If you’re about to become a Dubai expat, you’ll definitely want to know these important things about life here!
26 March 2017| Last updated on 19 February 2018
Moving to a new country is both exciting and challenging. You can visit Dubai plenty of times and prepare for the move way ahead but it’s never really the same as when you actually live here. This land of glitz and glamour can dazzle you to the point where you won't realise some important things about daily life here.
So if you’re thinking about moving to Dubai, here are six things we think you should know about so you won’t be taken by surprise. We’ve all been there…
1. Don’t get too excited about it being tax-free
While it’s true that there’s no income tax here, there are several other taxes that will put a dent in your bank account. There is a 30% tax on alcohol, 10% on restaurant service and many road tolls. There’s even a value-added tax (VAT) that was implemented in early 2018.
2. You probably won’t be able to save
Your salary might sound attractive – until you see how easy it is for it to go up in smoke. The cost of living here is high, with rent being extremely expensive while food and drinks are overpriced. And if you get into the habit of enjoying the very popular brunches here, you’d be lucky if you have double digits still in your bank account.
3. Your rent and deposits will cost you an arm and a leg – upfront!
Wait – you’re 25 and you don’t have 80,000 AED in the bank? Shame! Most landlords here ask for rent to be paid in max four cheques and usually, the more cheques, the more expensive it is. And don’t forget the deposits (totalling thousands!) on top of your first cheque.
4. You need clothes for all weather
It might be scorching outside, but it will be freezing inside! Trust that you’ll be arguing over the AC with your co-workers on a daily basis. The weather has also recently been unstable, with temperatures going down to 11 degrees Celsius and heavy rain during the cooler months.
5. There is no standard address system
Ever had your personal mail delivered to your work? Well, you will now. Taking a taxi? You might land on a taxi driver who has been here for a few days, speaks little English and has no idea where anything is – but he won’t tell you that. He will just nod and take unnecessary routes while the metre is ticking. And if you think your GPS will save you – good luck with that!
6. VOIP access is blocked
Viber? WhatsApp Calling? Facetime? Skype? Not things you’ll be using here. There are ways around the block for certain apps, but it’s still a hassle for the most part. Calling long distance regularly will cost a fortune – so if you were looking for an excuse to call relatives less, this is it. For the rest of us who want to keep in contact with family and friends, it’s a struggle.