Dubai Info Please


Aug 31st, 2008, 08:16 AM
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Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 33
Dubai Info Please

Hello all,
I'm interested in visiting Dubai with the intention of seeking employment there. While I would appreciate general suggestions, I have some specific questions.

1. US citizens can obtain a visa upon arrival. However I'm not clear on how long I can stay in Dubai on a visitor visa. Depending on which web site you look at, its 30 days, 60 days or 90 days!! Anyone know for sure what it really is?
2. Will my US cellphone work in Dubai or the UAE in general? I have an old Nokia with no bells and whistles. I will of course use a local service provider to avoid intnl roaming charges. A pre-paid card maybe? Is this easy to obtain?
3. Any idea as to housing costs? SInce its going to be a one month trip at least. Whats the best way to find accommodation?
4. Any idea as to what the job market there is like? I have about 15 years of admin/mgmt support experience working for reputed financial firms in New York. I'm not too fussy about the kind of work I get so long as it pays the bills and I have some savings left over.
5. Whats with the passport thing? Someone told me the employer holds your passport? Is this true? Not sure I like this - is it legal? Why would they do that?

Again thanks in advance. Cheers!!
wanderlust36 is offline  
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Aug 31st, 2008, 04:59 PM
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1. You can obtain a visitors permit on arrival.

2. Your cell phone should work, though it would be cheaper to purchase a local SIM card as calls are quite reasonable

3. Housing costs are very high. For a number of reasons, rental supply is very low. One bedroom in a shared flat in the Marina start at around $2200 per month.

Best way to find accommodation is to look on

Make sure you understand where the flat is located. International city may look cheap, but it is 45 minutes drive in from the Desert and is next to a sewage farm. Still, a studio there will set you back around $11-2000 upwards. A flat in a reasonable building in Dubai, one bed, will set you back at least $25,000 p.a. and that is at the cheap end.

It is common to pay rent in one lump sum, see passport question below.

4. The job market is very strong, if you have the sort after skill set. I will be quite honest with you, a lot of admin/management support is undertaken by those from the Indian sub continent. To give you an idea, you would be lucky to pick up $4000 per month.

Combined with this is the high cost of living to match. So, unless you don't want a social life, these types of roles do not really suit those from the west.

5. When renting property in Dubai, you often have to pay the whole year in advance or two 6 month cheques, one back dated. This often means taking a rent advance from the company you work for. In many cases, people have decided to pop home and trouser the money.

Don't get me wrong, Dubai has some good shopping and some good nightlife, if you can afford it. Coming here on holiday is far different to living here. There is not much to do aside drink or shop, as dubai does not really have a culture scene.

THen you must also consider that from MAy-October, the weather forces you to hop from one air conditioned environment to another. There is no outside lifestyle as it is just too hot, up to 50c with high humidity levels. MAny people leave the country in July/August.

You can escape to the beach or drive to Oman etc. Though again, this is often only in the winter months.

It all depends on your interest...?
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Sep 2nd, 2008, 12:11 AM
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Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 33
Thanks so much lbj! Guess I have to rethink this - it may not be as cost effective as I was led to believe.
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Sep 2nd, 2008, 12:17 AM
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lbj - an afterthought - you didn't have any thoughts about the passport issue?
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