Housing and Living
In the UAE, it is common for housing to be included as part of the package. You can be given a housing allowance if you choose to rent your own living place. Generally, new expats receive a furniture and relocation allowances upon arrival. However, UAE employers tend to hire single men and women as the housing they provide is often shared unless you both are employed by the same company or they really want you and are willing to sponsor your family. Be aware that unmarried couples are not allowed to live together by law and women are usually separated from men if we talk about accommodation.
In general, the rent for most property is paid annually, in advance. Some landlords may accept payment in more than one cheque, meaning that you provide them with an agreed number of post-dated cheques that will be cashed on their due date.
The allure of a tax-free salary still draws in expats. Although the increased cost of living means less disposable income, good packages can still be found. Basic benefits, regardless of employment package, usually include around 30 calendar days of leave a year, and most organisations include annual flights back to your home country.
Working hours vary quite dramatically within the emirate, and are based on either straight shift or split shift timings. Split shifts are still common in Abu Dhabi; they allow for an afternoon siesta and timings are generally 08:00 to 13:00 and 16:00 to 19:00.
The working week generally starts on Sundays and ends on Thursdays with a two-day weekend. If you do not have a job upon arrival, an employment supplement is published in Gulf News on Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, and in Khaleej Times on Sundays, Mondays and Wednesdays.
Learn about UAE culture: Do and Don’t in UAE
As everyone probably know UAE culture and social regulations are quite strict. In order to reassure that you won’t break any of the, we would highly recommend you acknowledge them before coming to UAE. As for example, one expat in Abu Dhabi said it is important to NEVER "offer up your left hand (even if the right hand is holding things) to shake someone's hand. All 'dirty' things happen with the left hand, and people are quite sensitive to it when it comes to eating."
Social Conduct of UAE:
- Keep in mind that the concept of personal space is different than in the West. A man should not be surprised if he is touched, hugged or kissed by other men. Although this concept does not apply to male–female relation, and any public physical contact between the two should be avoided!
- Remember that holding hands by two men is a sign of brotherly bonding, not that of a homosexual tendency. Friends of the same sex kissing on the cheek, doing ‘nose kissing’ or hugging in public is normal, it is a sign of friendship.
- Bear in mind that people of different sex should never kiss in public. It is socially unaccepted and also against the UAE law.
- Remember that sexual relations outside of marriage are illegal and carry a prison sentence.
- Do not comment or criticize Islam, ruling families, local dress or traditions of the local people.
- Try not to express admiration for another person’s possessions as an owner may offer this item to you. This situation may oblige you to present something in return.
- Do not point the sole of your foot in the direction of an Arab, or other Asian for that matter. The foot is considered dirty and this gesture is highly offensive.
- Do not turn your back on someone who is speaking to you. It is seen as rude.
- Do not swear in public and do not show any threatening gestures, especially your middle finger, as it is punishable by law.
- Do not lose your patience or temper in front of an Arab; it is a sign of being rude and of a weak character. A hand signal such as fingers joined together with a thumb means ‘wait a minute’, or it can also be a sign of impatience.
- Remember to touch, pass or accept anything only with your right hand. The left hand is considered dirty. Also, eat with the right hand only.
- Accept hospitality by accepting offers of drink or food. Leave a little food on your plate if you are a guest, as a sign that you had enough.
- Remove your shoes when entering an Arab house.
- Remember that after the meal, if coffee is served it is a sign that it is time to go.
- Do not enter a mosque and do not touch the Qur’an if you are not a Muslim.
- In case you are allowed to enter a mosque (two mosques in the UAE are open to the public), you should attend in proper clothing. Long sleeves and trousers are appropriate for a man. Women should be completely covered including their hair.
- Do not eat, drink and smoke in public in the day time during Ramadan.
- While on the public beach, all swimmers should wear conservative swimwear. Topless and bikinis are not proper. Never wear swimwear in streets or other public places.
- Dress code: both women and men should refrain from wearing very short pants in public. Women should not wear any shorts or skirts that are above the knee. Do not wear clothing that exposes stomach, shoulders or back, or is tight and transparent.