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Relocating to Dubai

With year round sunshine, sandy beaches, and tax-free salaries, moving to Dubai is an attractive prospect to many. The digital market is booming, which is why last year Digital Gurus opened our MENA division in Dubai.

The lovely Jade Watson from our Dubai office has put together helpful advice if you are considering – or even just intrigued about – relocating; from visas to flat hunting to finding a job! Find out more:

“The reason I wanted to relocate to Dubai was simply due to the fact that I fancied a change. You’re never too far from the beach, it’s completely tax free in regards to your salary, and the ex-pat community is a lot larger than you might expect – it’s certainly more westernised than I expected!


There are obviously positives and negatives to working in any new country, especially one where the culture is so different. Dubai is an amazing place to live but it still has its downsides I would advise you to be prepared for a lot of slow processes and strange laws.

I speak from experience when I say it’s really important that you spend time getting to know the company you are interviewing with, and ensuring that you know all the details. The visa process can be quite slow and frustrating – but if you choose the right company they should make this much easier for you.

It is a transient country and we all know it can be difficult to settle in a new place, so we all try to help others out when they arrive – you’ll find it’s a very friendly environment. You can make friends easily, and once you have a few good friends you will stick together. There’s a pre-conception globally that Dubai has a very strict Muslim culture and it puts people off of coming here – I can assure you this is not the case, however you must respect the locals and their traditions (e.g. during Ramadan you must not drink or eat in public during daylight hours).


Finding a flat can be stressful, and you’ll encounter 2 main options, as the rental market works completely differently here – by law you have to sign a yearlong tenancy – at best you are likely to be able to pay quarterly, you can’t pay monthly which means you either need some capital, a good company that will put the cheques up for you, or a bank loan (which you can’t get until you have been here for a while). A couple of good sites to use are Dubizzle.com for both apartments and flat shares. This site is Dubai’s version of Gumtree so there is a huge classifieds section on here – very helpful if you are looking for some more affordable furniture! The other is Propertyfinder.ae which is the equivalent to Right Move.

Alternatively you can rent a room in a flat share. The plus side to this is that it’s a great way to meet new people from diverse backgrounds. The majority of apartments will have access to a pool and gym, which is an awesome bonus – and they put London box flats to shame!

It can be expensive living here compared to other parts of the world, but salaries tend to be higher within most industries. Generally, I have more spare money here than I ever have, which means I get to travel more, shop more and save more (which makes me very happy!)


My role in recruitment is much more enjoyable here than in the UK. The working hours are similar, but clients are much more open to talking to you. They are also happy to meet if their schedule allows, and it is an overall more laid back approach. Don’t mistake this for being an easy life, you still need to put the work in – but the rewards are much greater; the quality of living is at a much higher standard – it’s generally a very safe place to be, it’s also incredibly clean, and who can complain with sunshine all year round!



It’s very easy to stay in touch with friends and family at home with social media – I speak with my friends just as often as I did before. The time difference is only 3-4 hours so it’s very easy to find times to call or Skype. Wi-Fi is very accessible here, even most of the malls offer free access. The flight to the UK is only 7 hours and you’ll likely have people chewing your arm off to visit!



Finally, the digital space here is very buoyant right now. Up until recently, clients haven’t understood the importance of having a digital strategy but this has all changed now and things have really taken off. It is a focus for a lot of companies this year, so agencies are winning new business and direct clients are starting to build internal teams. There is a relatively small pool of talent in the region, especially with technical skills, so these companies are going to need to bring people in from other areas. This will offer great challenges for people looking to build their career in this field – they will be able to bring their skills here and really help drive the region forward.


If you are considering a move here, I would say go for it! It’s been the best experience for me and I don’t regret a thing. Just make sure you do your research and speak with good recruiters (like me!)”


To find out more about moving to Dubai, get in touch with the team!

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