Moving From Canada to U.A.E to work

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  1. Not sure if this is the right forum but has anyone from Canada or the US had any experiance moving to the United Arab Emirates? How did you find a job? My husband and I are interested in doing this in the future.
  2. I lived in UAE for 4 years for work :yes:

    All I can say, it's a beautiful place but it's a difficult place to live.
  3. Did you find it hard to find a job there? Or did you already have one before you moved? Why did you find it hard to live there if you don't mind me asking?
  4. im from the middle east so anything I can help you with PM me
  5. I work for an airline based in Dubai, so I had to move there to be centralised, kwim? I find it a difficult place to live because of the differences between the US (or Canada in your case) and UAE, I wasn't married to my husband, and we couldn't live the same way as a normal couple do, you need a lisence to purchase any alcohol etc...
  6. Thanks for the info. I am looking for companies that hire Canadians but so far no luck.
  7. Yeah, it's not an easy place to live. There are a lot of things that you take advantage of that are illegal over there. For women, especially.

    Look up Sharia law then tell me if you want to live there. ;)
  8. Good luck with the move. I read somewhere (mind you only when considering a holiday) that it's not SOOO hard for westerners to get away with some of the stuff that's 'illegal' for women there.
  9. Muslim Studies is part of my Religious Studies minor so I am completely aware of the cultural/ religious issues. I have always been interested in the Middle East and hears there is good money to be made. It's hard to find info on jobs though.
  10. What do you want to know specifically? I'm an expat (not Emirati) and I've been here for two years after a decade in the US, but I was raised here - so this has been my "home" since the early 80's.

    My latest move was for an amazing job offer. If you're looking for work, the easiest way to get it is to know someone here (raises hand). What industry are you in? You shouldn't be looking for companies that hire a certain nationality (unless you want to work for the Embassy). My company has over 40 nationalities. The only time your ethnicity is taken into consideration is whether or not you are Emirati, as all companies are required to have a minimum quota - to ensure locals are given positions in their own country before it must be given to an expat.


    For the scare stories about Shariah law - this is not Saudi Arabia or Afghanistan. Yes, it is a muslim country. But I have never felt threatened or stifled here in any way. It is in no way "hard" living. I'd be interested to know what Charles is referring to when he says many things are illegal for women. The only thing that comes to mind is co-habitation outside of marriage is illegal for BOTH men and women - yet my own Executive Director is female and has been living with her boyfriend for two years. Also, maternity coverage is only offered to married females...unmarried and pregnant? Go home immediately. But birth control pills are given out regardless of status - I was put on it at 16 (living here).


    I wouldn't feel comfortable running around with my boobs or thighs hanging out - but then again, I don't do that in the States. You do see bikinis and halter tops around the public beach as people cross the street from the parking lots, but that's expected and normal. Just be reasonable about it - daisy dukes at the grocery store will illicit stares, and possibly a disdainful comment from someone offended by your semi-nudity. But there are no officials trolling the malls looking for bellybuttons.


    I don't have a liquor license, but neither does 70% of those who drink. If you're muslim, you can't even get a license but the majority of my muslim friends are right alongside me at the bar. And my husband has no problem walking into certain liquor stores and buying a bottle or three of whatever - he doesn't have a license either. The only time I can see this becoming an issue for us is if we tended to wander the streets drunkenly screaming and causing a ruckus in front of a dozen policemen.

    The big difference from the US is that DUI is at ZERO tolerance - can't even register one drop of alcohol in your bloodstream or you will be fined, jailed, etc. Honestly, not a big deal as all liquor-serving establishments are in hotels, and all hotels have a line of cheap cabs waiting to take you home. It's a good habit to have.


    Is this place without it's problems? Of course not. Many things frustrate me and I spent a few months concentrating on what I didn't have (my best friends, access to San Francisco/LA/Seattle/Vegas at the drop of a hat, etc.). And both my husband and I go through bouts of homesickness. But we've decided to make the best of it - this isn't forever, so we're enjoying the life as much as we can (high salaries, no taxes, close social circles, easy access to dozens of countries/vacation spots, etc.).

