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Moving to The United Arab Emirates

Moving to The United Arab Emirates

Living in the UAE you will find yourself in one of the seven states (or emirates), which were formerly independent sheikdoms: Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al-Qaiwain, Ras Al-Khaimah or Fujairah. Approximately 90% of the country consists of a desert terrain and mountainous terrain. The UAE is a thriving part of the world that is playing an increasingly significant role in both international business and tourism. In some countries within the region, such as Dubai and Abu Dhabi significant investment has been made into the infrastructure and opulent skyscrapers and hotels now characterize these areas.

The United Arab Emirates as an Expat Destination The UAE has a very significant expat community, which makes up for almost 50% of the total population. Of the people living in the UAE a vast majority (95%) are Muslim. The majority of expats are drawn here as a result of the tax-free lifestyle on offer and for those on an international wage the standard of living is very high. Private education facilities, fantastic shopping and numerous entertainment options make this an interesting and enjoyable place in which to raise your family.

Cost of Living in The UAE

Last year saw a dramatic decrease in the cost of living in many cities in the UAE and in the 2012 Mercer cost of living survey no cities in the UAE featured in the top ten most expensive cities in which to live; Abu Dhabi (76) overtook Dubai (94) in the rankings and became the most expensive city in the United Arab Emirates.

One of the biggest benefits to expatriates of living in Dubai is the low taxation and this has a positive impact on the cost of a number of items, including vehicles, electronic goods and local produce. Utilities are also slightly cheaper here than they are in many countries as a result of government subsidies on electricity, water and gas.

As with many cities, accommodation will represent the biggest cost that expatriates face but, according to Mercer, accommodation costs in the region are decreasing: “The trend of falling accommodation costs continues across the Middle East region, driving the cities down the ranking along with the cost of living for expats. Dubai in particular is witnessing a drastic reduction in accommodation costs as the supply of property keeps flooding the rental market.” Expatriates living in the UAE who search out luxury goods or international brand names will also need to be prepared to pay higher prices for those items.

Language

The official language of the UAE is Arabic but English is widely spoken and the majority of expats living in the UAE do not experience any difficulties communicating with the locals.

Climate

Sub-tropical and arid. Temperatures range from over 50 degrees C in summer (April to September) through to -15 degrees in the evenings. Sand storms occasionally occur.

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