dubai vs london

Dubai vs London for US expats

Dubai has replaced London as the most attractive destination for US expats looking for work overseas.

Google search results show that people in America who are typing ‘Jobs in …’ to the search engine are most frequently ending the search in ‘Dubai’.

In fact, the emirate has now knocked London off the top spot for wannabe expats as professionals from the US become even more globally mobile and open to living in other regions.

It’s easy to see why US expatriates looking to relocate are choosing the UAE over Britain. People from the United States currently count for approximately 40,000 of the 7.8 million expats working in the UAE and the number is set to rise as more US citizens move abroad to avoid the cost of complying with the US tax and banking regulations.

Dubai vs London


Dubai: Warm year round, with temperatures soaring so high in summers that many expats fly home to cool off.

London: Lucky if you get sunny enough weather for one weekend BBQ during the Great British summer. Lots of rain.

Cost of living

Okay, they’re both expensive when it comes to accommodation and social events. However, while London keeps hitting headlines for extortionate and tiny flats, Dubai’s property is becoming more affordable. Additionally, the recent change to inheritance laws in Dubai mean more expats are likely to invest in property there. Petrol is also cheaper in Dubai.

Family Life

Dubai is a safe place to live despite its Middle East location and its government strives to promote family-centred living. The downside is that international school fees are high if your company isn’t footing the bill.

London’s crime rate is high and with extortionate property prices, a safe, enclosed outdoor space or garden for kids to play is going to cost. In 2010, Britain was voted the worst place for expats to bring up kids. However, good education is free.


London may boast a more evident history and greater number of museums than it’s Gulf counterpart but Dubai isn’t all about the present. Away from the Hollywood-esque skyline, many expats choose to live in areas where they will still meet old men sipping tea outside their homes and wake up to camels ambling past their window.

Friday Brunches shape the weekend in Dubai, with extravagant buffets, copious courses and unlimited alcohol for a set price.

Working culture

89% of Dubai’s population are expats, creating a unique multicultural environment in the workplace. Business etiquette does differ from that in the West, but many US expatriates enjoy the focus on personal relationships that drives deals forward.

London has thus far boasted a more dynamic work environment that Dubai in terms of opportunities and pace but this is set to change as the emirate evolves into an economic hub of activity.

To find out more about business etiquette and working culture in Dubai, read our guide.


Remember, though your employer is legally required to provide you with compliant health insurance for your time in Dubai, it’s not your company’s job to cover your family’s medical bills. Speak to the experts at Health Insurance Dubai, who can guide you to the best plan for your particular needs, whether that be maternity cover or cover for pre-existing conditions. Our service is completely free and we’re an impartial broker. 

Get health insurance advice today.

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