously another source of economic revenues very important for the city.
The Emirati government is definitely business-oriented, betting everything on investment and production, taking advantage of state-of-the-art infrastructure and a vast territory.
The world of work offers many advantages to the worker who decides to move to Dubai, such as high salaries, a multicultural environment in which to give one’s best, company-paid trips home and recommendations for future jobs in the home country.
The requirements for working in Dubai are knowledge of English and good health. In fact, before being issued permits to go to the capital, the expat must undergo compulsory clinical analysesto exclude serious diseases such as, for example, AIDS.
Spending retirement in Dubai
When the working years are long enough to enjoy the pensionThere is nothing better than living in a warm city full of useful amenities. In Dubai, there is also nothing lacking for people who decide to spend their old age in a new place.
In this regard, there is a visa regime in Dubai, initially aimed at current residents, which has been extended to people who want to spend their retirement right in the city, to enjoy the year-round sunshine and the many activities on offer.
Living in Dubai with family
Many expats decide to moving to Dubai with the whole family. First of all because of the level of security offered to citizens, ideal for those with young children.
The city is equipped with very large neighbourhoodswith beautiful green spaces where you can walk at weekends and take the children to play, wide streets with safe pedestrian spaces away from cars.
There is also no shortage of excellent dedicated facilities for children and the best schools one could wish for. However, quality is something you always pay for: facilities for the little ones, such as amusement parks, kindergartens, gyms, etc., require a not inconsiderable outlay.
Without sponsors, i.e. without a company to provide a high salary and all the benefits for schools, kindergartens and medical expenses, it is not possible to live in any of the Emirates.
As far as non-economically oriented education is concerned, several schools are available with internationality-based teaching to prepare pupils for a multicultural environment.
Services in Dubai
Another advantage of Dubai is the services. Let’s start with transport: the city has metro and tram lines serving all parts of the centre and suburbs. They are clean and cost the right amount, from 3 to 7 AED, or 0.70 cents to almost 2€. It is a good alternative to not using the car and driving through the busy streets of the city.
As for thehealthcareit must be borne in mind that there is no public service. As in the United States, medical expenses are not borne by the state because the healthcare system is private. However, we are talking about services of excellent quality.
Some companies also offer health insurance benefits to help employees.
Why move to Dubai?
Dubai offers many different landscapes and this means being able to take advantage of many activities: the metropolis overlooks the sea, is full of shops, historical sites, attractions, and beaches. In addition, there are so many different cultures present that it is almost impossible not to feel welcome and at home.
The majority of the population comes from Central Asia, but the proportion of workers from Italy is also growing by leaps and bounds, mainly because of the beauty of the place and the tax breaks. The positive side of this multiculturalism is theabsence of discrimination and mutual respect between natives and immigrants.
Dispelling a widespread myth among Westerners, women here have a fundamental role in society and the local people respect them. Muslim girls dress traditionally, while foreigners are not obliged to wear burqas or veils.
Skirts, t-shirts, short trousers are indeed allowed, but care should always be taken in places of worship, on prayer days, such as Fridays, and when entering public places that require coverage of certain parts of the body, such as the shoulders. Bikinis are also allowed on the beach, as long as they are simple and not too provocative. However, toplessness is forbidden.
Even men, however, must abide by certain dress codes, such as not walking around the city shirtless. Drinking alcohol or showing effusions in public are also forbidden.
Returning to the discourse on the female gender, western women can go about their lives in peacewalking alone, at any time of the day, but still observing certain rules of dress required by the Islamic community in places of worship and during prayer days.
In the city there are also areas specifically dedicated to womensuch as less crowded spots on public transport, preferential lanes in offices and priority if pregnant or accompanied by children.
Also with regard to the sentimental life, Dubai has almost the same rules as the West: couples can cohabit without marriage, marry and divorce freely. Remember, however, to exchange cuddles at home and not in public, because, we remind you, effusions in public are forbidden in Dubai.
In Dubai, one is never bored, neither on holiday nor during a much longer stay. Especially those who love summer destinations that are warm, with access to the sea and always sunny. Although the summer months are torrid and not easy to bear, the part of the year that should coincide with winter presents a mild and pleasant climate.
On a more serious topic, Dubai is known for its high level of security.
Documents needed to move to Dubai
One somewhat negative side of life in Dubai is the management of the bureaucracy. Figuring out which office to turn to is by no means simple, while the processes for obtaining documents may often prove long and difficult.
The rules change frequently, as the country is growing rapidly, so obtaining the necessary documents to live and work in Dubai may require some patience. As in the countries of North Africa and the Middle East, documentation in Arabic must also be translated in the UAE and it is not enough to have a native speaker friend. You need translators who are experts in legal, tax and bureaucratic matters. All this, of course, comes at a cost.
Regardless of the complexity of Arab bureaucracy, let us indicate what documents are needed to live in Dubai. To live in the capital of the United Arab Emirates you need a valid passport and an appropriate visa or work permit. For this second document, it is usually the company where the expat is employed that takes care of obtaining the visa.
To live in Dubai, in particular, you need the Labour Card, in addition to the residence visa. These are essential to be able to reside and work legally in the UAE and are valid for three years (compared to other work visas that usually last only a few months).
Before leaving, however, it is a good idea to contact theArab Embassy in Italy and ask for information, as laws are constantly being updated.
Today, there are more than 10,000 Italians in Dubai and thanks to social networks, it is possible to get in touch with them and get useful information for moving to a new country.
It is always a good idea, in fact, before moving to any foreign country, to seek advice on how to manage one’s future life, resolve any doubts that may arise, and seek information on all the reasons that make Dubai an attractive destination to find new opportunities.
Living in Dubai is a life-changing experience and, before you leave, it is good to know everything you need to know so you never fall into bureaucratic or other mistakes. The pros are many and we hope this short guide has been helpful to you as you move to a crazy, bustling city.