How to Get a Job in the UAE: An Expat’s Guide

Many expats are puzzled when it comes to learning how to find a job in the United Arab Emirates. This guide will provide you with a good place to start.

Many expats are puzzled when it comes to learning how to find a job in the United Arab Emirates. This guide will provide you with a good place to start.

Find a job in the UAE
Find a job in the UAE
Find a job in the UAE

Enjoying the lifestyle Dubai offers requires money. So unless you are from a wealthy family funding your bank account regularly, this means you must learn how to get a job in the UAE.

The prosperous and innovative economy of the United Arab Emirates has attracted many job seekers from around the world, but not all get the well-paid job of their dreams, prompting the common question, “How can I obtain good employment in the UAE?”

This guide has been created to help answer that question.

Overall, the UAE has been successful at attracting expatriates from around the world by offering a wide variety of jobs, work-life balance, stable income, and a tax-free income system. As a result, according to Bayt, a leading property website in the UAE, expats make up approximately 88% of the country’s population, leading to an extremely competitive job market.

Expats can seek employment before or after relocating to Dubai; however, they will need patience and perseverance to find well-paying jobs.

To help expats land such jobs, this article offers a comprehensive guide to finding employment in the UAE.


  1. Jobs and the Economy in Dubai and the UAE

  2. The Work and Hiring Culture in the UAE

  3. How to Find Work in The UAE


[Finding work in the UAE can be difficult, but it is worthwhile because a career here can generate significant money that can be transferred back home using mobile applications. Hubpay provides free and easy international money transfers with multiple additional services such as bill payments and airtime recharge. You can join for free on Apple and Google Play.]

Jobs and the Economy in Dubai and the UAE

While several countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) depend on oil as the main national income source, the situation in the UAE differs; not all emirates rely heavily on oil exports. According to the World Economic Forum, most of Abu Dhabi’s wealth comes from oil, unlike Dubai, which counts on oil for less than 1% of its GDP.

Dubai relies on diverse revenue from many sectors besides oil: tourism, real estate, information technology, and transportation. And this opens the door for more job opportunities and a stronger economy.

Based on a report published by The National, a Middle East news platform, the UAE’s economy is growing fast, and it's set to grow about 5.4% this year thanks to strategic initiatives and economic stimulus programs. Such a fast-growing economy attracts funds, leading to the establishment of businesses in various industries and offering countless job opportunities.

The UAE has set policies to facilitate the work process, allowing businesses to attract more expats from around the world and turning the UAE into a popular destination for international investments.

One of the UAE's biggest projects was Expo Dubai 2020. While many countries put restrictions on tourism due to Covid-19, the UAE went ahead with the Expo (albeit a year later than planned) to revive the economy, attracting more than 24 million visitors in just six months, according to Gulf News, a daily English language newspaper published from Dubai.

The futuristic planning didn’t stop there; instead of dismantling the Expo, Dubai’s government will turn it into the world’s first fully smart city to host startups and international companies.

The Work and Hiring Culture in the UAE

The UAE’s work life is the same as any other country when it comes to “day-to-day work.”

However, there are some unique factors that job seekers should know about before thinking about how to get a job in the UAE:

Working Hours and Days in the UAE

Working days in the UAE used to be from Sunday to Thursday, but by the beginning of 2022, it changed to Monday to Friday; however, some private companies may work six days a week.

Employees in the private sector usually have from 20 to 30 days of paid annual vacation in addition to nine to eleven public holidays. Typically, full-time work is between eight to nine hours per day, and shifts vary from one company to another. Working hours during Ramadan, the fasting month in Islam, can be reduced by two to three hours per day.

Work Dress Code in the UAE

The working dress code must be conservative to some extent despite the liberal lifestyle of the UAE. Transparent clothes, low cuts, and shorts aren’t allowed in Abu Dhabi and Sharjah; instead, clothes must cover arms and legs for both men and women.

Taxes in the UAE

One of the main advantages of working in the UAE is that you don't pay personal income tax. This favourable policy attracts workers from all walks of life. However, depending on some home country’s laws, some expats may be still required to pay taxes.

