Dubai and the United Arab Emirates in general have a GDP that is among the top 10 in the world. Most of the country’s wealth still comes from oil and gas exports. However, the emirate of Dubai has oil reserves that are expected to be depleted by 2025. Therefore, it has been pursuing a policy of diversifying its economy for several years by developing trade, tourism, finance and services. This makes it possible to work in many sectors in Dubai.
For example, the World Expo held in Dubai, which ended on March 31, 2022, was the first in the Middle East and created more than 200,000 jobs, 40% of which were in tourism. The dedicated site cost 8 billion euros and will be transformed into a university and research centre after the Expo.
Work in Dubai visas
The work visa and residence permit is provided by the employer. As an employee, you cannot apply for a work visa or residence permit yourself. You need a sponsor.
Once you’ve found work, your employer must apply for a work permit, which is then converted into a valid residence permit. Once you receive the residence permit, you can enter the UAE and work.
There are 3 ways to find work:
- You can find work while you are still in your country. You can apply through the many job search websites. If your resume is interesting, you may be invited for a phone or Skype interview. If you are hired, your employer will take care of all the paperwork to get your work visa. You can also try a recruitment agency. There are countless recruitment agencies in Dubai
- You can find a job if you are in Dubai on a tourist visa, which entitles you to stay in the country for up to 3 months, (depending on your country). During this time, you can conduct interviews with companies (I recommend that you already contact companies from your country and inform them of your arrival in Dubai). You can also go in person to the recruitment agencies in Dubai. If you are hired, you have two options: You can leave the country and go to a UAE embassy in a neighboring country (without having to return to your country) to apply for a work visa. Or your employer can apply for a change in your visa status, from tourism to work, and in this case you do not have to leave the Emirates and re-enter
- You are already working in Dubai and want to change companies. The new company will take care of all the paperwork
Remember that it is illegal to work in the UAE on a tourist visa. If you find a job in the UAE on a tourist visa, you must change your visa before you start working.
Work in Dubai
To work in Dubai, English language skills are mandatory, with due exceptions, e.g. pizza makers or bricklayers only need basic skills, but in general it is a basic requirement.
For example, many foreigners are attracted by the high salaries:
- Doctor, between $ 4,000 and $ 15,000 per month
- Architect, between $ 7,000 and $ 11,000 per month
- Engineer, between $ 7,000 and $ 14,000 per month
- Hotel manager, between $ 7,000 and $ 10,000 per month
- Bilingual staff, over $ 2,500 per month
But there is also the other side of the coin: the working conditions of the less qualified categories (construction workers, hospitality workers, etc.). Underpaid and extorted workers whose passports are confiscated. Housed in old and dilapidated shelters, and when workers try to make their voices heard, the repression of the state intervenes. A reality that does not concern the specialized trades, but gives an idea of the working conditions in the Emirates.
- Waiter, between $ 500 and $ 700 per month
- Office assistant, between $ 550 and $ 700 per month
- Hotel staff, between $ 450 and $ 800 per month
- Nanny/Babysitter, between $ 600 and $ 800 per month
- Construction Workers, between $ 400 and $ 600 per month
It should also be noted that the salary depends on the nationality of the passport holder. For example, an Indian receives $800 for a secretarial position. A Briton receives $ 2,000 for the same job.
By the way, I would like to point out an interesting report on working and living conditions of low income migrant workers in Dubai.
I recommend only moving to Dubai if you already have a job offer from a company. Going to the United Arab Emirates to look for opportunities is rather difficult due to the high number of foreign workers living in Dubai.
If you do not have any alternatives, you can definitely try. You can start with a tourist visa and look for a sponsor locally (allowed by law). You need to come to Dubai on a tourist visa and look for a job. You should have good experience in your profession. The companies will test you first and if you pass the test, they look at your credentials. So only apply for jobs where you have good experience and knowledge.
As for housing, remember that you can not sign a lease without having a residence permit. There are many people who sublet rooms to other foreigners, a common practice among expats, but illegal.
Also, remember that there are no guarantees in Dubai like in Europe or America (health, pension, unemployment, etc.). There is no social security or job protection. If the company no longer needs you, they will fire you the next day.
If you have children, you should know that there is no public education system and the cost of private schools is very high (a European standard elementary school costs about $10,000/year). School and rent are the biggest costs families have to bear.
And one more thing: never pay companies that offer you a job in Dubai and ask you to transfer money for plane tickets, health insurance or other things. This is just a scam. Reputable companies that hire foreign workers will cover all costs (travel expenses, health insurance, etc.)
Working in hospitality in Dubai
If you are a Western worker, it is worth looking for a job only if you are a highly skilled worker. I do not recommend that you look for unskilled jobs, such as bricklayers, handymen, kitchen porters, waiters, domestic help, etc. These jobs are almost exclusively done by Indians, Pakistanis and Sinhalese in Dubai. Salaries are very low in many cases (less than $500 per month) and housing is a shared room with 5/6 other people. Health insurance is also generally minimal and there is no pension.
For those who want this hospitality experience, my advice is to look for a job in a large international hotel chain like Marriott or others who are usually looking for staff for their hotels in Dubai.
Alternatively, you can travel to Dubai as a tourist. Send your CV to the hotels a month before your departure and let them know your availability for an on-site interview.
