Relocating to Dubai: What you need to know

Thinking of relocating to Dubai? This is what you need to know

Are you looking to make a big change in 2016? Whether it’s a full blown career transformation or just a change of scenery, relocating to Dubai could be what you need to satisfy your hunger for the new and different. Just 7 hours from London, a few hours from India, Africa and the Far East. Dubai is a popular spot for short breaks and it also makes travelling to diverse destinations and working internationally very easy.

Dubai has experienced rapid growth since discovering its own oil in the late 1960s, transforming into bustling metropolis packed with expats from around the world. Today Dubai is an international business hub growing sustainably across diverse markets, not to mention it is sunny most days of the year.

We opened our MENA office in Dubai in January 2015 and have not looked back. We’ve seen fast growth and anticipate this will continue into 2016 and beyond. The economy is booming there and with some big international events on the horizon – EXPO 2020 for one – investment in the region is only going up. Our Dubai Managing Director, Felice Hurst, hosted an event in our London office recently where she talked about relocating to Dubai: the benefits, challenges, logistics, and realities of living and working there. If you missed it, here are some of the highlights…


It’s no secret that salaries in Dubai are good, across markets and levels. Combined with no tax, this is a big draw, attracting expats from around the world. However, there are also luxurious temptations and credit is easily available, so saving what you earn takes discipline.

Career Progression

It’s possible to progress in your career quickly in the UAE, if you work hard and are good at what you do. This is partly due to the transient nature of the expat workforce. If you’re looking to expedite your climb up the corporate ladder, moving to Dubai may help you make a mark in your field and access new, more advanced opportunities sooner than you might think.

City Life & Navigation

Dubai is the second largest of the seven United Arab Emirates but has the biggest population at over 2.1 million inhabitants, with roughly 75% being westerners. After investing around AED 28 billion (£5.11 billion GBP) in the Metro in 2005, Dubai boasts one of, if not the, best public transport system in the Middle East. Taxis are also accessible and cheap. It is easy navigate around the city and there is a huge amount to see and do – from hitting the beaches and tackling water sports, to desert safaris, sand golf, and of course shopping.


Dubai has been successful in shielding itself from extremism, much-needed for it to survive, and is a very safe city. The crime rate is low and violence is extremely uncommon.


It’s important to remember that the culture in Dubai is very different from British culture. Tourists and western expats must respect the customs and people of Dubai, the same way we would expect visitors to respect British culture when visiting here. Only restaurants and clubs inside hotels and resorts serve alcohol, and drinking in public is prohibited and as a resident, you need to have a valid Liquor license. If you’re in Dubai during Ramadam, you should not eat, drink or smoke during the day – or you should do so discreetly. Some restaurants that cater to westerners or tourist blackout their windows to allow people to eat or drink in private.

Need help?

For confidential advice about opportunities in Dubai, contact us or send an email directly to Felice Hurst at our Dubai office.

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Author: Felice Hurst

With nearly twenty years of experience in search and recruitment and a decade of experience working in MENA, Felice set up the Hanson Search Middle East office to develop our offering in the region. Working across the spectrum of high-level vacancies, Felice has had considerable success across in-house and consultancy roles.

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