Expats in the UAE
THE United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a hub for expats from all over the world, with Indian, Pakistani, and Filipino nationals forming a significant portion of the expat community. While living in the UAE can be rewarding in many ways, there are also unique challenges that expats may face, particularly in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Living in the UAE: Expats in the UAE can enjoy a high standard of living with excellent infrastructure, world-class amenities, and a vibrant social scene. Many expats live in modern apartments or villas in gated communities with access to a range of facilities, including swimming pools, gyms, and children’s play areas. The UAE is known for its tax-free salary and relatively low cost of living, which makes it possible for expats to have a high standard of living.
Expats from India, Pakistan and the Philippines can find a diverse community in the UAE with many opportunities to meet people from their own countries as well as others. For those with families, many international schools offer high-quality education.
Challenges faced by expats: Despite the many advantages of living in the UAE, there are some unique challenges that expats may face. One of the biggest challenges is the language barrier. While English is widely spoken in the UAE, it is not the first language of many people. This can make it difficult for expats to communicate with locals and can sometimes result in misunderstanding.
Another challenge is the cultural differences between the UAE and expats’ home countries. The UAE is a Muslim country, and expats are expected to respect local customs and traditions. For example, there are strict rules around dress codes, public behaviour and alcohol consumption.
The COVID-19 pandemic has also presented unique challenges for expats in the UAE. The UAE has implemented strict measures to contain the spread of the virus, including lockdowns and travel restrictions. This has led to many expats losing their jobs or experiencing financial difficulties. Additionally, the pandemic has affected the mental health of many expats who have been separated from their families and support networks.
Finding a job in the UAE after COVID-19: The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the job market in the UAE with many expats losing their jobs or facing uncertainty about their employment status. However, as the UAE continues to recover from the pandemic, there are still opportunities for expats to find work in the country.
One of the best ways for expats to find jobs in the UAE is through online job portals, such as Bayt.com, Naukrigulf.com, and GulfTalent.com. These portals offer a wide range of job listings and expats can submit their resumes and apply for jobs online. Networking is also an essential part of finding a job in the UAE. Expats can attend job fairs and career events, join professional groups and associations and connect with recruiters and hiring managers through social media and professional networks.
Conclusion: Life as an expat in the UAE can be highly rewarding, but it comes with its unique set of challenges, particularly in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. Expats from India, Pakistan and the Philippines can find a diverse and welcoming community in the UAE with many opportunities to advance their careers and enjoy a high standard of living. By understanding and respecting local customs and traditions and by utilizing online job portals and networking, expats can successfully navigate the challenges of life in the UAE and thrive in this dynamic and exciting country.
—The writer is contributing columnist, based in Islamabad.