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Travel Information about Living and Working in Dubai

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Dubai is a destination in the Middle East those looking for Middle East jobs flock to for a few reasons.  The pay is much higher than an ex-pat can get in his or her home country.  Dubai is one of the more open cities in the Middle East.  Located in the UAE the city of Dubai is a cross between Las Vegas and Disney World.  With most of the other locations in the Middle East being much more conservative with laws that disallow the use, import, or purchase of alcoholic beverages Dubai has plenty of night clubs and bars one can go to if they want to unwind on the weekends and have a few drinks.  You can do pretty much anything you could do in any other place in the world from enjoying the nightlife to skiing at their indoor ski slope.  This all comes at a price though.  Dubai has a higher cost of living than most places an ex-pat will find work.  Their apartment prices are some of the highest in the world and some landlords expect you to pay for the whole year’s rent upfront rather than pay month to month like most other places.  If you are going to take a job in Dubai make sure you stay out of debt because if you lose your job and still owe money to a Dubai business you will be put on a no-fly list and be stuck in the country until you can pay it off.

Apartment Prices

A lot of companies that will hire you to work in Dubai will either place you in company housing or give you a housing allowance.  With the price of apartments so high in Dubai, I do not suggest taking a job with a company that does not provide you a cost of living allowance or housing and a vehicle allowance.  A furnished for room apartment will run you between $7,090 to $3,950 and an unfurnished three-room apartment cost between $4,930 and $2,880.  The UBS Prices and Earnings report for 2009 has $2,160 as the normal amount locals pay for rent.  The most affordable housing in Dubai will be the smaller apartments and may cost the same as a bigger place in Middle Eastern countries like Kuwait where you can get a three-room villa with a huge second room set up to be an office for under $1,800.  The average price for a Villa in Kuwait runs about $1,225 and you can find a two to the three-room apartment for around $875 and the pay in Kuwait is usually higher than the pay in Dubai.  With the high cost of an apartment in Dubai if you are responsible for your housing make sure your salary is high enough to cover the cost of your apartment and that living in a more liberal country is worth the extra money, you will be forking out to live in Dubai.

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Food Prices

Dubai is ranked as the 27th most expensive city to by groceries on the UBS report that covers the cost of living in 73 cities around the world.  It is far cheaper than Tokyo that is ranked the most expensive city on the UBS report but is still a little on the high side compared to places like Brussels, Toronto, Sydney, and Bangkok.

Clothing

The cost of a Women’s outfit including shoes is about $510 and a men’s outfit is about $720 including shoes.  These costs are a little over the global average according to the UBS report so if you have a cost of living allowance that more than covers your apartment and vehicle costs it should make up for any differences in the cost of clothing and food prices.

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Wages

The average wage in Dubai is about $10.10 an hour but with the cost of living in Dubai, you will need to make much more than that if you want to be able to build up your savings or pay of debt and still have a comfortable standard of living.  Having a cost of living allowance or company housing and a company car is pretty much a must if you are going to take a job here.  The tax ramifications of working here are great with no local income taxes but there are plenty of costs tacked onto services in Dubai.

Services

The cost of Services in Dubai is higher than any of the other cities on the UBS report that polls 73 cities around the world.  This cost can hit you pretty hard once you put all of the services you will use monthly like Cable, DSL, haircuts, dry cleaning, and other similar services that you will use on a monthly or weekly basis.

Electronics and Appliances

When it comes to Electronics and Appliances in Dubai chances are the price tag on these items will be considerably cheaper in Dubai than where you are from.  Unless you are from Mumbai, Jakarta, Bogota, Sofia, Santiago de Chile, Doha, Bucharest, Shanghai, Barcelona, Lisbon, Bangkok, Los Angeles, Delhi, or Miami these items are going to be cheaper in Dubai than your home country.

Transportation

The cost of transportation in Dubai is very low compared to most places around the world.  A popular car, Honda Civic, costs about $17,400 and an annual registration cost of about $136 makes owning your vehicle manageable in Dubai.  With the low cost of $0.40 a liter for gas if you can swing owning your vehicle the gas prices are going to be significantly lower than what you are paying in your home country or for most any other country you may decide to live in for that matter.

Public transportation is just as cheap when it comes to getting around in Dubai as the price for gas is if you are filing up your vehicle.  With a bus ticket only costing you about $0.73 for a 10 km journey or at least 10 stops and a taxi ride that will take you about 5km within city limits for about $4.27 Dubai is on the low end of transportation costs on the list of 73 cities on the UBS report.

View from an Expat

With your ability to net your gross income the lack of income tax boosts the value of your salary compared to other countries around the world.  If you can get your company to cover your housing and vehicle costs Dubai would not be a bad place to work in if you are making Middle East money.  You have to be careful of companies out there who try to get you to work in Dubai for less than you are worth.  Dubai may be a more liberal country where you will be able to enjoy pretty much the same things as you can in your home country but it is still in the Middle East.  If you are looking to work in the Middle East so you can have a big paycheck and can go without alcohol and night clubs Kuwait may be a better option for you.  Chances are you will make more money in Kuwait and the cost of living will be a bit lower.  If you can land a nice job in Dubai make sure you stay out of debt like mentioned at the beginning of the article.  Dubai is not a place to be in debt when you lose your job.  Stick to Credit cards from your home country and do not take out loans that you cannot pay in cash if you had to.  If you take a vehicle loan and halfway though you lose your job you better be able to pay the rest off or you may find yourself on a no-fly list.

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