Rebekah Allen global, locations, Abu Dhabi...
Considering an overseas move can be daunting, regardless of where you are looking to go. Dubai is known by many to be a luxurious, tax-free haven but it is also the subject of scrutiny when it comes to actually living and working there, particularly if you are an expat. Having recently visited Dubai, we were able to get to the bottom of some of these myths!
1. Aside from the glamour and tourist attractions, what is it really like to live and work in Dubai?
We met with several lawyers throughout the trip, many of whom we had assisted in moving there, and asked them how they were settling in to life in the UAE. One of our recent candidates, who had moved to Dubai September 2018, seemed to be having the time of her life. Having moved across knowing few people in the region, she now has a good network of friends and colleagues and is frequently attending beach parties and brunches on the weekends!
Others told us that they frequently travel to neighbouring countries such as Lebanon, which is renowned for amazing food and large parties! Sometimes it is nice to get away from work and spend a weekend elsewhere. Other popular destinations included Oman – known for its peaceful atmosphere.
2. Will there be expats like me?
We quickly learned that there is a strong expat community in Dubai and an ‘everyone knows everyone’ vibe when it comes to the legal sector. Moving here alone may seem daunting at first but it was clear that the lifestyle and culture made it very easy for newcomers to make fast friends in their colleagues here.
Many of our candidates had opted to live in the Dubai Marina – a residential area home to high-end restaurants and clubs, and a short commute from the DIFC. For families, the Arabian Ranches proved popular among expats, situated slightly further out and offering a full house and garden. We found getting around to be pain-free as there was always numerous taxis that we could flag down at a very affordable rate. The city also features a metro line which stops right outside the DIFC – ideal for commuters.
Most candidates and clients we met with were Westerners from UK, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. Whilst Dubai has a fantastic diversity when it comes to the top-tier law firms, rest assured that you won’t be the only Aussie/British accent in the office!
3. Is there a big culture difference?
The main concern for many candidates considering a move to Dubai is the culture – just how much of an impact does this have on your day to day life?
Having heard a few stories regarding dress code, alcohol and general safety – it’s fair to say that we were playing it safe upon arrival. However, we were pleasantly surprised to find that we did not notice any major impact or ‘restrictions’ during our 5-day visit. We were able to go out and have a drink (albeit slightly pricier than the UK!), we saw people dressed with legs and arms on show and witnessed couples holding hands in the mall. Whilst the culture in Dubai must be respected, it was clear from our visit that the city itself is very expat-friendly and I felt comfortable at all times.
Convinced? Contact me on +44 203 984 6565 / firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss how you can make a move to the UAE