It’s the most famous of the seven glittering kingdoms that comprise the UAE, and thousands of expats from all over the world have flocked to the emirate for a slice of its burgeoning economy. However, it seems people living in Dubai are facing a reality check and having to reign back their lifestyle of excess.
We’ve all read about the emirate’s failed construction attempts and faltering real estate economy. Some feel Dubai is falling apart as quickly as it was built.
The traditional reasons why Brits moved to – and stayed in – Dubai are starting to melt away in the scorching heat. Can the reality ever live up to the fantasy?
Cost of Living
Before the economic crisis of 2008, companies would offer lucrative financial bonuses as part of the expat relocation package. Now, the cynics in HR feel that the chance to live and work somewhere new is reward enough for moving your life to the desert.
As of August 1, the allure of super-cheap subsidised petrol may come to an end too, as the UAE deregulates the price of petrol in an attempt to support the economy, lower fuel consumption and promote more sustainable forms of transport.
No tax is the main benefit that brings expats to Dubai, but there’s talk that the UAE might soon consider a remittance tax, which would likely force many to reconsider their decision to live in the UAE.
For young families whose children are coming into their teens, there’s another issue. High cost of private secondary schools in the GCC region often becomes a problem after expats with young families have been there a few years and their company has ‘localised’ them – meaning less money because they’re no longer being paid to adjust to life in Dubai. Some expats can’t afford to pay for their children’s Dubai education when their company no longer covers it.
Expats enjoying the whirlwind social scene of expensive brunches and days at the mall are also likely to quickly spend that superior salary.
Working in Dubai: the bad
Recent news stories about unfair treatment of expat employees suggest that as multinationals open Middle East hubs, some leave their best-practice human resources policies behind because they are less likely to face consequences overseas.
Nepotism and the fact that business is all about relationships rather than skill in the Middle East can become frustrating and also deter career-driven expats who refuse to network.
Expats who struggle to adjust to the emirate’s traffic failures and ongoing construction may begin to wonder why they’re in Dubai. The summer expat exodus due to the heat could become a year-round silence due to these changes in Dubai’s economy.
Legalities for expats in Dubai
Expats can’t stay in the emirate when they retire as they don’t get citizenship which makes it difficult to plan a future in the country.
Being in the wrong place at the wrong time can result in trouble for some expats.
Expat spouses who have come to the emirate because their partner is on an international assignment may also find it difficult to cope with not being able to work in Dubai.
It’s not all bad news
One update to Dubai’s rules is going to benefit expatriates hugely. It is now every employer’s responsibility to provide their staff with a compliant health insurance plan.
Though small companies with under 100 employees have until July 2016 to comply, larger companies have already taken steps to protect their staff.
This means that Dubai is about to become a healthier, more secure nation to work – a change all expats are likely to welcome. However, employers aren’t liable for their staff’s families, meaning they are unlikely to provide health cover for your dependents. If this is the case, Health Insurance Dubai can help you find a plan that suits your family’s needs exactly, whether you need maternity cover or have pre-existing condition. Best of all, using our impartial health insurance advice is absolutely free!
Don’t make mistakes with medical cover in Dubai. Speak to the experts.