UAE Work Skill Levels

The Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE) classifies work skills into nine levels. White-collar workers, which require related university degrees and certificates demonstrating their expertise in a field, are assigned to levels one through three. Levels four through nine are reserved for blue-collar workers.

Minimum and Average Wages in UAE

Wages are not specific because they vary depending on the company and work experience.

Dubai is the most appealing city in the UAE, so here are some quick insights about Dubai jobs we found on UAE Moments, a UAE lifestyle magazine:

Minimum Wages in Dubai:

  • Workers with a university degree: minimum monthly salary of around 12,000 AED

  • Skilled technicians: minimum monthly salary of around 7,000 AED

  • Skilled labourers with a secondary school certificate: minimum monthly salary of around 5,000 AED

Average Wages in Dubai:

As mentioned, it varies, but here are the average monthly salary for some jobs:

  • P.R. Account Manager: 18,000 AED

  • Software engineer: 11,000 AED

  • Sales executive: 8,000 AED

  • Graphic designer: 7,000 AED

  • Nurse: 6,000 AED

  • Legal assistant: 5,500 AED

  • Secretary: 4,000 AED

  • Domestic worker: 1,800 AED

How to Find Work in The UAE

For those asking how to get a job in the UAE, there are many approaches to finding and applying; each depends on the type of work and the worker’s qualifications.

Official Business Websites

Many businesses have a section on their websites listing available jobs. These include job descriptions and candidate requirements. They may also provide an application form that candidates must complete and submit; some may include initial testing and qualifying for the next step.

PRO TIP FROM A UAE RECRUITER

Prepare all the necessary documents for job applications and store them in a cloud drive, including a digital copy of your passport and photo. You will find it useful when applying to several jobs, especially if you don’t have a personal laptop.

Cold Calling

You can also take the initiative and go the extra mile to stand out by calling the company directly and asking to speak to the hiring manager. You can find companies' contact numbers on their websites.

This may be daunting, but it is worth the try. However, this method can be more effective for workers already living in the UAE.

PRO TIP FROM A UAE RECRUITER

Learn about the company before calling and prepare a professional sales pitch. It’s important to know some fundamentals about the business you’re calling.

Recruitment Agencies

Companies use recruitment agencies to minimize the hassle of finding qualified candidates. Those agencies sort out the many profiles according to the company’s needs and get paid based on the expected salary, so it’s an advantage that they will seek the highest-paying job to increase their income.

PRO TIP FROM A UAE RECRUITER

Don’t fall for scam recruitment agencies. No upfront payments are required; it is a red flag if an agency asks for such. Also, find an agency that gets paid by the employer, not the employee.

Networking

One of the main sources for getting jobs is networking and building personal relationships. Personal recommendations are the most effective method of finding a good job. People in your network can recommend you to recruiters or provide early notification of a job opening.

Online Job sites

Many job sites list available opportunities in the UAE. It only requires creating an account, filling in the needed information, uploading a resume, and setting alerts for new job adverts. Here are some sites to use:

Knowing the UAE’s Job Market

Knowing the targeted job market is critical to getting the best answer to questions like “How to get a job in UAE?”, “How can I get a job in Dubai?” or “How to find work in Dubai?”

There are numerous job opportunities in every industry, including construction, healthcare, banking, finance, information technology, and insurance.

Each industry has its own set of requirements. Also, learning about the demographics, economy, labor laws, corporate culture, and other aspects of working in the UAE is recommended.

PRO TIP FROM A UAE RECRUITER

Focus on targeting the companies in your industry. Find out what skills they require, and if you don’t have them, work on developing them before applying. Remember that it’s never too late to up your skills; you can always sign up for courses to learn new skills.

Prepare All the Necessary Travel Documentation

The first stage for expats entering the UAE to work is obtaining specific documentation. All paperwork begins with a valid passport. The passport must be held for at least six months to apply for a visa.

