Moving To Dubai – The Pros & Cons

Moving To Dubai – The Pros & Cons

By Sharon Black

Dubai has been a popular tourist destination for sun-seeking Brits for many years, but more and more people from the UK are choosing to pack up their lives and move there permanently, making it the eighth most popular destination for people relocating from the UK.

By Grace Garland,

Great scenery, a good climate and tax breaks, have been big incentives for expats, but where there are pros there are usually cons, so what are the considerations for someone planning a move to the United Arab Emirates (UAE)?

The good:

The UAE is a virtual nation of expats already, with figures showing around 10,000 people a year from the UK make the move to either Abu Dhabi, Dubai or Sharjah. As such it is easy for UK expats to find a network of Brits to socialise with and there are plenty of shops and eateries aimed at British tastes. There are huge modern shopping malls designed to attract tourists looking to splurge, as well as catering to the nation’s young and wealthy who have a reputation for excess.

Perhaps the biggest draw for expats however, is that Dubai does not take any income tax from earnings, meaning the money you earn goes directly into your pocket.  This is the reason why most of the people who decide to emigrate are doing so for work, with the banking, construction and oil industries all doing well in the UAE.

The booming construction trade can also benefit expats, who since 2002 have been allowed to buy property and enjoy very low taxation rates, a welcome antidote to the UK’s escalating prices. Living costs are relatively high but a higher rate of disposable income means this expense is easily offset with earnings.

Another pro is that the weather in Dubai is consistently good, though it can get very hot in the summer and residents should take precautions to prevent heat stroke. The hottest months are between May and September where temperatures can reach up to 45 degrees. The rest of the year Dubai offers pleasantly warm weather and infrequent rain, another bonus for the British settler.

The bad:

The cost of living in Dubai can be expensive. For this reason, it is best to think about taking a lot of your things with you. The good news about lots of people moving to Dubai is that if you hire a good removal company, there are plenty of shared container options which allow you to split the cost of the move with another expat.

Customs clearance can be tricky, so it is recommended to engage a professional company that can help you negotiate the red tape. There are strict regulations on the import of certain military items – as well as weapons (even decommissioned or ornamental ones), perhaps surprisingly, you are not even allowed to bring military uniform in. Communication devices and radio transmitters are also banned, so make sure you have a clear inventory of items and check them carefully so you don’t try to import anything they deem illegal.

Dubai is a strictly Islamic country, so any literature other than Islamic material is banned – no Bibles or any religious texts. This also applies to religious statues, specifically ones that are of animal form as these are contrary to the Islamic beliefs of the state.  Nudity is very much frowned upon, even in artworks, so any art should be considered before taking.

There is also a level of censorship applied to records, tapes, films, photographs, books and magazines. If you are a film buff, Dubai might not be for you as even seemingly harmless films can be edited before they are shown – in the case of the Wolf of Wall Street a whopping 45 minutes was deleted from the version shown in the UAE. This sort of state intervention can be difficult to accept for people who have grown up in the UK, but the law is strictly enforced so cannot be ignored.


Ultimately, the decision to move to another country is a big one and every aspect should be considered before deciding on emigrating. Dubai has got strict rules, and you may find some of the freedoms you enjoyed at home are not celebrated in this Islamic nation, however, thousands of Brits call Dubai home already and enjoy the benefits of this prosperous and evolving country.

One thing that you can guarantee is that if Dubai retains its current rate of growth and job opportunities, continues to offer tax breaks and cheaper properties and does all of this with a sunny climate, it is hard to see Brits being put off moving to the UAE.


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