Here are the lists of hotels and restaurants to which you can send your CV:
Hotels are preferable to restaurants because they offer accommodations.
The 3 best recruitment agencies for hospitality jobs:
- Foodpeople, food recruiters
- Genie, retail, entertainmnet and hospitality jobs
- Theteambuilders, jobs in retail, entertainment, hospitality and IT
Work in Dubai most in-demand jobs
The occupations most in demand are:
(a) construction: architects, engineers, interior designers, masons, craftsmen. On the occasion of Expo 2020, many construction sites have been opened:
- the tallest skyscraper in the world (Calatrava Tower), which will be over 828 meters high
- an airport for more than 200 million travelers, a higher number of passengers than all Italian airports combined
- the first ultra-fast railroad line. With a travel time of 12 minutes between Abu Dhabi and Dubai for 157 kilometers, while it will take less than an hour to reach Riyadh (1,100 kilometers)
- the largest shopping mall in the world (Mall of the World), which will be the largest temperature-controlled place in the world and will be air-conditioned 24 hours a day. With 80 hotels inside and an area of 8 million square meters
- a new neighborhood the size of a European city: Dubai South, with the aim of reducing traffic congestion in the old city. A neighborhood of 145 square kilometers that can accommodate a million people
(b) Financial services: Tax advisors, analysts, accountants, etc. The Dubai International Financial Center (DIFC) is a 110-hectare district of Dubai, one of the largest global financial centers in the Middle East, Africa and Southeast Asia.
(c) Technology and Information Sector: Just think of Dubai Internet City (DIC), the center of information technology, located 25 km from the center. An area subject to special tax incentives and home to many international companies such as: Facebook, LinkedIn, Google, Dell, Intel, Huawei, Samsung, SAP, Microsoft, IBM, etc.
(d) Hospitality: In Dubai there are hundreds of hotels and restaurants, all major international chains are present and there is also the 7-star Burj al-Arab, the most luxurious hotel in the world. The presence reaches almost 20 million tourists per year. For job opportunities in this sector you can use catererglobal specialized in hospitality.
(e) Energy sector: oil and alternative energy. Dubai has 400 green energy projects worth $64 billion.
(f) Health and medicine: doctors, dentists, nurses, physiotherapists, etc. Dubai wants to become the health center of the region. The ‘City of Health’ is a 240 hectare complex with clinics, hospitals, research centers in the field of medical sciences and rehabilitation centers. You can send your request directly to the various health facilities available.
(g) Multilingual personnel: in finance, tourism, administration, call center, etc.
(h) You should also keep the following professions in mind: Experts in elevators and electronics, aeronautical engineering, aircraft maintenance, technicians specialized in luxury cars.
Work in Dubai looking for job
To search for work in Dubai, you can use:
1 Through Linkedin, look at job opportunities, but at the same time try to build a network of contacts.
2 Direct search, you can send your application to the company of your interest, you have a greater chance of success if you are supported by someone on the ground. If you have good skills and professionalism, you can definitely try.
3 Dubai Chamber, the website of the Chamber of Commerce, which contains a list of all businesses in Dubai, divided by category.
4 Job search websites, you can find many job opportunities on these websites. If the company is interested in your application and you live in another country, the selection process will take place via Skype and once you are hired, the company will cover the cost of your airfare and the first few weeks of accommodation.
- Akhtaboot, job vacancies in the Middle east
- Bayt job offers in the United Arab Emirates
- Foundit, job opportunities in Dubai
- Dubizzle, job board for the UAE
- Gulftalent, job offers in the Persian Gulf, you can add your resume
- Dubai Careers, with many job offers
5 Recruitment agencies, many vacancies for professionals are managed by recruitment agencies based in Dubai as well as abroad, in London, New York etc. Agencies in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, etc. deal with the recruitment of unskilled labor.
Employment agencies in Dubai can be useful in finding jobs for family members of foreigners living in Dubai or if you are in Dubai on a tourist visa. However, if you apply through an employment agency, you should be very careful because they usually tell you that you can get an excellent job with benefits (accommodation, insurance, etc.) and an excellent salary. But in reality, the working hours are longer than agreed, accommodation is shared, etc. Clarify all aspects and details in advance.
For example, here are some agencies that exist in each country, so check the Internet to see which ones exist in your country.
- Bacme, job vacancies, divided by categories
- Santinisolutions, agency with a network of offices in 22 countries
- Michaelpage, popular international agency
I point to the two Emirates airlines:
- Emirates Group, on its website you can find all the job opportunities of the group. If you are looking for a job as a crew member, you must apply here
- Etihad, another Emirati company, with job offers
Work in Dubai How to write your resume
Write your CV in English and do not forget to add this information:
- visa: you already have a work or tourist visa, your partner is already working in Dubai, you do not have a visa yet, etc.
- marital status: married, single, you want to move to Dubai with your family, etc.
- your residence: you are already in Dubai, you are abroad, how long do you need to be available for an interview/meeting
- photo: attach a professional photo
Working in Dubai, useful website
- Ministry of Human Resources, website which contains all information on employment contracts, work permits and labor laws. Present with several offices in the territory of the Arab Emirates. I also recommend you to contact his ‘Labor Office’ if you have problems with your employer or you think that your rights are not respected.
- Enic-Naric, you can find out about the recognition of foreign qualifications in the United Arab Emirates