Expatriates can enter the country via a “work visa” when they get a job before relocating to the UAE, and the employer is usually responsible for issuing it. The other option is to enter the UAE on a “tourist visa” and look for work before converting to an employment visa and obtaining a residence permit.

Also, Dubai recently launched a new visa to incubate freelancers from all over the world. This visa allows freelancers to work online from Dubai without a work contract. The UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs website provides more info for various visa types.

PRO TIP FROM A UAE RECRUITER

Look for companies that handle all paperwork, such as work permits (labor cards), health certificates, and Emirates IDs. Additionally, ensure all certificates showing previous work experiences, copies of attested certificates, and any other certifications are available when you are called for a job interview.

Adjust the CV

Resumes are the cornerstone of any job application. Recruiters usually scan CVs very quickly and spend no more than six seconds on each resume. So, it must be strong enough to stand out in those six seconds.

Applying for jobs in UAE is essentially done online, so here are some bonus tips to get the perfect CV for the job hunt:


  • Add a cover letter, or at the very least an executive summary to your CV

  • Point out the skills making you suitable for the job

  • Use a professional format that reflects the employee’s personality. Don't use any overly fancy designs (unless your job is in design).

  • Always adjust your CV to meet the exact job description and requirements

  • Use a professional email address and add a clear phone number (with an international code if applying from your home country)

  • Keywords: Nowadays, most companies use software to sort CVs. Such software uses keywords to pick up the best candidates. Use the keywords in the advertised vacancy to promote the CV.

Be Organized and Persistent

Finding your dream job in the UAE can be time-consuming and difficult. As a result, it’s critical not to give up and to keep searching. It is also essential to keep track of the search process to find the best opportunity.

Apply and Follow Up

Most job seekers will apply for a job, get an interview, and then wait for the company to call with an offer.

Don't be like everyone else. Instead, take the initiative by calling the company to request updates. Contacting employers via email or phone and following up on the job offer will demonstrate your enthusiasm and set you apart from other candidates.

PRO TIP FROM A UAE RECRUITER

Most businesses have a toll-free number that can be used to contact hiring managers. Additionally, you can utilise LinkedIn to reach hiring personnel directly.

Learn a Few Arabic Words

Although Arabic is the official language of the UAE, expats can live and work there without needing to learn it because English is the common work language.

However, learning the fundamentals of Arabic and some words and phrases, such as “salam aleikum” and its response, “aleikum as-salam,” a popular greeting, is a great start.

Landing new work in the UAE will provide a steady source of income, and transferring money back home is now easy and fast thanks to mobile applications like Hubpay. Hubpay offers cost-effective and easy international money transfers with multiple additional services such as bill payments and airtime recharge. You can join for free on Apple store and Google Play Store.

Takeaways

  • The UAE is one of the best destinations for job seekers from all around the world

  • The UAE's work culture is similar to other countries, but it is also unique in some ways.

  • There are many approaches to finding a job in the UAE, such as visiting companies' websites, cold calling, registering with recruitment agencies, and networking.

  • There is no need to learn Arabic to work in the UAE, although it may be useful to learn some words and phrases.

  • Conduct thorough research about the job market before considering how to get a job in the UAE

  • Prepare all documentation and required visas ahead of time.

Hubpay Limited is incorporated (registration number 000004051) under the laws of the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM). We are licensed and regulated by the Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA) for Providing Money Services under Financial Services Permission number 190024. Address: 15-116, WeWork, Al Khatem Tower, ADGM Square, Al Maryah Island, Abu Dhabi, 46617, AE

Hubpay Limited is incorporated (registration number 000004051) under the laws of the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM). We are licensed and regulated by the Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA) for Providing Money Services under Financial Services Permission number 190024. Address: 15-116, WeWork, Al Khatem Tower, ADGM Square, Al Maryah Island, Abu Dhabi, 46617, AE

Hubpay Limited is incorporated (registration number 000004051) under the laws of the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM). We are licensed and regulated by the Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA) for Providing Money Services under Financial Services Permission number 190024. Address: 15-116, WeWork, Al Khatem Tower, ADGM Square, Al Maryah Island, Abu Dhabi, 46617, AE