View Full Version : Middle East Employment

08-06-2011, 04:12 PM
It has been a while since I have written to the forum.
I thought that an update on Middle East employment was timely as I am starting to see an increase in applications to my company from a variety of countries excluding Australia. I assume that low employment levels at home mean that people feel no need to seek overseas experience now. As the employment cycle changes, more and more people will again apply overseas. If you are thinking about the Gulf for its tax free status, remember that you should have your taxation affairs in order, or you may still end up paying tax on your tax free salary.
If you are coming to the UAE, there are a lot of roles available in Abu Dhabi but most now require some arabic.
There are less roles available in Dubai, but these tend to not require arabic unless they are in the government sector. Salaries have dropped by up to 50% from the glory days. Rents have dropped by up to 50% however as an offset and companies tend to pay smaller rental allowances. Supermarkets are about 50% cheaper than in Australia and have a better range of products than Australian supermarkets. Alcohol to consume at home (when you get a licence) is about 50% less than Australia. In bars and restaurants it is about 40% more. A tip.... drinking and driving is a no no. We have zero tolerance for alcohol when driving, but taxis are about 25% the price of Australia, so there is no need to take the risk. Cars and boats are very inexpensive (see dubizzle web site) and fuel is about 50% dearer than Australia. Of course there are lots of places to visit nearby and with a plethora of discount airlines, prices are comparable to visit most locations (except Australia) to Melbourne to Brisbane on Jetstar eg Dubai to Sri Lanka is $A330.
The Gulf is hot. about five months of temperature between 40 and 50 degrees but airconditioning is everywhere. The winters are lovely and there is no need to want to go anywhere else!
Work life is different with very little training offered because after all, you are here because you have certain skills. It is a very multinational environment with over 120 countries comprising the workforce and all countries having substantial numbers of Indian sub continent employees.
The better paying jobs are in Saudi and Qatar. Job changes are not allowed in Qatar unlike many other countries. Saudi of course suits some people more than others. Cost of living in Saudi is the lowest in the Gulf.
Kuwait has few jobs unless you move to retail engineering or oil and gas. Locally owned companies are very different to work for (a negative) thant international companies.
Bahrain has few vacancies since the recent uprisings and is still not considered normal by expats although some have returned.
Think seriously about coming as an unmarried couple as living together in the Gulf unmarried is not allowed in any country as it is against religious norms and can lead to imprisonment and deportation. On this point, it is illegal to have sex outside of marriage and this can lead to jail and deportation.
If you are coming to the Gulf, bring an International driving licence with you, as once you have a visa, you will not be able to drive on your home licence.
Life is good up here and old age (grey hair and experience) is seen as a postive thing by employers.
I hope that those of you contemplating a move to the Gulf will find this of assistance.