Foreign workers are welcomed in Dubai. They receive fair and generous treatment but are expected to live within the constraints of the culture and environment of their host country.
Salaries are comparable and in cases even higher than that of corresponding positions in Western industrialized nations.
There are numerous qualified young UAE nationals who need to be employed. The hope is that the UAE will eventually become a self-sufficient labour market.
However, that may be many years in the future, and expatriates may be an important component of the workforce for some time to come. The kinds of opportunities thrown up will change as the economy develops and matures. Business, technical and professional skills will be in high demand whereas blue collar requirements, especially in the construction industry, may dwindle.
Although the Oil and Gas sector remains of prime importance, economic diversification has been encouraged, and in Dubai in particular, the manufacturing, trading, media and other sectors are flourishing.
All foreign nationals, whether visitors or residents, require a sponsor in the UAE. A sponsor is a UAE entity - individual or institution - who vouches for the foreigner and will carry out many vital functions on his or her behalf. This could include applying for a visit or residency visa, opening a bank account and so on.
Foreign nationals wishing to set up a business in the UAE must have a local sponsor who will have a minimum share of 51% in the new business unless it is started in a Free Zone. More details about setting up a business are available on the Business & Investments page.
Finding a job:
Recruitment agencies and head-hunters play an important role in finding suitable workers. Many of these are located in the countries of origin of the workers they recruit. There are also agencies in Dubai and other emirates, but the large majority of workers both managerial and blue collar are recruited abroad. In general, it is better to come to Dubai with a job, rather than arrive in the hope of finding a job. Having said that, it is also possible to come for a visit and stay to work if one finds a job.
Working in Dubai can be a rewarding experience both financially and from a personal growth point of view. Since there is no personal taxation, net income is higher than in most other countries. One meets people from far-flung regions of the world, and gains experience working in a multi-ethnic international environment.
The working hours are usually between 8:30 am and 5:30 am or thereabouts. Some companies break up the working day to give employees a long lunch break from 1:00 and 4:00 pm. In this case, working hours are between 8:00 and 1:00 pm and again from 4:00 to 7:00 pm. As a Muslim country, the weekly day of rest is Friday, and some companies work from Sunday to Thursday, with Friday and Saturday as weekly holidays.
During the holy month of Ramadan, working hours are reduced to six hours.
During the summer outdoor blue collar workers, especially in the construction industry, are legally required to be off-duty during the hottest hours of the day. This protects them from heat-induced illnesses such as dehydration and sunstroke.
On being selected for a job, you will most likely sign an employment contract, which will specify the conditions of employment such as the remunerations, working hours, holidays, leave regulations, termination conditions, and so on. It may also contain a job description.
Most employment contracts are for two years, and can be renewed if both parties are agreeable.
At the very minimum, the labour law offers employees a modicum of protection.