I feel so blessed to now call Dubai my home. Adjusting to life in the UAE has been relatively easy and since I’ve been here, a few of the women that I know seem to be moving here too! If you are thinking of working or residing in the UAE, I’ve included 10 reasons why the UAE is a popular choice for ex-pat women.
1) Tax-free income
One of the many reasons why expatriate women choose to reside and work in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is because they receive 100% tax-free salaries. Unlike other popular destinations for ex-pats, employees in the Emirates do not need to pay any income taxes. It's one of the very few countries worldwide that does not impose personal income taxes.
Saying that though, you will find that tobacco and alcohol are taxed amongst various other items but not having to pay tax on your income is a huge plus.
2) A safe country for women
Safety is one of the biggest reasons why I love it here. And numerous ex-pat women cite the general safety of the UAE as one of their preferred aspects of residing in the Emirates. According to a 2021 survey, the UAE ranked first globally for women's safety. The UAE also ranks as the second safest country in the world, only topped by Iceland (which is also amazing). But despite there being a lack of crime, it is important to remain vigilant with online and other private information. Also, ensure that you have Dubai health insurance for peace of mind.
3) Easy to get around
There’s a misconception that you need a car in the UAE but public transport is actually quite good. The metro is super clean, affordable and extremely safe. I can sit in a carriage late at night and feel perfectly secure by myself. For areas that the metro doesn’t cover, there are buses that are also cheap. And taking a taxi here is also affordable and definitely cheaper than in the UK. With a combination of public transport is both cheap and safe, most ex-pat women say they feel comfortable travelling alone, even at night.
4) Business opportunities
For me, the UAE feels really inspiring and creative. What I love about it is that it makes me to strive to be a better person and want to achieve more.
That’s also reflected in the number of women running businesses here and the women-only networks. So if you are searching for opportunities to establish your own corporation overseas, then the UAE's business environment is ideal.
You can establish a free zone business and receive benefits such as zero taxes (as long as your business meets the necessary requirements outlined by the UAE ministry), complete ownership, and much more. And if you need staff for your business, the UAE has an educated and encouraged labour force.
5) Job opportunities
There are many job prospects and career opportunities within the UAE in a variety of industries. I work on my blog full time but there are always vacancies within the hospitality, finance, media or education sectors. Teaching here is a good career to have too. The UAE looks at recruiting global talent and several businesses offer remuneration packages, especially for those with the ability to speak various languages (especially Arabic).
6) Community and multiculturalism
Becoming an ex-pat is both exciting and rewarding but it can come with challenges no matter where you choose to relocate to.
The feeling of homesickness is one that is shared amongst almost all ex-pats at some point during their time abroad, especially at the beginning. But one major plus here is the UAE’s diverse population. There are ex-pats from North America, Europe, Asia and Africa making this country really multi-cultural. Expats seem to have a similar mentality too and are open to meeting others. There’s a strong sense of community here and I honestly can say that I haven’t lived anywhere where there has been such a mix of cultures before.
Within Dubai especially, there are numerous meet-up groups and Facebook ex-pat groups making it easier to transition into a new life in the country.
Furthermore, the UAE is committed to promoting cultural diversity, tolerance, and respect among its citizens and ex-pat residents, and has regulations in place to ensure that people's cultures and religions are duly safeguarded.
7) You won't be bored in the UAE
Even though the UAE does have different seasons, there are things to do year-round. During the winter season, which spans from November to February, the country transforms into an outdoor lover's paradise, where you can hike to your heart’s content. You can camp outside, dine al fresco, attend concerts and exhibitions and frequent the night markets as well as anything and everything outdoorsy.
Then in the summer, it’s time to move indoors and make the most of the malls and indoor activities ranging from lively party venues and indoor ski slopes to theatre productions and seeing those iconic attractions that may still be on your travel wish list.
8) Connectivity to other parts of the world
Dubai operates one of the world's busiest international airports, with hundreds of flights departing and arriving daily from an array of local and global destinations. With two major airlines based in the UAE, it’s really easy to fly to both Africa and Asia from here. As my goal is to see every country in the world during my lifetime, basing myself in Dubai is also strategic. If you want to pop across to Asia for a long weekend, you can, whether you need to for leisure or for business, the UAE is a convenient hub whether you’re flying from Dubai, Sharjah or Abu Dhabi.
9) World-class schools and family-friendly activities
The UAE is really family-friendly. For ex-pat women who have children, the UAE has dozens of government and private schools, each with a wide-ranging curriculum. These curricula include the International Baccalaureate (IB), the US Curriculum, the National Curriculum for England, and others. Most ex-pat families opt for private schools, although some public schools in the country also accept foreign students for a fee. You’ll also find after-school activities.
For those wanting to pursue higher education, whether it's at a local college or a branch of an existing international institution, the universities are also good here.
The most popular degrees on offer in the higher education sector are Business, Art and Media, Engineering, Education, and Medicine.
Aside from education, there are many family-friendly attractions. From waterparks to theme parks, aquariums and outdoor events. Plus, the list is constantly changing with endless festivities so there is always something to do.
10) Quality of life
The weather here from October to May is ideal. Every weekend I can go to the beach and really enjoy my time off. My quality of life is so much better as there are always things to do and places to just chill out if that’s what is needed.
Overall, the UAE is known for its world-class infrastructure and landmark buildings, global cuisine (of which you can find every type of food here), safety, employment opportunities, excellent schools and cleanliness, making it an ideal destination for ex-pats looking to enjoy a high quality of life.
Thousands of ex-pats have created a comfortable life here and, like me, consider the UAE their rightful home. Many of the second and third-generation ex-pats continue to live in the Emirates to this day too. If you’ve been considering a move here, I hope that my article has inspired you to make the move. And if you do, look me up when you’re here!
- Why I Chose To Move To Dubai
- Solo Travel in Dubai
- Solo Travel in The United Arab Emirates
- Solo Travel in Abu Dhabi