    If you want to hear a local's perspective, here's a good blog written by a Canadian who made the move to Abu Dhabi. I'll bet you could drop her a line with any other questions...

    Also, Google "UAE Expat Forums" and find a list of chat boards.
  11. Thanks so much for all the great info! Nothing about the things you mentioned turned me off in the least. I don't drink much or dress crazy. I am very interested in the U.A.E and would love to live there for a year or two to experiance the culture. I am about to graduate from university and my husband is an electrician. I would be looking for any kind of entry level position with a decent salary. Do you find the cost of living high?
  12. Cost of living is quite high - but it has been dropping over the last year since Dubai crashed. Rents in Dubai are getting to be very decent, but Abu Dhabi remains about as expensive as San Francisco. Salaries are high to match this, but it does depend on how you guys spend. I see regular middle-class people come here from $2k a month jobs in the US, and get sucked into blowing through their new $10k paycheck trying to keep up with the Joneses.

    The one concern I have is your husband's job - is he a trade electrician, or a specialized electrician (e.g., for oil rigs, manufacturing facilities, etc.)? If he's in trade, his chances of finding a job here are pretty slim. Almost all tradesman positions (electricians, carpenters, plumbers, mechanics, manual labor) are extremely low paying and centralized to a few companies that hire cheap labor (unmarried young men without high school degrees) from southeast Asia. He'd be far too expensive. It's frustrating, as you'll rarely get anyone who actually knows how to solve an issue - much less be able to understand what the problem is (language barriers). One thing I do miss about the US - competence. :P
  13. He is a construction electrician but does residential as well. That's disappointing as we would both like to go. :sad:
  14. Perhaps not illegal, but women are looked down upon. Sure, Dubai is a bit less conservative, but in other areas, women have to be covered and pretty much at any time, can be harassed for showing skin.
    PDA can get you arrested (even holding hands), etc, etc. Sure, you might have not been arrested, but the fact remains that you can, at any time.
    Crimes against women are overlooked.
    It's a very discriminatory area..that's all.
  15. I have never felt "looked down upon"...ever. And I have no magic immunity, I'm an American expat. Neither am I blind/dumb to what goes on around me - 28 years on/off here. If anything, the Emirati women in my own company are highly valued. They're encouraged, fast-tracked, and given special preference for training - even above Emirati men, as they tend to be less hard working (big generalization, but just the trend in my workplace).

    Also, I don't cover. 90% of the females I know don't cover, and those who do, choose to. A close friend decided to start wearing the headscarf last summer, at the age of 34 (she's unmarried and her parents live overseas, so there was no pressure from anyone). One day you could see her hair/forearms/calves...the next you couldn't.

    As for being harrassed for showing skin, I've already mentioned that yes, you wear bootie shorts in public, you will be stared at and commented to. But I wear skirts that hit right above the knee every single weekday, no exaggeration, and I do not fear harassment in the slightest.

    Yes, if you head out to the backwoods old school Bedouin neighborhoods of Umm Al Qaiwain or Khor Fakkan, where some men have four silent wives each - but that's their society, and one that I highly doubt the average Westerner will take up residence in.

    Holding hands will NOT get you arrested. There's an "Ask A Local" weekly column here written by an Emirati where expats send in their misconceptions, and this is a big one. Holding hands, arm-in-arm, and giving a quick hug or kiss on the cheek is not forbidden. Grabbing ass and making out in public is...this is muslim country and people just don't want to see that kind of behavior in public. It's their country...I can wait to grope my hubby at home.

    There are extremes to any culture you visit. I'm sure most Americans would hate to be lumped into the public bigotry that is broadcast on the news, or associated with the extremists in your own society. Same stuff.