This expat guide offers information and advice if you are moving to Dubai. Click on the different tabs to find out about anything from tax rules and banking to education and cultural highlights.
Moving to Dubai
As the second largest state or 'emirate' in the United Arab Emirates, Dubai was once considered a barren landscape in the oil rich Gulf but is now a thriving metropolis, attracting thousands of new residents to its shores each month. It is one of the world's most popular expat destinations thanks to the tax-free cost of living there, year-round sunshine and access to excellent healthcare and leisure activities.
The last decade has seen magnificent growth in the city itself. This is largely due to the leadership of the current ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, under whose direction many of the emirate's best known landmarks and projects have been constructed. The Burj al Arab Hotel, the recently opened Dubai Mall (the largest shopping centre in the world) and the $4bn Burj Khalifa (the world's tallest skyscraper) are some of the recent additions to this desert playground. If there is a message Dubai is sending to the rest of the globe it would seem to be, 'we're doing it bigger and we're doing it better.'
Contrary to popular belief, Dubai's main source of revenue is not oil. Although oil was discovered in the emirate in the 1960s, and certainly helped build the economy, it is other industries such as construction, tourism and financial services that are contributing to Dubai's extraordinary wealth, including a record $150bn GDP in 2008. It is predicted that Dubai will have exhausted its oil reserves within the next 20 years and there is a continued effort to diversify the economy. A number of international media, IT, legal services and building companies have relocated to Dubai, accounting for the ever expanding expat community.
There is no shortage of shipping and relocation companies to meet the demand of people heading to Dubai. Sometimes the employer will have an in-house or preferred user who aims to make the move as smooth as possible. Relocation companies can be hired to assist with every aspect of the move, from furniture transportation to school enrolment.
It should be noted that the UAE has strict rules on what may and may not be brought into the country.
No weapons, ammunition or narcotics will be admitted. The UAE has imposed bans on various medicines, including codeine. It is advisable to check the UAE customs website before travelling as being caught with ‘banned’ items can result in a jail term.
All music, books, CDs and DVDs will be subject to inspection/censorship at customs. Anything considered to be against the values, tradition and morality of the UAE will be banned. This would include anything with pornographic or anti-Muslim content.
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